Magazine site to focus on commerce

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The Electronic Newsstand, a 4-year-old Web site that markets magazines, is poised to sign a partnership agreement with fulfillment house American Family Publishers to bring low-priced magazine subscriptions to consumers.

In conjunction with the new partnership, the Newsstand officially relaunches on Sept. 1 with new features and a shift in focus from content to commerce.

To date, Electronic Newsstand has created Web sites for magazines and provided them with an electronic community, but it hasn't concentrated heavily on subscription sales.

Now, with the agreement, American Family brings substantial clout in getting authorization from publishers to provide the lowest possible subscription prices. This should help Electronic Newsstand compete with other online magazine subscription sites, such as the Web site for Publishers Clearing House, where users can order magazines and merchandise and enter contests online.

Electronic Newsstand has also established a syndicated sales network for other Web sites, such as and eMall, to set up newsstands on their sites in return for a portion of revenue. The company also plans to provide original content to Planet Direct, a content supplier for Internet service providers, as well as continue to deliver a free customized content service to customers called Enews by Email.

The Electronic Newsstand was originally launched as The New Republic's Web site. It remains the site developer and host for about two dozen magazines, including The New Yorker, but the new focus of the relaunch is to become a resource and one-stop magazine shop for consumers. It now features more than 3,000 magazine titles on its site, and sells subscriptions for more than 300.

"We're predicting subscription sales will be the primary revenue source," said Brian Hecht, Electronic Newsstand's president and CEO, and online editor of The New Republic.

In addition to the subscription revenue stream via the partnership with American Family (which is co-owned by Time Warner and the Pritzker Group), Electronic Newsstand will continue to sell ads on its site.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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