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RealTime IT News

RCN Provides Portals Through Terra Lycos

RCN is offering broadband subscribers a personalized portal page that plugs into Terra Lycos streaming audio and video content.

The service, which in its basic version is free, also features real-time customization, dynamic content sizing, recommendations and animated weather content.

The offering comes as Internet service providers seek to retain users while vying for millions of customers who are preparing to make the leap from slower dial-up service. And while price is a crucial factor in users' decision-making (especially during a down economy), advanced services can also be a draw.

"With brand-name content, a strong alliance with Lycos, and the latest in streaming media, RCN sets a new level for Web portals," said Davie C. McCourt, chairman and CEO of Princeton, N.J.-based RCN.

RCN will also seek to boost revenues through a premium section, which delivers additional pay-for-use services. These may include the Rhapsody online music service and Net Nanny, parental control software -- which come free during 30- and 15-day trial periods, respectively.

Based in Princeton, N.J., RCN has about 1 million customer in the Boston, New York, Philadelphia/Lehigh Valley, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. metropolitan markets. The company also provides phone and cable TV service.

For Terra Lycos, the pact widens its audience for its content, and potentially rings up new subscribers for its paid services, which are an increasingly important revenue source as the online ad market remains unpredictable.

The company, based in Madrid and with U.S. operations in Waltham, Mass., will also try and sell the private label personalization service to other ISPs. It expects to announce future deals in coming months. Financial terms of Terra Lycos' private-label deal with RCN were not disclosed.

"One way to retain subscribers is to meet their needs and expectations of a broadband connection by providing customizable content," said Chris Bondhus, a director for personalization at Terra Lycos. "Start pages can also be a much more cost efficient way for ISPs to introduce new or premium services to customers."