Who can forget the excitement that the CD-ROM version of Newsweek generated in November 1992 when it was announced! Well, nobody. But believe me, it caused a stir upon its debut. Called Newsweek Interactive, the quarterly publication was among the first general interest magazines on CD. It featured recorded interviews, video, graphics, and three months’ worth of Newsweek, and stories from its sister publication, the Washington Post. Then as now, the industry hadn’t agreed on a universal standard, so the first edition of Newsweek Interactive was originally compatible with only a $999 Sony multimedia player, according the report in the New York Times. Newsweek President Richard M. Smith told the Times that his company’s early experience with the CD-ROM product would give it a valuable head-start on the competition.
A head-start to last place, I should add. The CD-ROM and its fellow technologies flopped for a variety of reasons. Too expensive, too cumbersome, too wedded to a propriety platform, and not much fun.