NBCi Launches Pacific Rim E-Commerce Portals

NBC Internet (Nasdaq: NBCI) announced an e-commerce venture today with Asiacontent.com Ltd to create a Pacific Rim Web gateway, while separately announcing an agreement with Australia’s Seven Network Ltd (ASX: SEV) to develop broadband and e-commerce initiatives.

The deals build on NBCi’s launches of XOOM Italy and XOOM France last year, both of which have become top-rated e-commerce sites in their countries.

Turning Surfers Into Shoppers

“NBCi and Asiacontent.com will launch services that truly serve the needs of both users and partners in these key regions, as we continue to turn worldwide Internet users into Internet shoppers, building on our successful initiatives in Italy and France,” said NBCi CEO Chris Kitze.

NBCi, the online arm of General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) NBC television network, will take a 35 percent stake in the joint venture with Asiacontent.com. It also gained the right to acquire an additional 25 percent.

NBCi will also acquire a minority stake in Asiacontent.com, a leading developer of Internet e-commerce Web sites and advertising services in Asian markets. The joint venture will develop portals and shopping services in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Details of the Seven Network Deal

In the deal with Seven Network, the second-ranked television broadcaster in Australia, NBCi will develop online and broadband businesses that will bring shopping services and content to Australia’s consumer Internet audience. The co-branding agreement will operate through Seven Network’s i7 Internet business.

The initiative builds on a long-standing partnership between the companies that has included news and programming over four decades. NBCi has also agreed to take a significant position in i7 if the company pursues a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“This agreement with Seven Network mirrors NBCi’s U.S. strategy of partnering with a major media company to build brand and target users,” said Kitze. “This move will bring our Internet content and shopping services to a particularly Internet-savvy audience in Australia, building upon the successful launches of XOOM France and XOOM Italy last year.”

Under the agreement, NBCi will grant i7 content and services from NBCi’s Snap Internet portal and XOOM.com community and shopping service. i7 will also receive all back-end technology and access to NBCi management and technical know-how.

These additions come as i7 is developing its presence on the Internet through site hosting and investments in e-commerce companies.

NBCi Plans to Blend Content and E-Commerce Worldwide

The agreements with Asiacontent.com and Seven Network are part of NBCi’s overall strategy to create a worldwide blend of its shopping, programming, general content and localized content. “NBCi’s international strategy is beginning to coalesce with significant undertakings in Australia, France and Italy,” said Neal Kaufman, managing director, International NBCi.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, NBCi was formed through the grouping of Snap, XOOM.com, NBC.com, NBC Interactive Neighborhood, AccessHollywood.com, VideoSeeker and a 10 percent stake in CNBC.com. General Electric holds a 47.3 percent position in NBCi.

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