NBC Universal Buys Rmail

NBC Universal has acquired RSS company Rmail, which specializes in turning RSS feeds into e-mail. The purchase helps the broadcasting giant flesh out its digital-media distribution properties by showcasing its desire to push content to consumers.

Rmail allows users to subscribe to an RSS feed of the blog of their choice and receive that feed by e-mail. Users place the URL of the blog feed, as well as their e-mail addresses, into the subscription form on Rmail’s homepage. The users will receive the feed directly in their inboxes.

Rmail also makes available an embeddable widget to bloggers. The technology supports both Atom 1.0 and RSS 2.0, as well as previous incarnations of those standards.

It also supports all e-mail clients, including Outlook, Google’s Gmail, Yahoo mail, and Microsoft’s Hotmail. The site has 50,000 users and 100,000 subscriptions, and it sends 50,000 e-mails per day.

The move has broad-reaching implications for NBC’s news Web sites, said James McQuivey, a vice president at Forrester Research. “Essentially, RSS feed aggregation is a substitute for news consumption, and if you’re NBC News, that’s either terrifying or it’s your next best thing,” he said.

McQuivey added that NBC is recognizing that the future delivery platform for news might be a little bit more multi-channel than it is currently.

The acquisition is the latest in a series of deals that NBC Universal has made in its effort to build its online content delivery capabilities. The broadcasting giant has been dancing around Google’s YouTube, announcing last month plans for an online video portal with News Corp. and signing a distribution agreement with Comcast.

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