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NBC-Interactive, 24/7 Sign TV-Internet Sales Pact

24/7 Media Inc. and NBC-Interactive Neighborhood Wednesday signed a three-year agreement to create a nationwide advertising sales force focused exclusively on the convergence of television and the Internet at the local level.

The companies said the venture will combine NBC's on-air promotion strength with 24/7 Media's expertise in online advertising sales to build fully integrated multimedia sponsorship programs for major market local advertisers.

Financial arrangements were not disclosed, but as part of the deal, NBC is acquiring an unspecified equity interest in 24/7 Media.

Initial launch markets include NBC-owned and operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and San Diego.

Plans are to add an 14 broadcast more station markets during the third quarter. The partnership will also deliver ad sales consulting and regional representation services to the more than 100 NBC stations that are currently affiliated with NBC-Interactive Neighborhood, which is a localized Internet community guide service customized for more than 100 local NBC stations.

24/7 Media will recruit, train and staff sales and support personnel who will operate out of both the NBC stations as well as in 24/7 Media's regional offices. 24/7 and NBC-IN will develop cooperative advertising packages that leverage NBC local television with the direct response, data mining and marketing functionality of NBC's local station Web sites.

"We are responding to the demands of this new Internet ad-sales market with novel and creative solutions that keep NBC in a leadership position among traditional media companies on the Internet," said Martin J. Yudkovitz, president of NBC Interactive.

"In the local market, we will expand our on-air relationships to include e-commerce, classified advertising and other direct marketing Internet programs that turn viewers into customers."

David J. Moore, chief executive officer of 24/7, said that NBC is the best possible partner for the company's foray into local markets.

"The Internet is capturing an increasingly significant portion of media dollars, and this is a major first step in our integration of Internet advertising into multimedia packages," he said.