RealTime IT News

NBCi Teams With ValueVision for New Site, TV Channel

Looking to combine its television experience with Internet services, NBC's joint venture, NBCi, Wednesday announced a deal with cable network ValueVision International Inc. to create an interactive e-commerce television channel and Web site.

NBCi is the product of the proposed merger of Snap.com, XOOM.com (XMCM) and NBC's Internet assets.

Under terms of Wednesday's deal, NBCi will launch SnapTV, a re-branding of ValueVision's (VVTV) home shopping network. The re-branded TV network will continue to be owned and operated by ValueVision and will feature programming formats designed to integrate television and the Internet. The current home shopping channel reaches approximately 32 million cable homes and boasts 1.5 million customers, the company said.

A companion SnapTV.com Internet shopping service will replace the current ValueVision site as well. Features of the site are set to include online purchasing opportunities of SnapTV merchandise, streaming video of SnapTV's cable channel, short form video representations of products and auctions.

The companies will also open a SnapTV.com online store, which will be owned and operated by ValueVision. It will be featured prominently within the shopping area of Snap.com's portal. NBCi will also become the exclusive direct e-commerce partner for SnapTV, and XOOM.com will develop the network's e-commerce management systems.

The re-branding will be phased in over the next six to nine months, the firms said, although some SnapTV programming is set to begin within 30 to 45 days.

"The deal takes two unique ways of selling and unites them,. . .allowing them to perform functions for the other," said Tom Rogers, president of NBC Cable and Business Development and executive vice president of NBC. He added that the assets of the two companies will remain separate, but no financial specifics of the deal were disclosed.

Chris Kitze, Xoom.com chairman and soon-to-be president of the new NBCi property, said that by working together, the companies will reach audiences they have not before targeted. NBCi has a young and somewhat upscale Web audience, he added, while ValueVision targets an older group.

"It's a true cross-polination between two audiences," Kitze said. "Our goal is to expand both businesses, not encroach on each's core business."