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Discovery creates distinct dot-com unit

Discovery Communications formed a new company, Discovery.com, to consolidate its Internet activities. Discovery expects to invest $500 million by 2003 in the new venture, which emanates from Discovery Channel Online and Discoveryhealth.com. John S. Hendricks, founder, chairman and CEO of Discovery Communications, also is chairman-CEO of Discovery.com.

The new company is expected to get a major promotional push from its "old media" parent. Discovery, which may eventually sell stock in its dot-com, follows NBC, Walt Disney Co. and other TV media companies in spinning off its Internet businesses. Discovery last month hired Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco (AA, Jan. 10) for an estimated $70 million account covering its online businesses.

Unilever extends ad deal with Microsoft

Unilever and Microsoft Corp., as expected, have extended their U.S. online advertising agreement to Microsoft Network Web sites in Europe with a three-year, non-exclusive deal for the development of interactive and online marketing strategies for Unilever's key brands. Unilever will be the premier sponsor of the WomenCentral channel on MSN.com and will have dedicated Web sites, interactive displays and advertisements on MSN.com in France, Germany and the U.K. In addition, Unilever will place banners and advertisements on the MSN network. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

MyTurn.com names Suissa Miller first AOR

MyTurn.com, Alameda, Calif., named Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, its first agency of record for an account with undisclosed spending. The marketer of Internet-based e-commerce solutions will target consumers who want to go online but don't own a PC with Internet service, software and other services. A campaign will launch with TV and Web ads in five markets this summer, before rolling out nationally this fall.

Greenfield Online rolls out opinion research Web site

Marketing research company Greenfield Online today launches QuickTake.com, a Web-based tool that helps marketers collect target audiences' opinions online. QuickTake.com lets marketers place banners on specified Web sites that invite users to click through to a survey. The service tests consumer reactions to products, concepts, packaging and other marketing-related issues.

Entertaindom.com advertises on L90 sites

Time Warner online entertainment portal Entertaindom.com expanded its relationship with ad network and ad-serving company L90, Santa Monica, Calif. Under the deal, Entertaindom.com will advertise across L90's network of 125 sites and will expand its use of the company's ad-serving technology, adMonitor, to track ads on the sites.

Chat. . .

There's no such thing as a free PC. One year ago, idealab-backed Free-PC shook up the market with its offer to give away PCs with free Web access to consumers who would accept targeted ads. But Free-PC last year generated revenue of only $1.2 million, largely from banner ads, and lost $29.8 million. PC seller eMachines last month bought Free-PC, scrubbed future PC giveaways and on Feb. 14 will halt free Web access for Free-PC's 25,000 customers. EMachines will use Free-PC's expertise to help develop a "hardware portal," selling Web advertising and e-commerce programs. It's sold so-called hot keys on its keyboard to Amazon.com, eBay and GoTo. . . . Creative agency great and renowned technophobe Rich Silverstein -- who for years refused to give up his drafting table to art direct on a screen -- now actually owns a home computer, one of his associates reports. "He's out there surfing every night," the associate says of the co-creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. Mr. Silverstein still refuses to have a computer in his office even though one of the shop's main clients is Hewlett-Packard Co. He hadn't returned calls at deadline. . . . Exile on 7th Avenue has opened as a spinoff from broken up San Francisco i-shop Left Field. The name came from the Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street." The shop is on SF's Main Street, but agency chief Michael McMahon started on the city's Seventh Avenue. The new name is totally out of Left Field.

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