It's Not A Magazine, It's A 'Digizine'

San Francisco Entrepreneurs Aim CD-Rom At Generation X

By Published on .

What do you get when you cross a CD-ROM with a magazine? A digizine, of course.

Two San Francisco Generation Xers-Nick Roberts, 22, and Alex Ragland, 25-have created substance. digizine, a colorful CD-ROM quarterly that carries text, audio and video elements plus advertising.

Clearly targeting a young adult audience, the winter debut issue features one article about Grammy winner Nine Inch Nails, an alternative music group. Another story examines cultural myths about Generation X.

Entertainment buffs can read about new film company C-00 while reviewing video clips and can listen to album reviews with audio samples. Techies are offered a review of Bendware, a new morphing software.

Mr. Roberts, a former journalism student at the University of California-Los Angeles, and Mr. Ragland, an MBA specializing in start-ups, named their company Substance Interactive Media because they saw a deficiency in the market.

"We wanted to call attention to the fact that there is little of substance on multimedia," Mr. Roberts said. Most of the new products on the market "are recycled software or a collection of junk."

Advertising is integrated into the digizine. In the table of contents there is a small smiley-faced figure. Click on that, and you get an ad. One promotes the ImagiNation computer network and offers the opportunity to take a test run. Click yes and enter your credit card number at the appropriate time, and you're instantly signed on.

Another advertiser is ffrr, a New York alternative electronic-music label. Levi Strauss & Co. is looking at advertising in the digizine's spring issue.

"The potential is staggering," said Rick Beardsley, creative director at the ImagiNation Network. He became acquainted with Messrs. Ragland and Roberts through the online service and realized the magazine had a similar target audience.

Ad rates aren't very traditional. Ten megabytes costs $6,000, with a maximum purchase of 15 megabytes for $11,000.

Multimedia World put a demo issue of substance. digizine in 50,000 of its January issues. A sleeve around the free CD lists an 800-number to order a $70 annual subscription.M

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By clicking on icons in the table of contents, users can listen to album clips or see an ad for the ImagiNation Network.

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