Prodigy sets relaunch plans

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Prodigy next week launches Prodigy Internet as its first Internet product since the company formed a relationship with new parent company International Wireless, Boston. The service will launch an aggressive marketing campaign from agency Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York,.

Prodigy is developing plans to launch at least eight international versions of its service during 1997, starting with Prodigy Mexico in January.

"One of the things that was exciting for us was making plans for Prodigy to enter international markets," said Greg Carr, Prodigy's chairman. Former parent companies "IBM and Sears had never let it go outside the U.S. or Canada.".

The company "fully expects to bring in content from the international partners we have," he said. "There are a lot of commercial retailers who are looking to merchandise in the United States." He added that Grupo Carso, a Mexican telecom company with a 20% stake in IW, owns Sanborn's, a retailer interested in getting involved in reaching U.S. audiences, possibly through a relationship on Prodigy.

While Weiss, Whitten is now the service's agency of record, Prodigy CEO Paul DeLacey said that as Prodigy enters the eight additional countries, "my suspicion is that we'll tap into local foreign agencies. ... Clearly, we'll personalize the campaign in the different markets..

Copyright October 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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