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Netscape Signs With StarMedia for Latin American Guide

Netscape Communications Corp. and StarMedia Network today announced a two-year, multi-million dollar marketing and distribution agreement to offer a free, Latin American Internet guide scheduled to debut in August.

StarMedia declined to specify exact dollar amounts.

Dubbed "Netscape Guide by StarMedia," the service will be available in Spanish and Portuguese. The resource will offer Latin American netizens a Web site directory segmented into areas of interests that span topics such as business, computers, entertainment, finance, news, sports, travel and shopping.

The Guide will be featured on the new Latin American channels on Netscape's Netcenter Web site. In addition, a StarMedia news ticker will be displayed with links to StarMedia's general news sections.

Terms of the agreement also call for Spanish and Portuguese versions of Netscape's browsers to be bundled with a premium StarMedia bookmark displayed on the browser toolbar. StarMedia said it is promoting Netscape's browser to its audience via banner ads placed throughout its Network.

According to the companies, Netscape is the most popular browser in Latin America, and claims an overall global audience of 23 million unique visitors, 25% of which is outside the U.S.

"The growth in Internet use in Latin America outpaces any other region in the world," said Fernando Espuelas, chairman and CEO of StarMedia Network. "With 34 million Latin American Internet users projected to be online by the year 2000, the Netscape Guide by StarMedia will help people get to where they want to go online quickly."

This latest deal follows news this week that Netscape plans to closely integrate its Communicator and Navigator client software with its next generation Netcenter portal offering.

The moves are part of a shift in strategy that has seen an increased focus by the software company on the expansion of Netcenter. In its last earnings statement, the company said the portal generated $31.1 million in revenues, a jump from the previous quarter's $21.3 million.