Wavo Corp. has announced that it has officially changed its name from WavePhore Inc. The name change was approved at its annual shareholders meeting in Phoenix on May 25. The company thus adopts what has been its trading symbol on Nasdaq, WAVO. The company simultaneously launched its new corporate Web site at http://www.wavo.com. Wavo partners with leading information providers of news, data, and programming, and provides services that aggregate, customize, and distribute digital content, using a range of broadcast, satellite, and Internet-based delivery systems.
"In the past year we completed a wave of important acquisitions, entered into new partnerships, and introduced new products that leverage our strengths and help to position us as a leading Internet company," said David E. Deeds, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Wavo Corp. "To complement our internal consolidation of existing products and technologies with our new acquisitions we have proposed a simplification of our name and have also adopted a new corporate tagline to summarize what we do: Moving Media. This term speaks to our strengths in providing both content and delivery."
Like other information industry companies, Wavo has had to make a transition to being a provider of Internet-based subscription and fee service products, and, like other Net companies, it operates in the red, primarily due to research and development expenses and acquisitions. The company acquired WavePhore Labs, Inc. in May of 1998 and eWatch, Inc. in November of 1998. It has been integrating the products and services acquired and is adding product offerings to its online news delivery service in the business-to-business market. It is also investing to enhance the features of its existing products.
The company also announced the availability of the beta release of Wavo NewsPak (http://www.newspak.com). NewsPak enables easy integration of pre-licensed streaming real-time news, selected from more than 70 industry categories, into Web sites. NewsPak delivers news content from 34 top sources generating more than 2,000 stories a day. The product will be marketed mainly for corporate intranets, extranets, and portals.
Content providers include PR Newswire, which distributes full-text news releases for public relations and investor relations professionals worldwide, and COMTEX Newsroom, which provides products aggregated from many wire and information services. NewsPak will also support many premium content partners as well, including existing agreements a customer might have.
NewsPak includes both real-time news feeds and the NewsPak Software Developers Kit (SDK), which is based on XML. The SDK contains the tools necessary for Web site owners to accept a real-time streaming XML news feed from Wavo, store extracted content on their local server, then display this content in a style consistent with the rest of their site. The NewsPak architecture supports such enhancements as Internet broadcasting of streaming audio and video. The product is expected to be out of beta and generally available sometime in July. News will be available for subscription at a cost of $500 per month for each group of 5 selected industry categories, plus $1,000 for the server software.
According to the company, NewsPak will deliver most of the major North American news feeds in the two open XML formats defined by the XMLNews initiative. These include XMLNews-Story for content and XMLNews-Meta for metadata. Both formats are compatible with open industry standards, such as RDF (Resource Description Format) and NITF (News Industry Test Format). They can also be processed with any XML-enabled software. In addition, news story metadata items are presented in a single, standardized format, but original vendor-supplied metadata tags are available as well, all appropriately identified in the XML file.
"XML is changing the fundamental nature of news and information delivery over the Internet," said Deeds. "The wide variety of formats and delivery mechanisms introduced in the past by news publishers defined a mission for WavePhore: aggregate, normalize, and redistribute news in a standard format that makes adding news to any Web site easy and inexpensive."
Beta testers for NewsPak include more than 300 companies that are developing a wide range of applications, from enterprise-wide news delivery to providing news to customers on corporate Web sites. CCBN.com (Corporate Communications Broadcast Network), a provider of Web-based solutions to the Investor Relations market, is one of the beta testers. "NewsPak allows us to easily add company-specific news to the more than 500 Web sites we manage for our clients, which brings to their site more users who come back again and again," said Rob Adler, president of CCBN.Com. "With NewsPak, we can keep our sites current for our clients' shareholders, while keeping our operating costs down so our clients get an affordable service."
NewsPak is touted as the latest release in Wavo's "premier suite of Internet-driven broadcasting solutions," and one that offers site developers a fast way to add content to sites with minimum effort. It avoids the task of negotiating licensing contracts with individual providers and the challenge of processing news from different sources in different formats. Wavo is also partnering with large Web development houses and training them as NewsPak resellers.
NewsPak builds on a previous product that was introduced a year earlier, but each addresses a different need in the marketplace. NewsCast Access offered a way to "infosource" a corporate intranet with customized business information, with content residing at Wavo. NewsPak offers a news-enabling business model, with local site development requirements, and it moves the content to local servers. It adds standardized tagging of stories and XML delivery, but offers much less content than is available through Access.
Wavo offers a range of information products that compete in the corporate market with various products from LEXIS-NEXIS and NewsEdge. The flagship business intelligence service from Wavo is NewsCast, which delivers real-time business news to corporate subscribers. The basic subscription cost for NewsCast is $25,000 for 100 seats.
A new service, acquired last year, is eWatch, which provides companies with a way to track what is being said about their company and products on the Internet. It monitors Listservs, Usenet groups, online forums, bulletin boards, and Web sites. The company's WaveTop service is a wireless consumer broadcast service medium for delivering entertainment, news, and other information to the home PC user.