INTERACTIVE;ZIFF'S LATEST NET ASSAULT: 'INTERNET MAGAZINE';AD MARKET FOR WEB-THEME PUBLICATIONS APPEARS STRONG

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With all the talk about the Web moving into "phase two," get ready for the next phase of Web magazine launches.

Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. in November will launch ZD Internet Magazine, a monthly print publication focused on business applications for the Internet and intranets.

The magazine will aim directly at the ad base of Mecklermedia Corp.'s Internet World and CMP Media's NetGuide, two of the category's older publications, said Publisher Angela Young. But ZD Internet Magazine will also vie with several new titles.

CMP is launching a redesigned NetGuide with the July issue, featuring new columnists and more product coverage. International Data Group, meanwhile, is preparing The Web for a September launch.

HEALTHY AD MARKET

The advertising market for Internet-theme publications appears healthy for now.

NetGuide recorded 350 ad pages from January through May, up 29% from the same period last year, according to figures from ADscope, an independent ad tracking service. Internet World's pages were up 26% to 300.25 in the same time period.

But several in the industry predict a shakeout ahead, particularly among consumer-oriented Internet magazines.

SHAKEOUT AHEAD

"Short term, there is tremendous interest from the advertising side," said Ellen Freeman, president of Freeman Associates, a Boston high-tech ad agency. "But there is probably a long-term market for only a few publications."

ZD Internet Magazine "is going to be a pure business-to-business Internet publication," Ms. Young said, comparing the title to Ziff's PC Magazine.

MIRROR `PC MAGAZINE'

ZD Internet Magazine will follow in PC Magazine's footsteps in other ways as well: Some 50% of its editorial will focus on comparative lab testing of Web servers, security firewalls and other tools.

ZD Internet Magazine will have a paid circulation of 300,000 in its first year, and it is making a pointed effort to undercut its competitors' ad pricing.

A color page ad will cost under $10,000, compared with $12,500 for Internet World and NetGuide. Web ad pricing isn't set yet.

Contributing: Keith J. Kelly, Aminda Heckman.

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