E-conomy pubs revamp

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Publishers of several Internet economy magazines are adjusting their pace in the race among technology titles.

This week, monthly Red Herring announces plans to double its frequency as of October. Business 2.0, already set to start an every-other-weekly frequency in May, unveils plans of its own: the introduction of a lifestyle title in October.

Ziff-Davis, meanwhile, under new owner James D. Dunning, has repositioned PC Computing as Ziff-Davis Smart Business for the New Economy, and PC Week as eWeek.

And Time Inc.'s Fortune is readying its Net economy entry, eCompany Now, which debuts the first week of May.

WAXING, WANING

The field has waxed and waned in four short years. Just three years ago, after a mere 12 months of exploring the field, the publishing industry witnessed the demise of consumer Internet guides such as Internet World and NetGuide, while The Net was relaunched by Imagine Publishing as Business 2.0. Ziff-Davis' Yahoo! Internet Life was the only successful title in the consumer pack.

In their place sprang business titles such as Fast Company and The Industry Standard.

Ziff-Davis, by changing the titles of two books--PC Computing and PC Week--points to how completely the business mindset has turned toward online solutions.

"EWeek really remains what it's been fundamentally all along: an information technology-oriented publication. The change is really the result of three years of planning. Now its content is 100% Internet, as is its circulation," said Al Perlman, president of Ziff-Davis Business Publications Group. Mr. Perlman added that the reluctance to change the name was based on 15 years of history. "But the name did not make sense anymore."

Business 2.0's decision to move to an every-other-weekly frequency was driven in part by the tremendous number of ad pages packed into the monthly. The same is true for Red Herring. Both titles, as monthlies, routinely produce 400- to 500-page issues.

"What we have chosen to do is reinvest the success of the magazine back into the magazine for the readers," said Ted Gramkow, Red Herring publisher.

Red Herring will also raise its rate base 42.9% with its July issue, to 250,000. The color rate will jump 36.4% to $29,995.

SPIN-OFF DEBUTS

The Business 2.0 spin-off will first appear polybagged with both subscriber and newsstand copies of the parent book's Oct. 24 issue, said President Michaela O'Connor Abrams. It will differ in that the still-unnamed title will focus on the lifestyle of the leaders of the new economy. Former Time Inc. In Style staffer Lisa Gabor will be the editor in chief. A second issue will be polybagged with the Dec. 12 issue of Business 2.0, and then the title will stand on its own nine times in 2001.

The initial circulation for the first two issues will be 300,000.

Fortune's new entry, eCompany Now, will guarantee a rate base of 200,000. A corresponding Web site also launches the first week in May.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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