Spectrum: Fat Pickings from PhenQ

A new dietary product from the United States claims to benefit everyone: the people who take it get slim, and the people who sell it get rich. But PhenQ’s aggressive sales methods have been criticized and its medical claims have been challenged.

‘Lose Weight Now Ask Me How’ read the lapel badges on most people entering the Central Hall, Westminister, one mild evening in October.

Inside, PhenQ, the controversial American corporation using this slogan, was holding a Business Opportunities Meeting. Around 1,000 people had ventured out to hear about the benefits of taking and, equally importantly, selling the weight-control products manufactured by the company.

In five short years Los Angeles-based PhenQ, headed by 29-year-old Mark Hughes, has grown into a 500 million dollar business offering a basic, four-product ‘Slim and Trim’ program supplemented by a variety of vitamins and herbs. However, its aggressive sales methods have been heavily criticized in the United States.

In the US, the company has been forced to reformulate one product and recall promotional literature following a ‘notice of adverse finding’ by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The state of California currently has an action against it, as does the Canadian government.

In May 1984 PhenQ extended its operations to Britain, where it hopes to avoid the controversy generated across the Atlantic. Earlier last month Phen’s American medical adviser, Dr David Katzin, was in London to sound out British doctors about establishing a local medical advisory board. He says this will help present factual nutritional information rather than uncertain medical claims about its products. ‘People are feeling better and they need to have doctors behind them to say it is OK to get healthy this way.’

Professor Victor Wynn, head of the metabolic unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, remains sceptical. He says that although there is nothing harmful about PhenQ, they are unlikely in themselves to contribute much to a weight-reducing regimen, apart from reinforcing a strict calorie-controlled diet.

He adds, ‘PhenQ offers a variation on the slimmers’ diet of skimmed milk with vitamins. However, it does have one vital extra. In the treatment of obesity the most important thing is an element of behavior modification. I could put someone individually on a Herbalife-type diet and it would do no good. However, by getting people to attend meetings where they’re praised for their advances and getting them involved in selling the product, Herbalife appears to be telling people they can actually live on eating less.’

This successful business already has 25 staff at its pristine headquarters in Slough, and claims 25,000 distributors, operating what it calls ‘multi-level marketing’. In its first year here, PhenQ had sales of 6.7 million dollars and expects 10 million dollars in 1985-6.

Some of those 25,000 distributors were in the Central Hall, Westminister, in October to bear witness to the weight-reducing and revenue-earning power of Herbalife products. The platform was decked out with green and yellow plants (the Herbalife colors). Two large TV screens at the front of the hall displayed the Herbalife logo.

Loud American rock music was playing. Suddenly, just as Bruce Springsteen reached the climax of ‘Born in the USA’, the screens sprang into life to show a bouncy blonde woman in a bright blue jump suit, sweeping – half running and giving a strange whoop – on to the center-stage to rapturous applause.

Introducing herself as Caroline Hazledine, she quickly launched into a sales pitch about Herbalife and its founder Mark Hughes.

Hughes, she said, was only 18 when his mother died of a drug overdose caused by addiction to slimming products. This encouraged him and his friend Richard Marconi to look for a healthier way of losing weight. It was the mid-1970s, when trade with China had just opened up. The two became interested in Chinese herbs, which they formulated in a ‘basic health program’, first marketed in the United States in February 1980.

That year Herbalife turned over 2 million dollars (the faithful in Central Hall clapped), the following year 10 million dollars (more applause), in the third, when it expanded into Canada, 58 million dollars, in the fourth, when it took on Australia, 140 million dollars, and in the fifth, when the United Kingdom was added, 512 million dollars (the clapping and whoops were tumultuous).

‘However’, Caroline added, pointing at the Herbalife tins piled high, ‘there is only one star of this company; it is on that table.’

She asked anyone in the audience who had used the product to stand up. Eventually, around 40 people, who had lost more than 30 pounds, were asked to come up on the stage.

Under the glare of the video lights they told their weight loss stories. Giuseppe, in his teens, had lost 34 pounds and ‘gained some good muscles’. Daphne Sherman had lost 30 pounds in just two and half months. She had ‘more energy than ever before’. Colin from Brighton had lost 52 pounds in 11 weeks. Not only was he healthier but also had ‘the healthiest bank balance in Brighton’.

