Hirschorn splits 
Brill to join VH1 

Inside.com co-founder will head news operations

    Over a year ago, Michael Hirschorn joined Kurt Andersen to launch Inside.com, and the two editors, armed with buckets of venture capital, set about to capture the market in media and entertainment news.  
    When the venture sputtered, after spending millions on promotion, it was bought up three months ago by Steve Brill, to be merged into his Media Central, and the word was that Hirschorn would soon be on his way out.
    Those predictions came true yesterday when Hirschorn resigned his post of editor in chief to become a top executive at VH1, the Viacom-owned music cable network.
    David Kuhn will assume Hirschorn's position as editor in chief of Inside.
    Kuhn was editor of Brill's Content, which was recently reduced in frequency from a monthly to a quarterly.  
    Hirshorn is but the latest noted ex-Inside editor to leave Brill's new enterprise, a vast collection of trade magazine web sites covering various aspects of the media industry. 
    Andersen remains but the betting is that he, too, will leave.
    At VH1, Hirschorn will head the network's expanding news operations with a mandate to develop documentaries and to build up its news coverage of the music business.
    As the former editor of Spin, the music magazine, Hirschorn, who is 37, appears well suited for his new job. 
    Inside.com, founded with Andersen, a former New York magazine editor, was among the boldest content plays on the web when it debuted.
    The premise was that it would cover a wide range of areas within the media and entertainment industries, ideally not just stealing away readers from existing trade magazines but pulling additional readers who were fascinated by the glamour of Hollywood and the New York media world.
    But the price of admission was high: $200 a year per subscription. And two things soon became apparent. The existing trades, though often less well written and reported, had a far more secure hold on their readers.
    Also, few readers were willing to kick up $200 to read the magazine. Initial projections called for 30,000 subscribers in the first year, but the numbers fell far short of that. According to some reports, paid subscribers never numbered more than 5,000.
    Further hurting Inside's prospects was the crash of the dot.com marketplace, which scared away the sort of venture capital that a year earlier was dumping money into anything with a dot.com behind it.

July 25, 2001 2001 Media Life


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