Booze, birds and bandwidth

FHM magazine launches its own free Internet service

Lads' mag FHM -- which prints a never-ending diet of women in bikinis, often soaked to the skin, and photographed in ever-more provocative poses -- is to offer a subscription-free Net service by the end of the summer. Publisher EMAP Metro has teamed up with Internet Technology Group (ITG), the UK's largest independent ISP, to provide the service, it said today. Other EMAP Metro lifestyle titles including Empire and Q magazines are also expected to offer similar services if this initiative proves successful. Graham Taylor, VP and chief analyst with the Gartner Group said: "ITG and EMAP have got the right idea here. EMAP Metro's strong brands, such as FHM, deliver compelling content; ITG's high performance network and infrastructure provide superior service. "This is a solid basis for building enduring subscriber relationships which will, in turn, drive advertising and ecommerce opportunities," he said. EMAP claims the partnership will bring "a serious new contender into the subscription-free ISP market." That may be so. But a recent report claims there are already a 100 or so subscription-free services in operation and a further 100 predicted to be unleashed on Net users in the UK by the end of the year. It will take a bit more than a few snapshots of bikini-clad babes and an article on nipple piercing to get their 3.4 million readers hooked up. Then again... ®

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