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Apple Computer last week unveiled ambitious marketing plans for its eWorld online service, set to launch later this month.

But signing up paying subscribers after free testing by 11,000 Macintosh users isn't Apple's only thrust.

"Instead of putting money into acquiring subscribers, we are putting it into things that retain subscribers," said Peter Friedman, director and general manager of Apple Online Services. "Our challenge is to create enough value to keep subscribers, and to do that we're letting [third-party] publishers participate more cheaply on eWorld" than other online services.

Seventy publishers will offer information, including stock price quotes, high-tech marketing news from consultant Regis McKenna and features on personal computers from Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. An additional 30 services will be added later, including Advertising Age's Creativity.

Apple is installing eWorld on the hard drives of all Power Macs, new PowerBook models and certain machines in older Mac lines. eWorld also is being bundled on Newton MessagePad and other personal digital assistants licensed by Apple.

Apple's goal is "hundreds of thousands" of subscribers by the end of 1995.

Direct response ads, from Wunderman Cato Johnson, San Francisco, have been running in Macintosh magazines as well as in Wired, Home Office Computing and Mobile Office. Apple also will test a direct mail campaign over the summer, with a major effort set for fall.

"It's a new way for Apple and its customers to talk to each other," said Robin Martin, Wunderman VP-management supervisor. "Because direct marketing is based on starting a one-on-one dialogue with the customer, it makes sense that direct marketing would launch the product."

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