VISA TURNS TO REDGATE FOR ONLINE, CD-ROM WORK;SAMPLE THE SURF; CHECKFREE, CYBERCASH INTERACT; NEW ON THE 'NET; EDS JOINS THE CYBER-RUSH;

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Visa International is working with Redgate Communications Corp., Vero Beach, Fla., on several online and CD-ROM projects and may add the new-media agency to its roster. BBDO Worldwide, Visa's brand advertising agency, will now work only on interactive TV projects for Visa.

Interactive Media Works, Overland Park, Kan., has developed the Internet equivalent of prepaid phone cards. SampleNET provides free Web connections via discs that default to the sponsor's home page before allowing consumers to surf the 'net for up to 90 minutes. Sponsor deals worth $500,000 apiece are said to be close with unidentified companies in media, entertainment services and consumer goods.

Checkfree Corp., Columbus, Ohio, and CyberCash, Reston, Va., said they will jointly develop and market products and services to enable secure electronic transactions using credit cards, debit cards, checks or cash. The first co-branded product is expected this fall.

Thirteen charter advertisers, including Fidelity Investments and Oracle Corp., paid $50,000 each for six-month charter sponsorships of The Wall Street Journal's Money & Investing Update site (http://update.wsj.com), opened last week. And Ford Motor Co. opened an electronic showroom at http://www.ford.com.

General Motors Corp.'s Electronic Data Systems (http://www.eds.com), Plano, Texas, introduced a line of Internet services for business customers utilizing EDS' global digital networks. EDS offerings include tools to create Web pages and conduct secure online transactions.

Other news:

Paul DeBenedictis to president of the New Media unit of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, New York, from senior VP-chief financial officer......AT&T paid $8 million for an equity stake in Internet access provider BBN Planet, Cambridge, Mass..... NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y., introduced the PC-Meter service to track computer activity, including Web visits.....Nissan Motor Corp. USA and Visa International, as expected, are the first of an anticipated 12 marketers to test interactive TV advertising with Tele-TV, the consortium of Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis (AA, April 10).

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