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CMGI, Braun to start ‘Net b’cast venture

Former NBC prexy to head $100 mil company

Internet investor CMGI Inc. said Wednesday it is teaming with former NBC prexy Neil Braun, to create an Internet broadcast venture that will compete with Broadcast.com and RealNetworks.

Andover, Mass.-based CMGI will commit more than $100 million to the company, which will deliver live audio and video programming over the Internet. The service is expected to debut in the second quarter. A name has yet to be determined.

Braun, a vet of Viacom and Imagine Films Entertainment, will head the New York City-based company.

CMGI’s announcement marks the second time in days the former direct marketer has appointed a major media executive to lead one of its subsidiary companies. On Tuesday, CMGI announced that Jeff Cunningham, former group publisher for Forbes, was tapped as the prexy and CEO of Planet Direct.

“Without question, the Internet is the medium of the future,” Braun said in a prepared statement. “Since leaving NBC in September of 1998, I’ve been searching for the right opportunity — and the right partner — to leverage my experience in traditional media and apply it to the online marketplace.”

CMGI’s @Ventures affiliates have ownership interests in Internet giants Lycos, GeoCities, Vicinity, Thing-World.com, KOZ and Silknet.

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