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‘Net convergence

Network of the World gets TWI programming

HONG KONG — Pacific Convergence Corp. (PCC) has struck a multimillion-dollar partnership with Trans World Intl. (TWI), the programming arm of Mark McCormack’s Intl. Management Group.

The programming will be part of PCC’s interactive digital Network of the World (NOW), scheduled to be launched in June. Observers said the deal could be worth nearly $50 million.

The company, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Pacific Century CyberWorks, is controlled by Richard Li, who founded Asian satcaster Star TV and later sold it for $950 million to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Li recently beat out Murdoch in the battle to buy Cable & Wireless HKT.

NOW’s Internet services will be available via cable, satellite and telecom, and will include sports, lifestyle, business, entertainment and technology offerings.

As part of the deal, TWI will take an equity stake in PCC. And NOW will have access to TWI’s library of 75,000 hours of program material and the 10,000 hours of new material it produces annually.

TWI also will provide the production services for NOW’s English-language programs and Web services, to be based in London. NOW’s Asian-lingo services are handled out of Hong Kong and Tokyo.

“This is a major step forward for convergence,” said PCC chief exec Hubert Ng. “TWI’s experience in conventional programming, multimedia and the Internet is unmatched.”

TWI managing director Bill Sinrich said the partnership is moving ahead rapidly, noting, “We are already recruiting the first of at least 200 staff for NOW in London and transforming 55,000 square feet next to TWI’s headquarters in London into NOW’s ‘Net-digital video production center.”

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