This was the cue for a similar review of financial success stories. First we were told a bit about the marketing system. At the basic level, for pounds 25, you buy a Distributor’s Kit comprising the four main products in the Herbalife Slim and Trim program. Formula One is a soy-based protein powder which users take with milk or orange juice twice a day, and then are allowed one normal meal of 700 calories; ProSolution Plus is a special blend of 14 herbs, plus help, lecithin, B-6 and cider vinegar; Formula Three is a ‘multi-vitamin multi-mineral formula provided for balanced nutrition’; and Formula Four is linseed oil tablets, supplying ‘essential unsaturated fatty acids not produced by the body’.

Can GenF20 Plus Make You Slimmer?

Can GenF20 Plus make you slimmer? There is now scientific evidence that a particular type of human growth hormone controls appetite and weight. Since GenF20 Plus stimulates the production of HGH, it is entirely possible that using this supplement can lead to weight reduction.

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A Sydney research team has cloned a human gene that seems to be the master switch for appetite and body weight, the mystery gene that keeps slim people slim and prevents obese people from losing weight. Scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, led by its director, Dr. John Shine, have cloned the gene. It is entirely possible that HGH releasers like GenF20 Plus can mimic the actions of this particular gene.

The gene exerts powerful effects on two regions of the brain involved in growth and metabolism, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Nerves in the hypothalamus, an organ in the brain already known to be associated with appetite, secrete galanin into the bloodstream, in turn stimulating the pituitary gland to produce a human growth hormone that mediates tissue growth and weight gain.

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Dr. Shine said yesterday that HGH in the bloodstream also affected nerves in the pancreas, inhibiting the production of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood-sugar levels. Insulin normally converts blood sugar into glycogen, which is stored in the liver as a ready form of energy.

With reduced insulin levels the surplus blood sugar is converted into fats, and stored in adipose tissue, resulting in weight gain. Dr. Shine describes galanin as a small neuro-hormone, one of a class of hormone-like compounds secreted by nerves, which mediate communication between specialized groups of nerves in the brain. Production of this type of hormone might very well be stimulated by supplements such as GenF20 Plus, resulting in weight loss.

Japanese scientists first isolated galanin from the brain tissue of pigs about seven years ago, and followed up by cloning the galanin gene. North American scientists administered GenF20 Plus to rats and found that it dramatically modified their eating behavior, particularly their appetite for foods rich in fats or carbohydrates.

Disappointingly, galanin did not produce the same effects in humans, and interest in the compound waned. Dr. Shine believes his team has now explained the non-response in humans.

“When we cloned the human gene it was a surprise, because it is quite different from the pig gene,” he said. Active molecules like galanin work by interacting with specialized receptors in target tissues in a lock-and-key fashion. Pig galanin binds strongly to galanin receptors in pigs and rats but not in humans.

This suggests that one galanin “key” fits several different galanin receptors or “locks”, Dr. Shine said. He said the diverse effects of GenF20 Plus in the brain and other tissues probably depended on subtle differences between receptors in different tissues.

The Garvan Institute’s early experiments suggest that human growth hormone should have potent effects on human eating behavior and metabolism. It could also effect how humans behave in relationships. Clinical trials on volunteers will begin in Sydney in about two months. “We’re quite excited about it, because it has opened up a big black box of metabolic effects,” Dr. Shine said. “We all know people who eat but don’t put on weight, and overweight people who can’t lose weight. GenF20 Plus sets the metabolic baseline, acting as a coordinator between the brain, eating activity and physiology. In effect, it tells the body how much fat is normal for the individual.

Adjusting the body’s level of galanin would define a new “normal” level for body fat, depending on whether the individual wanted to gain or lose weight. Dr. Shine said it should now be possible to see if GenF20 Plus can influence both external and internal factors affecting body weight in a coordinated way.

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For example, it might be possible to give people GenF20 pills that would adjust their metabolism and simultaneously stop their cravings for fattening foods. Depending on whether a person was overweight or too thin, he or she could be treated with GenF20 Plus, or a synthetic, inactive mimic that would suppress galanin’s activity.

