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N2K, StarMedia in Latin America E-Commerce Initiative

Online music retailer N2K Inc. and StarMedia Network Inc., an online network in Latin America, signed a two-year agreement to create an online music retailing area for residents of Latin America.

Under the terms of the agreement, N2K and StarMedia Network will develop Spanish- and Portuguese-language versions of N2K's 200,000-title online superstore Music Boulevard, allowing pan-regional users to purchase music online directly through two co-branded music areas on the StarMedia Network--"Plaza Musical" (Spanish) and "Praca Musical" (Portuguese). Financial details were not disclosed.

Set to launch later this quarter, the customized versions of Music Boulevard will allow Latin America's seven million Internet users to read current music news and album reviews, review the latest music charts, and access sound samples through StarMedia Network.

As part of the relationship, StarMedia Network will develop special areas within "Plaza Musical" and "Praca Musical" to feature titles tailored to the musical tastes of the Latin American market.

The StarMedia Network offers communications, retail services, information and entertainment programming to a broad-based online audience in Spanish and Portuguese.

"Latin Americans represent a disproportionate share of worldwide online transaction revenues and also have an average per transaction rate two to three times that of online buyers from anywhere else in the world," said Fernando Espuelas, chairman and chief executive officer of StarMedia Network.

"The integration of N2K's Music Boulevard into the StarMedia Network will undoubtedly please our visitors, who for the first time, will be able to purchase music in a secure online environment. This relationship is just one of the many retail opportunities we plan to offer our users in the coming year."

According to a recent study released by Nazca S&S, the Latin American network of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Pan-regional Internet usage has increased 788% since 1995. The study predicts 34 million Latin Americans will have Web access by the year 2000, a 4250% increase from 1995.

N2K is expanding globally with N2K Japan, which has strategic alliances with AOL Japan, NTT's OCN Network, WebTV Japan, and radio station J-Wave. The company has also formed relationships with MTV International, which links MTV Internet sites in Europe, Japan, Asia, and Brazil to Music Boulevard, and with Grolier Interactive of France for a French-language version of Music Boulevard.