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Joint Venture to Create Portal with Multimedia News Content
by
Posted On August 30, 1999
Business Wire and Medialink Worldwide, Inc. have announced that they have formed a joint venture to build a comprehensive Internet portal for the delivery of multimedia news releases to Internet news sites and journalists worldwide. The new venture, Newstream.com, will embed streaming video and audio, live Webcasts, photographs, corporate graphics and logos, PowerPoint slide shows, and spreadsheets in news releases. The service will be marketed and sold to clients of both Business Wire and Medialink, and is scheduled to launch this fall.

The companies estimate that Medialink has the potential to reach more than 6,000 online news sites, which will have access to relevant multimedia news releases. The sites will also be able to choose from a menu of content choices, and all multimedia elements will be fully downloadable for online publication. The site will be password protected, but there will be no charge for journalists to access the information. Newstream.com will charge the companies for which they post or produce information.

The larger, privately held Business Wire, which has a sales staff of nearly 100 professionals in 26 offices in the U.S. and an international hub, expects its 1999 billings to be $100 million. Medialink, currently trading as MDLK on Nasdaq, has a sales staff of 26, plus production and media relations staff, in 10 U.S. offices, with international operations based in London. Medialink reported 1998 revenues of $40 million, a 48 percent increase over the previous year.

Each company will provide an initial investment of $2 million for the joint venture, and revenues will be equally split. Newstream.com will be operated by a soon-to-be-named management team, consisting of some outside hires (with two rumored to be "heavyweights" in the broadcast area) and others from both companies.

Merrill Lynch Television, the first charter content contributor to the new portal service, is serving as a participating consultant during the current beta phase. Its content will include daily financial analysis and commentary in streaming video. It will provide elements of its Global Investor Network and segments from the World Business Report. A number of online editors and journalists are also participating in the beta testing.

The new venture with Business Wire vastly expands and renames the portal announced by Medialink on June 18 (http://www.medialink.com). Working with Business Wire takes advantage of joint Web expertise as well as complementary strengths and client bases, and accelerates each company's Internet initiatives. Medialink's existing consumer content currently available at http://www.newstream.com will migrate to a new consumer-oriented element of Medialink.com, the company's home page.

"From the dawn of the Internet age, Business Wire and Medialink have been on parallel paths of innovation," said Lorry I. Lokey, president and founder of Business Wire. "Our company has taken news release delivery into the multimedia world with our Smart News Release, at the same time that Medialink has developed cutting-edge solutions for Web-related audio, video, and photographic news."

Dan Savio, public relations manager for Business Wire, called the venture a "natural synergy" between two premier information providers. "Newstream.com has been created to fulfill the hunger expressed by the online news community. They have a 24x7 schedule to fill and we will provide them that in a multimedia format one that delivers a more animated, comprehensive news message."

For more information, visit http://www.newstream.com, http://www.medialink.com, and http://www.businesswire.com.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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