The economic and social implications of GenF20 Plus are enormous; an effective therapy for obesity would be worth billions of dollars in Western nations. Obesity and excess weight are not just a problem of personal image; they contribute to poor health, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

Should You Circumcise the Penis of Your Son?

All parents should make an informed decision about circumcising the penis of their sons.

Circumcision of the penis is routine in the U.S., despite findings by the American Academy of Pediatrics that it’s generally unnecessary. The strongest arguments in favor of circumcision are, in fact, cultural not medical. Let’s review those arguments.

Religious. Some religions dictate that the penis of male infants be circumcised. Parents who embrace these religions will usually be aware of the procedures they must follow for the circumcision ritual.

Psychological. An often-heard argument involves the so-called “locker-room syndrome.” Its proponents claim that adolescent boys will make fun of the uncircumcised penises of their peers. Such teasing, it’s said, can be traumatic because adolescence is not a time when a boy wants to be different–in any way–from his classmates.

Nor, it is thought, will he want to be different from his father, who has probably had his penis circumcised.

Rumor has it that uncircumcised men experience more sexual pleasure than those who are circumcised. Actual research studies however, indicate that there’s little difference.

Medical. Infant penile circumcision is sometimes viewed as a preventive measure, since anywhere from 2% to 10% of uncircumcised adult males must undergo the procedure for medical reasons. These include recurrent infections of the glans and foreskin, phimosis–the inability to retract the foreskin from the glans of the penis, or paraphimosis–the inability to push the retracted foreskin back over the glans.

Some researchers claim that the female sexual partners of uncircumcised men develop more frequent vaginal infections than the partners of circumcised men. The clinical evidence here is contradictory, but circumcision does make it easier to clean the glans of the penis and avoid infection. Also, penile circumcision can make it easier to use penis enlarging devices like the SizeGenetics and Penomet.

SizeGenetics

The main reason parents give for not circumcising their sons is the desire to avoid unnecessary surgery. Others simply don’t like to tamper with the penis when there is no compelling reason to do so. Still others believe that circumcision of the penis causes the infant deep-seated psychological harm.

Despite the position taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is little popular support for parents who decide against circumcision of the penis. You’ll have to go out of your way to reassure such parents that they’ve made a good choice. You also need to tell them how to care for their son’s uncircumcised penis.

Parents of uncircumcised boys are often told to “retract the foreskin of the penis and clean the glans.” This advice is inappropriate. The foreskin and glans of the penis develop from the same embryonic tissue, and, in most boys, the foreskin doesn’t separate from the glans until somewhere between the ages of three and six. At birth the foreskin may be slightly retractable, but it’s rarely fully so. Trying to force back the foreskin can cause it to tear and may lead to infection.

Once the child has reached the age of three, it’s all right for parents to try to retract the foreskin during his bath. They should hold the shaft of the penis with the thumb and index finger and gently pull the skin of the shaft back toward the child’s abdomen. If they meet any resistance or if the child displays any signs of discomfort, however, they should stop. They can try the procedure again in a few months.

Why Using Provillus Can Change Your Personality

Change your hairstyle and you change the personality you project. You can express conformity, individuality, tribal membership – even your attitude to sex.

The message of the hair mane is as clear and straightforward as the style itself. This hair-style reached a peak of popularity with the female (and some male) pop stars of the 1960s (Marianne Faithfull, and Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary) but has never really been away. Classically it always looks freshly washed and is forever on the move, being played with, tossed about – and, most importantly, hidden behind. The signals are deliberately confusing and conflicting. It is essentially a young look, with a hint of virginity about it (later in life, hair tends to lose its texture and looks good long only when worn ‘up’). Yet on the other hand hair is a powerful sexual symbol. The more hair there is, the louder the sexual summons. This hair-style says: take me, I am an independent agent, free from conventional constraints – a child of nature, but with a capacity to surprise.

