NBCi Unveils Personalized Portal Service

NBC Internet Inc. (NBCi) Monday said it has completed the integration of its online family of web sites and relaunched as “Your Personal Agent on the Web.”

The launch of the portal marks a significant step in the refinement of NBC’s business, product and branding strategies, according to Will Lansing, CEO of NBCi. “For the first time, our functionality and content are in a single, consumer-friendly, integrated offering,” he said.”

Indeed, the launch of the NBCi portal service will spark user and advertiser interest, according to a report from Goldman Sachs. Research analysts speculate that today’s unveiling shows that NBCi is poised to leverage both its online and offline media content and advertising relationships.

Shares of NBCi on Monday were up more than 30 percent on the news.

For weeks, NBCi has been beta-testing the rollout of the integrated portal, causing members of NBCi sites like Snap.com and Xoom.com to deal with minor outages. The message still appears on Xoom.com’s home page.

The newly launched service integrates NBC’s Internet properties under one umbrella and is intended to coincide with the TV network’s new fall line-up. The portal blends consumer, utility and entertainment properties and showcases top content and services from a family of NBC properties, including NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. Additionally, the site launches more than 650 content, commerce, distribution and technology partners.

According to the NBCi, its new service is the first Internet portal service to be branded under the same consumer brand as a major broadcast television network — but don’t tell that to CNN.

The service is intended to aggregate highly customized Web content, utility and commerce. By focusing on personalization, data mining and application of collaborative filtering technology, the company expects to
provide relevant content and services to each individual customer.

At launch, the service extends personalization services automatically
utilizing proprietary bandwidth identification technology designed to serve
richer multimedia content and advertising.

Additionally, “Personal Agent To Go” offers a downloadable service that
enables users to access Web content across all Internet and desktop
applications, including word processing, spreadsheets, Web browsing and
slideshow presentation.

As the portal grows, the service is intended to dually grow by
aggregating highly personalized and relevant Internet content, according to

NBCi made additional announcements Monday Srelating to the new portal

  • A major advertising campaign will support the launch of “Your Personal
    Agent on the Web.”

  • Appointments and promotions have taken place with Leo Chang being hired
    as chief technology officer, Shawn Hardin promoted to chief product officer
    and executive vice president, Greg Regis hired as senior vice president,
    technology and sales; and Jom Schiemann promoted to senior voice president
    of business development.

  • Alliances have been established to distribute customized versions of the
    NBCi portal to retailer Montgomery Ward.
    Through the relationship, Ward’s customers, associates and visitors are
    offered a free nationwide Internet access service. Talks with other possible
    partners are ongoing.

“Forging alliances with Free Internet Access Services offered by
retailers and others builds on NBCi’s strategic goal of acquiring members at
a low cost and nurturing relationships with them by offering highly
personalized, relevant information and e-commerce opportunities,” Lansing

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