CNBC computes next move

NEW YORK — The Peacock network has created another 24-hour business news service, CNBC Intercast, to be broadcast directly to desktop computers, CNBC will announce today.

CNBC Intercast will be available free to owners of PCs equipped with Intel’s Intercast technology, allowing them to watch the cable channel CNBC on one corner of their computer screen while simultaneously keeping an eye on adjacent Web pages containing customizable business news and information.

Until recently Intercast technology has been available only through add-on equipment, with fewer than 100,000 computer owners making the upgrade. But now that computer makers Compaq and Gateway 2000 are selling their latest models with the technology built in, distribution for Intercast programming should see an increase.

Compaq also has entered into a promotional partnership with CNBC Intercast which will include in-store promotion of the service.

While not the first news provider to enter the Intercast realm (CNN Interactive has been providing its own 24-hour Intercast news service for more than a year), CNBC brings an innovation to the medium — enhanced, or “smart” commercials.

A smart ad will supplement a standard commercial airing on the CNBC cable channel with text and opportunities to place orders online. Ad buys will continue to be sold by CNBC cable, and rates will be unaffected by the new Intercast distribution.

So far, CNBC Intercast has only landed one smart commercial advertiser, Electronic Data Systems Corp., which also is the company that designed and built the new service for CNBC.

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