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Newsweek and Virtual Communications are launching a new magazine; "Virtual City" will serve as a consumer's guide to the online community.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 23, 1995--Newsweek and Virtual Communications are launching "Virtual City," the first mass-market, service-oriented lifestyle magazine aimed at making cyberspace accessible to everyone. The joint announcement was made today by Richard M. Smith, president and editor-in-chief of Newsweek, and Jonathan Sacks, president of Virtual Communications based in San Francisco.

"Virtual City is designed to be a city magazine for the emerging online community," Smith said in making the announcement. "The word `community' used to describe a place. In cyberspace, community knows no boundaries and is defined only by shared interests. The residents of this virtual city need a magazine to tell them what matters, who matters and why. Above all, people need a guide to help them live, work and play in the interactive world."

The consumer magazine is a joint venture between Newsweek Inc. (a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.) and Virtual Communications Inc. Sacks, 43, will serve as publisher and editorial director. He is former publisher of Ziff-Davis's PC Computing and Corporate Computing magazines, and former president and publisher of IDG's InfoWorld magazine and IDG Books Worldwide. Lewis D'Vorkin, 42, will serve as editor-in-chief. D'Vorkin is a former Newsweek business editor and most recently was editorial director of Ziff-Davis. Contributors to Virtual City will include writers, artists and photographers who are on the cutting edge of Cyberspace.

"Virtual City will serve the online community the way New York Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine or any big-city magazine serves its readers -- informing them about diversity and opportunity in their environment through fast-paced news items up front; thoughtful and in-depth features on important products and personalities in the middle, and extensive listings and reviews in the back," Sacks said. "The virtual community is like a big city with cultures, sub-cultures and underground cultures," said D'Vorkin. "Virtual City will focus on the information coming in through the screen -- whether it's a PC screen today or an interactive TV screen tomorrow. We'll cover the good, the bad and the ugly. We'll be the arbiters of cyberspace helping to set the agenda and helping people to understand this world."

The premier issue of Virtual City will be distributed on newsstands and through computer stores in September. It will be developed as a quarterly, with a second issue scheduled for December. Approximately 300,000 copies will be distributed with a cover price of $2.95. Subscriptions will be offered.

Selected stories from Virtual City also will be published as an editorial "Focus" section in Newsweek's "Business Plus" demographic edition, which reaches one million of Newsweek's three million U.S. subscribers. Stories from Virtual City are expected to be available online through commercial services, including the Newsweek InterActive service on Prodigy, and the Internet.

Virtual City's audience will be active and prospective users of online and interactive services, providing advertisers with access to a technologically-savvy community of high-income individuals between 30 and 45 years old. "Computer magazines reach only a fraction of this market," Sacks adds.

"The launch of Virtual City represents Newsweek's continuing commitment to covering the impact of technological change on the lives of our readers," Smith said in making the announcement. Newsweek devotes more editorial pages to coverage of technology than any other news magazine, according to Hall's Reports. Last year, Newsweek introduced its weekly "Cyberscope" page of short news items in July, and the now bi-monthly "Focus on Technology" section debuted in October. Newsweek's second "Computers & the Family" special issue arrived on newsstands this week (May 22).

Newsweek's U.S. audience of 21 million people includes more technology "influencers" -- people with input on decisions to buy computers and software at work and at home -- than any major computer magazine, according to the 1994 IntelliQuest Computer Industry Media Survey. With its superior upscale demographics, Newsweek also has posted the greatest gains in advertising pages for computer hardware and software among the news magazines: up 61% in 1994, vs. 36% for Time and 55% for U.S. News & World Report.

"Advertisers who value Newsweek's upscale, technologically savvy audience will be receptive to Virtual City's determination to serve those readers with listings that will make cyberspace as accessible as television or cable programming," said Harold Shain, general manager and U.S. publisher of Newsweek. Shain expects Virtual City to attract advertising in many categories including computers/office equipment; communications; online and interactive services; business/consumer services; electronics; automotive; travel/hotels; financial services; direct response, and consumer/lifestyle products from alcoholic beverages to cosmetics to food.

An estimated 10 million users will be connected to online services by the end of 1995 (including 7.2 million to the proprietary online services and 2.8 million to the Internet's World Wide Web), according to Forrester Research Inc. By the year 2000, Forrester projects that 28.7 million users will be connected (including 6.7 million to the proprietary services and nearly 22 million to the Web, of which 14.1 million will be individual consumers and 7.8 million will be corporate users). Link Resources estimates that 1 in 3 American households now have a computer, some 32 million in all. Among families with average household income over $100,000, an estimated 60 percent have PCs.

CONTACT: Newsweek

Diana Pearson, 212/445-4342
COPYRIGHT 1995 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 23, 1995
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