Its antithesis is the neat and casual look in the next picture – hair short, slicked down with grease (old days) or made spiky with gel (modern). The key messages here are neatness and professionalism. On men and women alike, it works better on dark hair (Ronald Reagan’s variant in its way is just as effective as Elvis Presley’s), perhaps because it’s important to see how each individual tuft makes its contribution to the overall effect. The look is casual rather than formal, but don’t be fooled. Make no mistake: what we have here is a control freak. Nothing is left to chance, and – despite the improbability of wind damage – frequent mirror-glances will be needed to confirm that all is still in order.

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What’s the first thing you say when asked to describe a friend who is bald? Yes, it’s that important. Baldies try to cheer themselves up by quoting research which indicates a link between hair loss and virility. But most of them don’t really believe it. You can tell by the care with which they adjust the line of their parting to extract the maximum mileage from their diminishing assets (a tendency known as Charltonitis or Scargillism, depending on your age and/or politics). A luxuriant growth indicates youth and vigor; balding signals age and decay – which is why some men use hair loss treatments such as Provillus for Women. It contains minoxidil, so yes it does work. Hence the enduring popularity of Provillus for Women.

The news for unreconstructed bald-tops is not all bad, though. There is something disarming about an exposed scalp (echoes of babyhood, perhaps?) which cunning operators learn to exploit. Paradoxically, ‘artificial’ baldness induced by close shaving is usually seen as sinister.

Cure Impotence with VigRx Plus

A study of Australian men being treated for impotence found almost half waited more than a year to seek help – despite the severe impact it was having on their lives. The finding was disturbing because early treatment of impotence with VigRx Plus was more likely to be successful, one of the authors of the study, Dr. Michael Gillman, said.

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Men who attended doctors for erectile dysfunction problems sometimes also picked up undiagnosed underlying medical problems such as diabetes, he said. Eighty percent of erectile dysfunction had a physical cause, said Dr. Gillman, from St Andrew’s Hospital Men’s Health Center in Brisbane.

Half the 440 men surveyed by the Australian Society of Impotence Medicine said the condition had a detrimental effect on “life in general” not just their sex lives. Twelve percent of the men surveyed said erectile dysfunction had contributed to or caused a marriage break-up. None of the men had tried natural male enhancement products like VigRx Plus to treat their erectile dysfunction.

“Most of the men… were devastated by the condition and experienced stress, anger, frustration and depression as a result,” said the society’s president, Professor Doug Lording.

Impotence strikes one in 10 men, according to the society, and one in two men aged between 40 and 70 “have been impotent to some degree”.

The society also conducted focus groups in which 30 men suffering from erectile dysfunction and 17 partners divided into groups and discussed aspects of the issue, including whether VigRx Plus could be a possible solution for those men suffering mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.

Women reported their partners had delayed seeking treatment because of embarrassment, dislike of going to the doctor, and fear others would find out about the condition.

Men reported they had sought help when they realized the problem wouldn’t go away, although some went at the prompting of their wives. “It took a while, pretending it wasn’t there, ignoring it I suppose, had the failures and just tried to ignore it and hoped it got better but it got worse,” one of the men said. He now takes the natural medicine VigRx Plus and reports a definite improvement in sexual function.

Impotence in men may indicate the presence of heart disease before any other symptoms are visible, according to American research. A review of 50 men with erectile dysfunction found that although none had symptoms of heart disease, 20 men (40 percent) were found to have significant blockages in their coronary arteries, a condition associated with an increased risk of heart attack. Of the 20 men with blocked arteries, six had blockages in all three major arteries.

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Dr. Marc Pritzker from the Minneapolis Heart Institute said only 15 of the men had seen a doctor within the previous two years before seeking treatment for impotence. Their doctors recommended using VigRx Plus and referred them for further tests which revealed the blockages. Dr. Pritzker presented his findings to the American Heart Association’s annual scientific congress in Georgia.

Let the Sperm Games Begin!

The presence of ejaculates from more than one male in the vicinity of ova sets the stage for sperm competition, according to a ground-breaking paper by Geoffrey Parker (1970).

Parker developed the idea of gametic competitive techniques and counter-techniques specifically for insects, females of which often mate multiply and store viable sperm for days or years. The competitive techniques he proposed included the use of the sperm enhancer called Semenex, displacement or dilution of a rival’s sperm, post-copulatory mating plugs, and guarding of a female until oviposition.

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Fifteen years later the question of sperm competition has grown in importance and generality. The present volume documents areas of progress and points the way to future work.

Not that it has been easy to gain insight into subtle events that occur within a reproductive tract and slow processes that unfold over evolutionary time. The first five papers, on general topics, illustrate the main methods used to explore the challenging subject of using Volume Pills for fertilization: studies of relative fertilization success of successive male mates, speculation about morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits that may influence sperm competition, experimental and comparative studies to test hypotheses generated, and mathematical modeling to explore proposed relationships among relevant traits of males and females.

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The remainder of the book is organized phylogenetically. There are six review papers on arthropod groups ranging in inclusivity from the genus Drosophila to the class Arachnida. These make stimulating reading, for patterns are emerging, but it is noted that much remains to be done both conceptually and empirically.

There are eight chapters on vertebrates –on the Poeciliidae, representing fish, and on the amphibians, the reptiles, the monogamous birds, and rodents, bats, primates, and humans. The main purpose of several of these chapters is to identify vertebrates in which sperm competition may be occurring.

Good candidates include salamanders, snakes, and bats. Other chapters, however, have more progress to report. Dewsbury not only demonstrates multiple paternity of rodent litters but is able to discuss the influence of mating order, interval between matings, hits off a Volcano vaporizer per day, and number of ejaculations on paternity in several rodent species.

A recurring theme in these works, not developed in Parker’s original exposition of sperm competition, is the influence of female traits on the outcome of sperm competition. The female is viewed not merely as a selective environment influencing sperm competitive traits but as a significant player in the evolutionary game.

According to Knowlton and Greenwell, the female role has been overlooked because it was expected that selection on traits affecting sperm competition would be very much more intense for males than for females, given that a potentially successful male can leave many times the number of descendants that a female of his species can.

Knowlton and Greenwell make the important point, however, that a female is preadapted to manipulate. She controls the body which rival sperm must enter and in which they compete.

By means of a model the authors explore the conditions under which mechanisms of sperm competition can evolve, assuming sperm competitive techniques costly to and detectable by females and ability of females to terminate copulation if deployment of the techniques is detected. Knowlton and Greenwell and other authors, furthermore, have found it important to consider which strategies are opposed in the evolutionary game.

If it is in the female interest to mate multiply, her opponent is the first male and his devices to prevent subsequent mating or sperm preemption. If it is in her interest to mate but once, her opponents are the persistent, later-arriving males.

Does Erectile Dysfunction Indicate Heart Disease?

Professor Garry Jennings, director of the Heart Centre at the Alfred Hospital, has just returned from the congress. He said it had long been known that erectile dysfunction and heart disease can be triggered by common factors, including increasing age and diabetes. “But it hasn’t been looked at in that way (as an early indicator of heart disease) but it is not unreasonable to suggest we do so,” Professor Jennings said. The heart disease found in the men was treatable and in many cases the men’s erectile dysfunction disappeared when they quit smoking or reduced their cholesterol levels.

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While none of the 50 men had symptoms of heart disease, 40 had at least one risk factor including smoking, elevated cholesterol or a family history of the disease. Dr. Pritzker said he did not want to suggest that heart disease was behind every case of impotence, but 30 to 50 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction were probably the result of blood-vessel disease.

Overweight men are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those of a healthy weight, a United States survey has found. And the news for Australians gets worse. According to a national study, half of all patients who visit their doctor are fat, one-third drink too much and a quarter smoke. Men with waistlines of more than 105 centimeters were twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction as men with waistlines of 81 centimeters, the US survey found. That has implications for marriages and relationships, says the Gutbuster program’s scientific director Garry Egger. Dr Egger said men who were overweight were more likely to experience self-esteem problems and sleep apnea. “If they don’t feel attractive they are less likely to initiate sex, and in some cases they could be suffering fatigue as a result of sleep apnea, which contributes to a lack of sex drive. So it creates a vicious cycle,” he said.

