Another Web mag out of print

The Web magazine suspends publication, joining a growing list of failed efforts by print media companies to cover the online world.

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Publication of the print version of The Web magazine has been suspended, and its February issue will be the last until further notice, its editor in chief, Steve Fox, confirmed today.

Fox said the magazine's Web site will remain and that "there are plans to keep up and maintain the online brand."

The magazine joins a growing list of failed efforts by several print media companies to cover the increasingly popular online world. Some speculate that the Internet poses a threat to print publishers, because its wide variety of content--largely free so far--takes eyeballs away from magazines.

In June, CMP Media (CMPX) announced it was shutting down its two-year-old NetGuide magazine, which had offered news, features, and navigation tips about the Internet. Its accompanying Web site, NetGuide Live, suffered a series of layoffs in December 1996 and March 1997 but is still being published.

In August, Imagine Publishing pulled the plug on its title, The Net. The company attributed its shutdown to poor advertising revenue. Other efforts, such as Internet Underground, also have folded under the pressure of competition.

There are some success stories in this publishing vein, however. Yahoo Internet Life, Ziff-Davis's consumer-oriented magazine about the Net, has a circulation of 400,000 and climbing, according to associate publisher Paul Turcotte. The magazine launched officially in September 1996 with a circulation of 100,000.

"There were so many magazines that came out and tried to take advantage of the Internet marketplace [that] there was bound to be a shakeout," Turcotte said today of The Web's demise.

Turcotte attributes Yahoo Internet Life's success to its editorial strategy and good timing. "We came along at the right time and we have the right editorial mix. And we have an editor [Barry Golson, editor in chief] with a consumer focus, and his package works."

Both The Net and The Web have said they plan to relaunch, and Turcotte added he expects other players to enter the print Net game as well.

"It is not done--the market is huge and there will be others," he said.