NBC Brings E-Commerce To Daytime Soap

NBCi (Nasdaq: NBCI), the Internet venture formed by the Peacock Network, announced today that it has launched a Web boutique to sell jewelry inspired by one of its daytime dramas.

Working in conjunction with the NBC drama “Passions,” the company launched the Passions Boutique and will sell jewelry with national shopping network ValueVision International, Inc.

The company hopes to expand soon by selling clothing inspired by the show.

NBCi said that the merchandise it sells in the boutique will be accompanied by information about which show character each piece belongs to, allowing the company to incorporate storylines into its e-commerce venture.

In addition, some of the characters on the show will wear jewelry featured on the site, and the boutique will be promoted during the broadcast of the show.

“This initiative is exactly the type of integrated television and Internet commerce opportunity we envisioned when we formed NBCi,” said CEO Chris Kitze. “The Passions Boutique draws on the strengths of NBC, NBCi and ValueVision to help realize our goal of turning television viewers into Internet shoppers.”

Two Screens, One Vision

The novel arrangement between NBCi and “Passions” could signal a shift in the way broadcast companies integrate new media into their properties. NBC has been the most vigorous of the major networks in looking to the Internet as a new business.

The company launched NBCi last month on Nasdaq. It owns 47.3 percent of the venture, which features Snap as its flagship service and includes Xoom.com, AccessHollywood.com and others. NBC also owns equity stakes in CNET, 24/7, iVillage, TalkCity and other new media ventures.

Not Alone

However, NBC is not the only international broadcast company with its eyes on the Internet horizon. Yesterday, Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch announced that his Fox network and other media holdings will enter into a $1 billion (US$) partnership with Healtheon/WebMD.

Fox and Healtheon will produce healthcare content to be shown across Fox television and newspaper properties. The two entities will jointly run a network and Web site, as well as launch an international venture armed with $100 million in cash.

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