Leading Russian publishing house Independent Media is investing $5 million to launch a general interest internet portal.

The site aims to attract 1.5 million visitors by 2001- one third of the country's web community. It will feature men's and women's sections, plus information on entertainment, cinema, autos, horoscopes, politics, general news and business. There will also be links to leading e-tail sites.

Among titles in IM’s stable are two English-language daily newspapers (The Moscow Times and St. Petersburg Times) and Vedomosti, a Russian-language business newspaper published in jointly with the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. IM also publishes Russian editions of Cosmopolitan, Playboy and Good Housekeeping.

Independent Media has budgeted $400,000 on advertising via Lebedev, a new media advertising shop. Also associated with the launch are management consultancy McKinsey and local investment fund Renaissance.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily