Co. plans to up e-commerce revs by 50%

PARIS — Anticipating advertising woes like the rest of Europe’s free-to-air webs, France’s TF1 unveiled ambitious plans Tuesday to up its e-commerce revenues by 50% to 150 million euros ($138 million) over the next three years, including an aggressive push into online music sales.

At a press conference, prexy Patrick Le Lay said that as a complement to ad coin, e-commerce was “one of the most effective ways of financing content.”

TF1 already has a thriving tele-shopping service, boosted by the launch three years ago of the round-the-clock cable and satellite channel Shopping Avenue.

Those services will be further beefed up by Web site ShoppingAvenue.com and an online customized CD service called TF1Music.

Latter will allow Internet users to cut their own customized CD from a catalog of 10,000 titles from majors such as BMG and Warner, as well as indie labels.

“It is a world first to propose so many different labels on the same site,” said TF1Music prexy Michel Kubler.

TF1Music is in advanced negotiation with record companies including EMI Virgin and predicts its catalog will triple by the end of this year.

Site also is in talks with Vivendi Universal, with whom it has already done a local deal over the titles involved in TF1’s reality TV format “Star Academy.”

It is targeting at least 200,000 sales, at a minimum of $20 apiece, in the first year, and aiming for break-even by the end of 2003.

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