Times to go interactive every ‘Month’

Disc will be carried in all 1.7 million copies of the paper

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times in London will bow a monthly interactive CD-rom arts section “The Month” on Aug. 31.

The CD-rom will be carried in all 1.7 million copies of the paper and will offer original content — the first issue features an exclusive peek at David Bowie’s latest cultural offerings — and interactive previews of new releases in music, film, books, games, etc.

Clive Milner, Managing Director of Times Newspapers, says “The Month” took a year of planning and an investment of £10 million ($16 million), which “is equivalent to launching an entirely new section of the Sunday Times.”

According to Milner, “The Month” will be published “at least through July of 2004,” with the heavy expenditures partially offset by potentially rich new revenue streams for the paper.

Partnered with online shopping service MVC, as well as Warner Village cinemas, every CD, DVD, book or ticket sold will reap a transaction fee for the Sunday Times. French car manufacturer Renault is main sponsor for the first two issues.

“We have included CDs in the past and we were unfulfilled by the digital experience because it was essentially passive and merely promotional,” Milner said on Monday. “This is a far more integrated product.”

Milner noted that the nearly 3 hours of original material included “930 pieces of content from 64 different partners,” which included most of the Hollywood majors and the major record labels.

As for the project’s integration into the larger entertainment and marketing schemes of parent company News Corp, Milner noted “Rupert has seen it and he loves it.”