The National Business Review is abandoning its high-profile Web site from next week and moving into what it claims is "a new phase of electronic publishing".
A statement released yesterday by NBR publisher Barry Colman said the NBR Network site and the NBR channel would cease to be on June 3.
Colman said that although the newspaper's Web site products were attracting "record traffic and customer numbers" and "were believed to have the country's highest level of Web site advertising support" they would be discontinued in favour of other electronic publishing products, such as NBR's feed for Upda@te, the news service for Vodaphone customers.
"As early and major players we have some unique experience in determining where the business will come from in this field, so we're moving the focus to more direct forms of electronic information sales," Colman said.
NBR Network was launched as NBR Business Centre Online in November 1996, at which time manager Graeme Colman boasted that it was "in profit from day one", thanks in part to the commitment of 12 charter sponsors, including Air New Zealand, Microsoft and site developer Clearview Communications.
The site continued to pull in content and eventually came to offer either paid or free access to about 30 databases, from NZPA newsfeeds to Baynet. But it also copped critcism for its complexity and unfriendliness to casual visitors. Graeme Colman admitted when he announced a design revamp in August 1997 that "some people loved it - others found it frustrating".
Although the site continued to add content and services, the 1997 redesign was the last major change to the controversial interface and the database-driven site lacked a clear editorial personality.
The electronic publishing services on which NBR says it will now concentrate – for other Web sites, email, fax, pager and telephone – have been part of its strategy for some time and seem likely to make use of the content to which the paper oriuginally gained rights for the Internet.
NBR will apparently continue offering "wholesale" access to its databases along with "major email lists and products, including the new e-pages directory" which is about to publish its second edition.
Colman has killed off non-performing editorial ventures before – in 1996, the short, expensive life of the glossy newspaper Yes! was ended, as was the new-age magazine New Spirit. Colman last year sold the perennial music paper Ript It Up to its new management, which has relaunched it as an advertorial vehicle for several major record companies.