Village, Net 10 pact for web

Joint Oz venture creating youth-oriented site for $13.2 mil

SYDNEY — Third-ranking Oz free-to-air television broadcaster Network 10 is partnering with entertainment giant Village Roadshow to create an $A20 million ($13.2 million) leisure and entertainment Web site targeting people under 40.

In yet another example of traditional media players scrambling for a slice of the increasingly lucrative international e-commerce market (expected to be worth over $1 trillion by 2005), the two companies are planning to meld their existing Web sites, with the as-yet-unnamed joint venture set to launch in March.

An aggregated online network similar to the Kerry Packer-Microsoft joint venture ninemsn, the Ten/Village site will be a portal offering exclusive access to five key content categories, including film and music.

With Australia’s youth market e-commerce spend likely to rise from $70 million to $300 million over the next 12 months, each of the new site categories will provide revenue streams from subscriptions, advertising and online sales of merchandise like CDs and videos as well as movie and concert tickets.

Describing the partnership as a “natural marriage” of media titans, both companies are looking to leverage on-line content, branding and Web traffic off their various core cinema, theme park, TV and radio businesses, including Village entities such as Warner Bros. Movieworld and top-rated Sydney radio stations Triple M and 2Day FM.

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