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Newsweek to launch interactive magazine

Newsweek subscribers will be able to read the weekly magazine on their computers next year, when it issues an interactive version on compact disc.

The first issue will be available in January by mail order, and will be offered free with the purchase of Sony Corp.’s new multimedia player, which hits the stores next week.

“Magazines are portable, so is this. The initial market is those who read Newsweek on airplanes and commuter trains,” said Michael Rogers, the magazine’s technology editor.

“We believe there will be a fast growing market,” he added, “perhaps not in 1993, but certainly in 1994. By 1995, this could be mainstream.”

The interactive Newsweek will be a quarterly at an estimated subscription fee of $ 80 to $ 100. And the title will be available on other players later next year. Eventually, said Rogers, a monthly version will be produced.

Viewers of the program will see text from a collection of stories over the preceding weeks, plus five minutes of accompanying video. That will appear in a window on1/4 of the computer screen.

Time Warner Inc.’s Time magazine, Newsweek’s weekly rival, appears unwilling to commit to the fledgling CD technology just yet. While Time produced special editions on CD through Warner New Media on topics like the Persian Gulf War, a version of the magazine isn’t expected soon.

“We’re not ready to announce Time on CD,” said John Papanek, head of Time Inc.’s new media effort.

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