Where TV, Net link

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Internet rights are becoming a major factor in TV deal making as networks, production houses and technology companies clamor to make use of this new video streaming technology, says Jim Moloshok, president of Warner Brothers Online.

"Companies [are] demanding Internet rights [and] networks are trying to put Internet in their deals for network programming," he says. One example is CBS' $6 billion deal for the NCAA tournament, which includes Internet rights.

"That's one of the things we're requiring -- all Internet rights on new programs," says Dick Glover, ABC's exec VP-Internet media. "[But] there are lots of intellectual property issues to be worked out."

ONLINE `MILLIONAIRE'

Mr. Glover adds that ABC is getting ready to air online versions of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, using enhanced TV technology.

"Interactive rights for TV are like t-shirt rights," says Mr. Moloshok, whose unit launched parent Time Warner's Entertaindom.com site last fall. The site features 10 new online animated video shows starring Warner Bros. characters. The company also released -- in partnership with ABC -- "The Drew Carey Show" Internet broadcast, which drew nearly 2 million people in just a few days, claims Mr. Moloshok.

"[That was] double the audience for most cable networks," he says. "If you have the right content you will be able to bring a mass-market audience to the Web to be entertained."

Because Internet rights are becoming a factor in the deal making of Internet events such as the "Drew Carey" simultaneous Webcast, Woodstock `99 online and the release of Mariah Carey's latest album online, the rights will no longer be given away to video streaming sites such as Yahoo!'s Broadcast.com and Real Networks' Real.com, says Mr. Moloshok.

"The issue of people providing services that enable some kind of programming -- people deserve to be paid for that," adds Mr. Glover. "You need to protect your intellectual property, and by the same token you have to make deals offensively to take advantage of new distribution."

One deal ABC made was with Microsoft Corp., which provided the video stream technology behind ABC's "Carey" Webcast.

NEXT WAVE

"Microsoft clearly sees [video streaming] as the next wave of computing across all platforms," says Kevin Unangst, Microsoft's lead product manager, streaming media division.

Through an industry initiative called Jumpstart, the Microsoft division is in works with other video stream providers such as Akamai Technologies and iBeam Broadcasting Corp. to deliver programming via the Internet.

"Streaming represents the opportunity to deliver an experience similar to what people are used to," says Mr. Unangst. "Once you combine what the consumer expects from TV with what the Internet provides, that's when it's going to be exciting."

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