Come Sept. 17, the millions of World Wide Web surfers out there will constitute the target audience for a new print magazine - geared to the Web's entertainment content - to be called The Web. Initially published bimonthly with a press run of 600,000 and based in San Francisco, The Web magazine is scheduled to go monthly just after the New Year.
The Web, which has signed columns by sex-advice queen Dr. Ruth Westheimer and ubiquitous film reviewer Roger Ebert, also lists National Public Radio's Ira Flatow and San Francisco bad-boy radio maven Alex Bennett as contributing editors.Published by the Cambridge, Mass.-based International Data Group, The Web will be IDG's first consumer magazine in the U.S. and Canada. IDG has a magazine in Great Britain called The Web. Some content may be shared between the two Webs, according to company spokeswoman Lee Doyle.
According to IDG, The Web will feature "celebrity-focused features and columns, and provocative Web site reviews related to music, films, money, sex, politics and sports." Site reviews will be culled in part from other IDG publications.
Other major publishers are already producing Web print magazines, to be sure. Among them: CMP Publications' NetGuide, Ziff-Davis' Internet Life, and Newsweek's Virtual City.
Greg Mason, The Web's publisher, insisted his magazine will be different, more flat-out entertaining. Said Mason:
"Like Entertainment Weekly, Premiere and TV Guide, our goal is to tell readers what's on tonight and to help them spend their Web-watching time and money efficiently. The bottom line is that for most Web watchers, it's content, not technology, that inspires and excites."
IDG is aiming The Web at affluent, tech-savvy 25-to-45 year olds - the type of consumers who are telling surveys that they're spending ever-more time surfing the Web and ever-less channel surfing their TVs. The print magazine will have an on-line component at www.webmagazine.com.
IDG publishes some 275 computer magazines and newspapers in 75 countries.