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Hearst turns on TV metaphor for HomeArts

By Published on .

Hearst magazines' HomeArts this week becomes the latest Web publisher to try to look a lot more like TV than print.

HomeArts on Oct. 1 unveils a splashy redesign offering 14 "channels" of programming in a "network" of content. The site will use sound, QuickTime VR and screens that scroll from left to right as well as up and down.

The TV metaphor was popularized by America Online and content developer iVillage, both of which describe their online sites in terms of channels. HotWired also is converting all of its content into channels and refers to itself as the HotWired Network.

"We're calling it our new fall season, and that terminology is important for us. The medium is very close to the broadcast business," said HomeArts General Manager Kathryn Creech.

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With the redesign, HomeArts will begin publishing 50% original content, up from what VP-Program Development Steven Wagner called a "90-10" model of traditional vs. original content.

New HomeArts channels including Planet Lunch, Body & Soul and R&R will include content from Hearst magazines, but each magazine won't represent a channel.

New advertisers including DowBrands and Frigidaire Co. have signed on effective with the site's relaunch. Dow becomes exclusive sponsor of the new Handy Home Advisor area.

Marketers can take advantage of QuickTime VR as well as 5-second splash screens, which interrupt a user's session with a brief marketing message. That feature is available for sponsors who sign three-month commitments.

Monthly rates are unchanged at $10,000 for 200,000 guaranteed impressions.

Also new: All site screens will be sponsorable, and NetGravity ad management tools, tested earlier this year, are now active on the site.

To achieve a happy medium between magazine brand equity and Hearst's newer HomeArts brand, individual magazines like Redbook and Good Housekeeping will have their own URLs but also reside inside HomeArts.

"I think increasingly that model [magazines doing standalone sites] is a difficult one," Ms. Creech said.

Copyright September 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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