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Money to launch for-pay finance site

Three months after reorganizing its new media operations and executive ranks, Time New Media is taking steps to turn around its long-criticized online venture.

Three months after reorganizing its new media operations and executive ranks, Time Incorporated is taking some major steps to turn around its long-criticized online venture.

In the latest example, Time New Media said today that its Money magazine plans to launch a subscription-based personal finance Web site. Dubbed Plus, the site will include services such as portfolio tracking, email alerts, historic graphs of stocks, mutual funds and indexes, and a question and answer forum with Money editors.

It comes one day after the company announced a deal to bring PC users online content, such as People and Sports Illustrated magazines, via a wireless data broadcasting service. It lets the company send multimedia over the Net at greater speeds by avoiding phone lines.

The Plus site announced today will be marketed to Netizens for $49.95 annually and $29.95 annually for Money subscribers, but the publisher also will offer marketers a bulk-access license to provide the service to their own customers. That might include a financial services company, for example. The existing site, Money Online, will remain free.

Time has struck a partnership with Thomson Investors Network to provide customers with investor information for Plus.

"We are licensing Money's market-leading expertise together with our ability to deliver a superior service as a premium that will allow other companies to attract and keep their customers," Time New Media president Linda McCutcheon Conneally said in a statement.

McCutcheon Conneally, an eight-year company marketing executive, was named to the post in April to turn around the ailing operation. Analysts had criticized the company's execution of its online strategy and estimated that Pathfinder was a big money loser despite its stable of popular print brands. (The company wouldn't make the figures publicly available.)

At the time, McCutcheon Conneally said her goals included expanding the audience, launching syndication efforts, and using the Web to market the well-known print content to an audience that can't be reached outside the United States.

Competition is intense, however, from Internet companies, Disney, and even Microsoft.

The online financial market is getting especially crowded. Excite, the search engine company, and Intuit, for example, recently announced a financial channel.

Moreover, companies have experienced mixed results offering for-pay content on the Web. The Wall Street Journal, for one, has been successful at signing up customers, but Microsoft's Slate and others has yet to execute its plan to charge for online subscriptions.