CBS News inks Internet pact

NEW YORK — CBS News today will announce a joint venture with an Internet service provider, enabling it to offer an interactive news service said to be distinctive among the networks.

Details weren’t known, but insiders said CBS won’t gain an equity stake in the Internet company. Otherwise, the hookup is said to mirror a similar deal signed earlier this year between CBS and SportsLine, in which CBS also made no cash outlay but gained a 22% stake in the service in exchange for ad time to promote it.

The new news service, a response to Starwave’s ABC.com and Microsoft’s MSNBC, will become part of CBSnow, a Web site to be launched in January with local content from more than 100 Eye web affiliates.

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