Ziff Davis Reorganizes Magazine Division

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Ziff Davis Media Inc. has announced a reorganization of its magazine division, the launch of two magazines by the year's end, a change in the name and editorial direction of one of its prominent weeklies and the formation of two new subsidiaries.


The company was formed last week when private equity investment firm Willis Stein & Partners closed its $780 million purchase of Ziff Davis Publishing.


Ziff Davis Media, New York, has organized Ziff Davis Publishing, the country's largest Internet and technology magazine publisher, into two business units -- a consumer magazine group and business magazine group -- and appointed a new president for each.


The consumer magazine group consists of PC Magazine, Yahoo! Internet Life, FamilyPC, eShopper, Ziff Davis Smart Business for the New Economy and an online travel magazine that will launch in the fall. Both PC Magazine and Ziff Davis Smart Business boast circulations of more than 1 million paid subscribers, while Yahoo! Internet Life is forecast to reach the 1 million-subscriber mark during the third quarter of this year. Ziff Davis veteran Jim Spanfeller was named group president.


The business magazine group includes Inter@ctive Week, which has a circulation of more than 200,000; Smart Reseller, a hard-core technology publication with approximately 65,000 subscribers; and PC Week, a 400,000-circulation publication that is being relaunched in May as eWeek. Al Perlman, who previously served as Inter@ctive Week publisher, is the new business group president.


Willis Stein & Partners, Chicago, appointed James D. Dunning as the chairman, president and CEO of Ziff Davis Media. Dunning served as the head of Petersen Publishing while it was a subsidiary of Willis Stein and oversaw its turnaround, public launch and subsequent sale to Emap plc in January 1999.


Ziff Davis last week released the details of one of the two launches it has planned for 2000. This fall the publisher will partner with Expedia.com to roll out a bimonthly online travel magazine called Expedia Travels. The magazine will seek to link cybertravel with real-world travel by targeting readers who plan their travels online. A recent study by the trade group Travel Industry Association of America, Washington, reported that 52 million people visited travel Web sites in 1999 for information about their trips.


"We see an opportunity to re-create the travel magazine category," Spanfeller said in a prepared statement. He said the magazine would maintain editorial independence despite its partnership with Expedia, one of the industry's higher-profile online travel services.


The first issue will hit the market in October with a rate base of 200,000. The magazine will be made available at newsstands, by subscription and through the Internet. If the launch is a success, Ziff Davis said Expedia Travels would go monthly in late 2001.


A more immediate effort, however, is Ziff Davis' redesign, refocusing and renaming of it 16-year-old weekly PC Week. On May 8, PC Week becomes eWeek in a move the company describes as the culmination of a year-long endeavor to broaden its focus beyond PC computing.


"This name change just makes sense," said PC Week/eWeek publisher Sloan Seymour. "One hundred percent of our 400,000 readers are Internet-connected and conducting e-business, and 98.4 percent purchase Internet, intranet or networking technologies." Over the past 18 to 24 months, PC Week/eWeek has turned over its circulation to match the Internet-oriented content, he said.


As a result of these moves, Sloan said the magazine has picked up 30 new Internet advertisers over the past 10 weeks. Other changes include a redesigned format that will emphasize a greater use of photographs and graphics and a reduction in size from tabloid to magazine.


Earlier this year, Ziff Davis announced plans to grow the circulation of its FamilyPC publication. Starting in June, the six-year-old monthly will boost its circulation 20 percent to 600,000.


On a corporate level, Ziff Davis Media has also introduced two new subsidiaries that will be charged with identifying new opportunities for expansion in the publishing and Internet fields. Ziff Davis Internet Inc. will develop new Web sites and other interactive content and e-commerce initiatives. The company did not provide any information about this group's current or future projects.


The second subsidiary, Ziff Davis Development Inc., will scout out new initiatives for the company's more traditional markets -- magazines, trade shows and events. This group will target magazine launches and acquisitions, among other ventures.
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