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iBeam braces cash

Company to announce $42 mil in financing

Online video and audio services provider iBeam Broadcasting, which officially deploys its services today, is expected to announce $42 million in a third round of financing collected from Microsoft, Intel, Covad Communications and Sony.

The Sunnyvale-based company said it will pour the funds into its network, which it hopes will enable users to broadcast programming to more than 1 million simultaneous Internet users by 2001.

Current technology limits viewers of online broadcasts to hundreds of thousands. IBeam’s virtual pipes currently can reach 300,000 viewers at one time, at lower than current costs using a series of network servers connected via satellites.

Intel does it again

The latest round of financing marks the second time Intel has poured funds into the company. The previous rounds netted at least $26 million, bringing total financing to at least $68 million.

Other existing investors include Accel Partners, CrossPoint Venture Partners, Media Technology Ventures and Stanford.

“Our strategic investors are all category leaders in various segments of the Internet,” said Peter Desnoes, prexy and CEO of iBeam.

“IBeam is delivering the combination of price, performance and quality that will cause a fundamental shift in the market,” said Will Poole, director of Windows Media Technologies at Microsoft. “And we feel that this aligns well with the strategic objectives of the Windows Media Technologies, making Internet streaming a robust business for content providers.”

Distrib pacts

Additionally, iBeam said it has inked distribution agreements with the British Broadcasting Corp., Bloomberg, the House of Blues, Launch.com and Netcaster AtomFilms.

IBeam is hoping to next target the major studios. “That’s our target market,” Tom Gillis, veep of marketing, told Daily Variety. “We’re going after the major distributors of content.”

The company’s network has already been used to Webcast Woodstock ’99 and an Oscar De La Hoya boxing bout.

Said Gillis, “Our vision is to provide the essential piece of infrastructure which will allow the Internet to become the mass medium that it will become.”

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