NBC Creates Publicly Traded Internet Company

In a move designed to strengthen its position as a major Internet player, NBC has launched NBC Internet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBCI) as a publicly traded company.

NBCi also unveiled a new and improved version of Snap, positioning the search and shop site as its flagship Web service. Media Metrix reported in September that NBCi properties now rank collectively as the seventh-most visited site on the Web.

Opportunity and Protection

The launch of NBCi as a publicly traded entity is the latest in a number of Web moves by the television and radio behemoth. With experts predicting that $27 billion (US$) per year in advertising will shift to new media by 2004, NBC’s aggressive move to the Internet is a way for the broadcast conglomerate to shore up its advertising base while reaching for new markets.

Disney, the corporate owner of the ABC television network, recently spun its Internet properties into Go.com (NYSE: GO). Both networks are using similar strategies to prepare for the advertising drift from television to the Internet.

“With the launch of NBCi and the Snap site, NBC takes the next step beyond traditional platforms into the Internet to become an electronic commerce company,” said Bob Wright, president and CEO of NBC and chairman of NBCi. Wright also suggested that NBC’s network advertisers will now add Internet advertising to their network media buy to reach customers directly through NBCi Web sites.

NBC Ties Radio Network Into Net Move

NBCi also announced a promotion and distribution deal today with Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE: CCU), under which NBCi services will be promoted on the media conglomerate’s more than 425 radio stations. As part of the deal, NBCi Web sites will be integrated into the stations’ companion Internet properties.

NBCi’s agreements with NBC and Clear Channel Communications give the new entity a broad platform of Internet, network broadcast television, cable television and radio outlets, which will allow for inter-media programming and advertising.

Pushing Snap As Its Web Brand

Snap will provide Internet search and directory services, shopping, multimedia and entertainment, as well as original content and content brought in from 100 Web publishers. The site features a directory that includes 500 topic resource centers.

Snap also features services for high-speed Internet users that provide audio, video and other multimedia content.

NBCi’s full line of Internet services include Snap, Xoom.com, NBC.com, VideoSeeker, Access Hollywood and Interactive Neighborhood. NBCi will also showcase NBC content, including full motion video programming and original extensions of NBC shows, including Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Investors Can Now Buy the Peacock

The launch of NBCi on Nasdaq lets investors buy NBC for the first time. “This significant occasion marks the first time in NBC history that investors have the opportunity to purchase stock in a company that bears the NBC name and logo as part of its identity,” Wright said.

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