Time Warner, P&G join forces on Internet

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Procter & Gamble Co., the world's largest advertiser, and Time Warner, the world's largest media company, are partnering on an ambitious Internet project called Parent Time.

In essence, Parent Time is an "interactive, database-related site," said an executive familiar with the details, "which will give parents a way to access any number of topics that will be of interest to them."

For example, a parent will be able to plug in the age of their child and get a slew of material relevant to that age group. Much of the material will be developed or come from Time Warner's Parenting. P&G will own half the site, marking the company's first link with a major content provider. The package-goods giant is still expected to cut a similar deal with Conde Nast Publications.

The venture being announced this week hooks P&G with Time Warner Cable's Digital Marketing Group and Time Publishing Ventures. Time Warner, P&G and Grey Interactive, the marketer's New York-based interactive agen-cy, all declined comment.


Time Warner Cable will feature a broadband, localized application of Parent Time on Road Runner, its high-speed Internet access service. P&G could include a retail application, urging users to visit specific local stores for certain products.

P&G's choice of partner was logical. The marketer is Parenting's leading advertiser.

Even before Parent Time is up and running, there's been some internal controversy. Linda Frankenbach, VP-Time Warner Cable Digital Marketing Group, has met resistance from a number of Time Warner executives on Parent Time, according to two people close to the project. The concerns are based in part on the non-exclusive nature of the deal.


Indeed, P&G itself seems to be competing with the site already with its new total baby care area for Pampers that features well-known pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. Furthermore, P&G could make a similar deal with any of Road Runner's broadband rivals.

There are already several parenting sites, including iVillage's Parent Soup, prompting speculation about the long-term viability of P&G/Time Warner to "own the category in cyberspace," said another executive familiar with the deal.

Parenting operates a site on America Online, although whether that will change with the new deal is not known.

Parent Time will be located at http://www.parenttime.com or http://www.pathfinder.com/ParentTime.

Contributing: Debra Aho Williamson

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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