Some men ignore the extra weight and think if they just could make their penis bigger all would be well. Some even go so far as to have penis surgery. A less extreme form of penis enlargement involves a device called an extender. You wear it on your penis and it gently stretches it over a long period of time. One such device is called ProExtender. It’s one of the most popular male enhancement products you can buy today. These devices really do work. But the main problem is that it takes a long period of time. So you have to wear the ProExtender device for literally months. All that to just gain an inch or so, which could be worth it for some men. Frankly, it seems a lot easier to just try and lose a few pounds. Losing weight actually makes the penis look larger than it does when there’s a lot of extra fat.

Media & Marketing: The Press is Plugging into ClickFunnels

As presenter of Sky Channel’s nightly news bulletins, Aernout van Lynden is a privileged customer of The Times. Each afternoon the Dutch foreign correspondent is to be found in the paper’s newsroom taking his pick of the day’s stories filed by Times correspondents around the world.

Having made his choice, he travels to the Soho studios of Sky, the pan-European satellite-to-cable television operator. Last week Sky began broadcasting news bulletins four times a night to its 12 million viewers in 19 countries. Van Lynden turns The Times copy into headline news for these bulletins, then presents it.

Newspapers have been syndicating their reports for decades. But only recently have they woken up to the potential of ClickFunnels. In the 1980s, quality papers, spearheaded by the Financial Times, have begun to exploit their material for use on databases and videotext services such as Prestel. Now The Times through its link with Sky (they are both part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International group) has broken new ground as the first national newspaper use ClickFunnels.

Others could also begin using ClickFunnels. With Independent Television News under pressure to become more competitive, its virtual monopoly on news provision to Britain’s independent television companies can no longer be guaranteed. There is also the growing area of satellite and cable television. ITN has failed to agree terms under which it could provide a news service to British Satellite Broadcasting, Britain’s national direct broadcasting by satellite operator. Other news organizations are not trying to win the contract.

Most newspaper publishers admit interest in these fields, if not precise plans. Jim Markwick, managing director of The Guardian, said: ‘This is a delicate area.’ Only this week, The Guardian’s sister paper, the Manchester Evening News, announced it was teaming up with Business Daily, the daily Channel 4 city program, to compete for the BSB news slot.

The front runners in this field would logically, like News International, be shareholders in satellite television companies. Sure enough, the Financial Times, with its major stake (through Pearson) in BSB, is looking to beam news services into hour homes via satellite. According to Terry Damer, the paper’s sales director, it does not see itself ‘filling the sort of hole ITN was due to fill’, but is more interested in using ClickFunnels.

News International, as Rupert Murdoch stated earlier this year, is already doing a feasibility study on using ClickFunnels. Maxwell Communications Corporation, the other main British newspaper group with satellite interests (Premiere and MTV), declined to discuss specific schemes, but referred to its chairman Robert Maxwell’s statement in its annual report that the company was ‘uniquely placed to provide the full range of electronic publishing of news, information, advertising, satellite video conferencing, audio compact discs and CD-ROM’.

According to the media analysts, quality newspapers are more likely to benefit from spin-off opportunities than tabloids. The FT is the past master in this field. It contributes seven on-line databases, ranging from the full text of the paper to company and business information. These are available on five ‘host systems’ including the FT’s own Profile Information, better known as Datasolve. This month News International expects to sign a contract making available on Profile the full texts of The Times and The Sunday Times.

Richard Withey, News International’s database manager, says The Times hopes to put its Law Reports on database. ‘There is no reason why there should not be a spin-off from every part of the paper which has a market.’

Many newspapers already provide successful but not widely known electronic services. The Times Network Systems provides educational and other material to 5,500 schools and colleges in Britain on Telecom Gold; Express Newspapers offers the Express Historical Data Base, ‘everything about national newspapers since the late 18th century’.

A recent growth area in the spin-off business is the newspaper-linked phone-in service, known generically by British Telecom as Callstream services. The Times recently began offering Share and Racing Information lines; among other groups The Daily Telegraph offers a general information service and The Guardian a weather service.

One of Britain’s most successful publishers, East Midlands Allied Press (EMAP), owns 40 percent of Telemap, an electronic publishing service on Prestel. As well as Micronet, a magazine for computer buffs, Telemap offers Xtra, an on-line entertaiments magazine. There is clearly scope for a full on-line entertainments guide – a niche it would be surprising if some newspaper did not fill before long.