Samsung backs Web music site in Korea

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SEOUL--Samsung Corp. hopes to cultivate its image as a major multimedia entertainment company by pouring $8.7 million into, an Internet broadcasting station it's launching on Nov. 24.

Initially, consumers will be able to design their own play list from an initial 40,000 titles, as well as get videos on demand. The site will feature live broadcasts of big concerts from around the world. Seven "channels" divide the site into musical categories.

Samsung hopes to expand the business into movies, sports, stock trading and auctions. In order to meet demand, it may sign agreements with foreign content providers. "We cannot do everything," admits Beh Dong Chul, public affairs manager at Samsung.

Samsung's big advantage is speed. The site claims to be 10 times faster than other Internet broadcasting sites in Korea, and can be accessed by 25,000 users at once.

Initially, the site will be free but Samsung hopes it won't have to rely on advertising forever and can soon charge subscriptions.

Samsung already has several successful Internet-based businesses, including a shopping mall that does $250,000 in business a day.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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