The most intriguing aspect of NetGuide Live (http://www.netguide.com) is its offer of an hour-by-hour grid listing events taking place in real-time on the Web and online services, CMP's version of a TV Guide for Web content.
REVIEWS, LOCKOUT PLANNED
The site also will offer a search engine; reviews of about 50,000 sites; ability for parents to lock out objectionable sites; news headlines from CNN; and reports about new items on the Web.
"We are very focused on one clear mission: to be your ultimate guide," said Beth Haggerty, who as publisher of CMP's NetGuide Magazine helped develop the site. "If there are 35 million people on the Net, that is our target."
CMP expects the hourly listings to become a focal point of the service, playing into a trend for scheduled programming on the Net.
NetGuide Live has a staff of 100, said Newt Barrett, publisher .
Charter advertisers include Microsoft Corp.-the largest advertiser-as well as Individual Inc., an electronic news service, and Luckman Associates, a Web software marketer.
NetGuide Live also is attracting interest outside technology: J.C. Penney Co. is a charter sponsor.
BETA LIVE TODAY
NetGuide Live goes into beta test today. Advertisers will start paying Sept. 2. The service formally launches with beefed up content Sept. 15. Later this year, NetGuide Live will offer users ways to personalize the service.
NetGuide Live will charge $3,900 for 100,000 impressions, not including discounts for those who sign on before September.
CMP, meanwhile, will start an ad campaign later this year in print and on the Web to promote the site. Stein, Killpatrick & Rogan, New York, is the agency.
NetGuide Live, code-named Gulliver, has been in development for months in its San Francisco quarters to keep word of the project from leaking out.
News Corp., publisher of TV Guide, has floundered with its Internet online offering, iGuide. But Mr. Barrett claimed News Corp. spent "an awful lot more money" and didn't have his product's focus.
The service will compete with search sites such as Yahoo! and InfoSeek, but Mr. Barrett argues his site will draw in users with its broader offering. "The competition in a way is something that doesn't quite exist yet," he said.
CMP surely will face competitors. Yahoo! Corp., for example, is partly owned by Softbank Corp., owner of CMP rival Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., and has the brand and financial power to expand.
NetGuide Live, a free consumer service, draws on the brand name of NetGuide, a business computer magazine.
WEB MAG NEXT YEAR
Ms. Haggerty said CMP "probably" next year will launch a Web consumer magazine, under a different name than NetGuide.
Mr. Barrett said NetGuide Live will pursue deals with content providers using the model it set with CNN: Visitors to NetGuide Live will get headlines and then can click to CNN for more news, driving traffic to the CNN site.
Over time, Ms. Haggerty said, there will be "channels" or areas on NetGuide Live devoted to entertainment, business/finance and sports.