On, a new magazine about life on the internet, will be launched this March by Time Inc in collaboration with America Online.

Poised on the verge of merger, the partners are well aware that their fledgling publication could be viewed by cynical readers as little more than an advertorial vehicle for AOL.

But, assures managing editor Joshua Quittner, On will focus less on products and appliances and more on internet lifestyle and culture. "This is not your father's technology magazine," says Quittner. "You are not going to find hard-core articles in this magazine. This is a magazine not about the stuff, but about how people use the stuff." [Which, hope literate observers, is not a foretaste of On's command of English.]

Quittner acknowledges that readers may not trust the magazine’s impartiality when covering AOL: "Will [they] be suspicious? Will they be confused?," he asks rhetorically. In answer to his own question, Quittner explains that On will contain a special AOL-sponsored insert which “we have nothing to do with”. The insert will stress that it is not published by Time Inc, says Quittner.

“Our magazine itself is completely independent, and we will write about the world in any way we want to. I have complete editorial independence,” he added. “That said, more than half of all people who go online go through AOL."

On is a revamp and rebranding of Time Digital, a monthly title originally published as a supplement to Time magazine. Its circulation of one million comprises newsstand sales, paid subscriptions and free controlled circulation.

The revamp's balance between paid and unpaid circulation is not stated but new subscribers to America Online will receive free subscriptions. Other AOL users will have to purchase their hard copies, available at various AOL sites.

News source: New York Times