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Internet content providers battle losses

While Internet companies grew in 1999, they fought increasing losses, according to the annual "Communications Industry Report," released today from researcher Veronis, Suhler & Associates. In tracking 52 publicly traded Internet content providers, Veronis found they had a 128.1% increase in combined revenue, from $479.6 million in 1998 to $1.1 billion in 1999.

Losses, however, tripled for the companies, rising from $529.5 million in 1998 to $1.6 billion last year. Internet content providers include traditional media companies that have migrated online as well as pure-play Internet players. Only one publicly traded content provider, ZDNet, reported an operating profit in 1999. All that was before the dot-com stock implosion this year.

Internet appliance site relaunches, expands ads

Internet appliance company CIDCO (www.cidco.com) today unveils a new Web site and extends a $20 million ad campaign. CIDCO has sold off the telephony line of its business to focus on the Internet appliance market, which consists of its MailStation product, an appliance to send and receive e-mail. The site is designed to introduce new products such as the Mivo 300 MailStation, which will be available in the spring. The site will not sell products directly; rather, it will be used to give product demonstrations and refer users to retail outlets.

Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City, retooled the site and has created an ad campaign, the TV portion of which broke in October. As the campaign expands, a digital version of a TV spot will be e-mailed to opt-in customers. Promotional print and radio campaigns are set to break in December. Print ads, running in Access, Parade and USA Weekend, will be product-focused and offer a free carrying case with every purchase of a MailStation. Spot radio will air in 10 markets, including Chicago, Detroit, New York and Washington. The Internet appliance market has been a rocky one. Internet Appliance Network (www.ian.net) recently laid off most of the employees in its New York office and decided to take the company in a different direction.

WomensForum inks 1-year deal with Keen.com

WomensForum.com, a network of women's sites, has inked a one-year deal with Keen.com, a site that links Web users with experts over the phone. Keen.com will provide WomensForum users answers to questions on topics ranging from astrology and health to finance, parenting and computing. WomensForum has more than 100 independent sites. Users pay varying fees for the phone advice from Keen experts.

F.Y.I.

Unilever, in a survey being released today that was taken before last week's elections, said 53% of male and 54% female Web surfers believe voting should be allowed on the Internet. The survey also found that 54% of men and 42% of women say the Internet is one of the main ways they keep up on politics and election news. Almost two-thirds of respondents -- 65% of men and 61% of women -- say they seek health information on the Internet before they consult their doctors. . . .Last week ad network 24/7 Media's stock plunged when the company warned of slower near-term growth and earnings. The ad network said it planned to cut 200 jobs.

Chat. . .

Is the Effie for sale?: MotherNature.-com, which won a 1999 bronze Effie for its estimated $17 million ad campaign from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, said last week it would liquidate its assets. VP-Marketing Sharon Rice jumped ship in September to the same post at PaperExchange.com, which hailed her contribution to the Effie win

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