INTERACTIVE: NBC WOOS STATIONS WITH WEB NETWORK: TIME WARNER, ABC, CBS READY SIMILAR SERVICES

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NBC last week fired the latest volley in the battle for TV network affiliates' online allegiance.

NBC's 11 owned-and-operated stations and four other stations are the first to sign on for the new NBC Interactive Neighborhood, an online "Webwork" planning a full launch by yearend. NBC-IN will give affiliates a package of online content for free.

TWO ADS ON EACH PAGE

Every page will include two ad banner positions, one for a local ad and one for a national ad. Affiliates will keep all of their local ad revenue, while NBC will sell the national inventory.

If affiliates sign long-term agreements with NBC-IN, they will take a small percentage of the national advertising sales revenues as well. Stations will also get a cut of transactional revenues from consumer leads from their markets.

"Each of these services will be customized to the local affiliate and will co-brand their service with the affiliate," said Marty Yudkovitz, president of NBC Interactive.

COMPETITION HEATS UP

Content providers to NBC-IN include Microsoft Corp.'s Sidewalk, Infoseek and Rent Net. The system will also link into MSNBC on the Internet, which already has 80 NBC affiliates on board.

In the race to sign online affiliates, NBC-IN will run smack into Time Warner's Telepictures Distribution, which is seeking online affiliates for its CityWeb service. Unlike NBC-IN, CityWeb is looking for affiliates from any and all networks. ABC and CBS are also developing interactive networks based on their local affiliates.

Another player, Salt Lake City-based direct marketing company DataMark Holding, is offering stations the WorldNow Online Network, launching by May.

Greg Spring is Los Angeles bureau chief for Electronic Media.

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