Yahoo!, BT Meld Access, Content

Portal player Yahoo! has widened the
scope of an earlier deal with the United Kingdom’s largest Internet service provider, British Telecommunications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Later this year, the companies will launch “BT Yahoo! Broadband” giving customers high-speed Internet access bundled with browser, personalized homepages, and other services, including streaming news and entertainment.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! has been trotting out other premium services including shopping, dating and video e-mail offerings, which could find their way into the co-branded BT service.

The companies will also develop services around Yahoo!’s instant messaging product and will upgrade BT’s e-mail offering with Yahoo! features. A dial-up access offering is planned too, though like all content and access companies, the focus is broadband, which allows for the delivery of paid services that can boost revenues and profits.

Yahoo! and BT will mount a “significant” joint marketing effort to brand the service, which replaces BT’s Openworld offering. Yahoo! spokesman Scott Morris said specifics are not set, the push would be in addition to a joint marketing iniative earlier this year.

The announcement comes six months after the firms inked a more limited version for co-promotion of Yahoo! premium services and BT Broadband.

“For customers to get the most of the Internet, several factors are crucial,” Pierre Danon, CEO of BT’s retail unit. “Access must be safe and fast, use must be personalized and flexible, and content must be compelling. By joining with Yahoo!, we can satisfy all of these criteria.”

Gaining Yahoo! content may help BT boost its broadband subscriptions. It has already invested in the infrastructure to handle rich content. BT said its systems let a user
download either approximately 200 music tracks, 650 short videos, 10,000 pictures or around 100 large software programs every day.

Today’s announcement comes six months after the companies signed a deal to promote Yahoo! premium services and BT Broadband.

The new version mirrors a agreement Yahoo! has with SBC Communications and is viewed as a way to get its products and services — especially subscription broadband offerings before new customers.

Tony Henderson, a BT spokesman, said the company has 330,000 broadband customers and 1.3 million dial-up customers in the United Kingdom. Pricing won’t change after the Yahoo! deal is implemented, he said.

“With this announcement, Yahoo! is the first Internet brand to have entered into this kind of deep access and programming alliance in the three largest broadband regions, Europe, Asia and North America,” Terry Semel, chairman and CEO, Yahoo! Inc.

In addition to SBC, Yahoo! has content/access deals with service providers in Japan, Taiwan and Brazil, spokesman Morris said.

“We have a global strategy and are always evaluating (potential partnerships),” Morris said.

News Around the Web