Apple sees potential profit in Webcasts

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Apple computer is talking with major entertainment companies about managing live "Webcasts" where Apple can get a promotional plug.

Apple wants to capitalize on the experience it gained this year in staging Apple Internet promotions tied to the Grammys, "Mission: Impossible" and other events.

Steve Franzese, VP-interactive marketing and online services, said Apple is in talks with several large entertainment companies.

The strategy meshes with the goal of Apple Senior VP-Corporate Marketing Satjiv Chahil to align Apple with entertainment. That resulted in a promotional tie-in with Paramount Pictures for "Mission: Impossible" and a tie-in with Ron Howard's upcoming "Ransom," from Touchstone Pictures.

Last week, Apple teamed with Time Warner's People to cybercast the "Cool Site of the Year" event from New York.


Apple's early Webcasts each cost "in excess of six figures" to produce, Mr. Franzese said. Now, Apple is working out details of how to sell and price the services.

The interest in selling Webcast services to other companies comes as Apple mulls the creation of "Digital Club Network," an idea for wiring key clubs and music venues to cybercast over the Web.

"That's basically a plan on a piece of paper" for a sort of interactive MTV, Mr. Franzese said.

He acknowledged it might make the most sense for Viacom's MTV Networks to stage music Webcasts. Apple also is targeting news, sports and other areas that could be Webcast.

Apple can supply the computers and know-how, Mr. Franzese said. But it hopes to secure a promotional plug as well.

"We need marketing leverage, so we are talking to people in the music industry who have leverage," he said. "And we're not limiting ourselves to the music industry."

Copyright October 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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