Time Inc. New Media launches first Web site for non-U.S. audience

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LONDON -- Time Inc. New Media, the new media arm of Time Warner, launched its first venture specifically targeting international markets outside the U.S.

Its World Cup Web site, which provides original editorial content about the international soccer competition that kicks off June 10 in France from a team on the ground and in London, is the first of many such interna- tional sites from the company in the future, says Graham Cannon, director of strategy and communications.

``It's now a very, very important global market, so we'll be doing more of this, no question,'' he says. Recent research found that users of the Internet outside the U.S. now number between 120 and 140 million, compared with 55-60 million within.

Time Inc. New Media is heralding this site as its ``first ever truly global online project.'' But, Mr. Cannon stresses, it's not an experiment. ``The site is profitable. It's a business proposition, not just an interesting idea.''

In a simultaneous development, Nokia, one of the site's sponsors, has arranged to have match results and information transmitted to its mobile phones using its ``Smart messaging'' technology.

For the sponsors who have invested $500,000 total in the Web site development and its promotion, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, Philips and Varig, the Brazilian state airline, just one banner on the site can reach an international audience. ``It's pretty neat,'' says Mr. Cannon. ``With one site, they can reach a demographic around the world and there's no need for them to do an international ad campaign.''

The site, which Mr. Cannon claims has no rivals in terms of original content, is being marketed around the world, using mainly guerrilla marketing techniques, such as plastering 100,000 stickers around appropriate venues in France.

Mr. Cannon says he has ``no idea'' of potential visitor numbers to the site.

Time Inc. New Media Web sites, including those for Time magazine, People, Money and Fortune, generate 23 million hits to their Web pages per week, mainly in the U.S.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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