RealTime IT News

StarMedia, WorldGate Target Cable Access

StarMedia Network Inc. and WorldGate Communications Inc. Wednesday formed a cannily familiar content, Net access and cable marriage, but this time targeting the Latin American and Spanish audience.

In a deal structure vaguely reminescent of last week's AOL-Time Warner merger, StarMedia will contribute Spanish- and Portuguese-language content for WorldGate's (WGAT) Internet access service, which operates in Latin America and Spain. StarMedia (STRM) will bring TV optimized content, games, search, interactive advertising and other features to the TV format on WorldGate's Every TV Service.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The enhanced service will be deployed in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador in the near future, with trails and rollout on the schedule for Spain.

"Using the television as a portal to the wide world of the Internet represents the next frontier in global communications," said Hal Krisbergh, WorldGate's chairman and chief executive officer.

The company expects the cable subscriber market to grow from 13 million to 28 million over the next four years, according to Strategis Group studies.

Earlier this month, StarMedia announced that its shopping channel added 43 new merchants over the past year, an increase of more than 600 percent over the previous term. During the past year, StarMedia Network has added Dell Computers, FAO Schwarz, Brazilian electronics merchant Gradiente, LatinGrocer and The Disney Store, among others, to its roster of e-commerce partners.