The Virtual Mahazine
launched September 2000 ~ New Delhi, India
as "The world's  first Multimedia Magazine on CD-ROM"

Having predicted in our editorial of the last gazette of "The IDEA" that a small tide of new CD-based e-zines would gradually begin emerging amongst us into the short-term future, we found it rather a bit more than gratifying to witness the emergence of "The Virtual Mahazine", out of New Delh, India, just two months later.

However, what we did not predict was the sort of content-development model that's been applied in this case, even though it's always been self-apparent as a real goodie.

Quite simply, this operates largely by entirely legitimate 'appropriation', a window allowing limited or partial copyright-free usage of intellectual and creative products on the basis of [a] references being made to the product/creator, as in a magazine or television feature, and [b] the principle that works entered into the public domain become part of that domain,.. that ether (e.g. the music on your neighbour's radio -even when almost imperceptibly in the distant background- is a part of the public soundscape you live in, like the air you breathe, and so is the music on our own radio!).

So ~ this is a monthly multimedia CD-zine made up of a lot of text and short (15-25 second) audio and video clips, along with plenty of images and pretty good imaging. Unfortunately, a small installation was required to run it, which itself would not run on a Mac, and everyone amongst us with a PC was unwilling to install anything at all for something so firvolous as a magazine (give us games instead any day they say), so ~ we haven't actually even seen how the whole thing plays out,.. and we've seen just the one (first) issue.

Content on the inaugural issue was pitched at "Over 70 video and 50 audio clips ~ More than 450 pages." Subjects highlighted on the cover included A.R. Rahman; The Most Precious Indian Paintings; Best Indian Cars; The Best International Ads; The Colors of Fashion; Stump Vision:Ricky Ponting; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. A "Kiddies Corner" on the cover spoke of "Cartoon movies, brainteaser, puzzler, animated detective story." The rear cover was a full page ad (with Cindy Crawford) for Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor.

Unfortunately at the present time, unconfirmed reports are that this is a venture which went down or into dormancy since then, about 3-4 months/issues from launch. On our part, we never found a telephone number or e-mail address to get directly in touch with the authors of the project, who never responded to receiving a copy of The IDEA alongwith a letter from us, by courier.

For the record, The Virtual Mahazine addressed the open media marketplace as a general-interest magazine. It was packaged in a poly-wrapped card-paper folder to look at first glance like a regular magazine, and was placed for sale alongside such regular magazines in better newstands of larger Indian cities at the price of INR Rs. 100/- per copy.

The images below are reduced examples of pages and page-frames from the first issue (September 2000), the music with this page is an example too, and comments from some of the conventional media on the first issue alongwith contact information are at page-bottom:



Below ~ Some responses from the Press

"Brilliantly designed and slickly packaged, [the] e-zine is a mindblowing experience that has no precedent." ~ HT City (Hindustan Times supplement, New Delhi)

"It incorporates a mixture of text, graphic, animation, video and sound to create a dynamic and interactive experience." ~ BusinessWorld

"..the world's first multimedia magazine - is everything you'd want in a magazine except politics and business. At Rs. 100 an issue, that's good value for money." ~ Outlook

"Interactive ads, an exclusive thriller from Ashok Banker, and Javed Akhtar's poetry in his own voice -- at Rs 100 a pop, this CD-ROM is rolling." ~ eFE (Financial Express)

"A magazine that sings, recites and yes, even dances...Mahazine that brand new family magazine does all that and lot's more." ~ The Deccan Herald, Economy and Business Supplement

"One of the first of it's kind, this CD-ROM boasts of some amazing graphics, downloadables and archival material." ~ The Indian Express

"The Bonus on the '450-page' Mahazine is the large selection of audio and video clips... And this is just the first issue." ~ Afternoon Despatch & Courier

"Mahazine encompasses almost everything that could form a part of reading." ~ Computers Today

"And it's all there--features, music reviews, e-stories, recipes and a kiddie section. All this in an interactive mix of text, video and audio." ~ The Week

for more information:
The Virtual Mahazine
Virtual Media Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
7 Factory Road, near Safdarjung Hospital
New Delhi - 110 029 (India)