US Report: Netcenter beefs up content

Netscape Communications Corp. plans to announce Thursday a number of new content deals for its Netcenter Web site, part of its drive to attract a wider audience for the site.

"These new channels differentiate Netcenter in a few ways," said Jerrell Jimerson, Netcenter's vice president of consumer programming. "First... we've put the things that people care about... at the top of the channel, so you don't have to dig down to get to the basics. And we've done a lot of work on the design front, so these things work well for the particular people that use them."

On Wednesday Netscape announced new services and content for its international sites, including new partnerships with such companies as Excite Inc. and Lycos Europe. Netscape is revamping two of its content categories, Entertainment and Kids and Family. New partners for Entertainment include Entertainment Tonight Online and Rolling Stone Network. The Family channel will contain content from Children's Television Workshop, Ask Jeeves Inc., BabyCenter, the Headbone Zone,, MaMaMedia, and

The revamped categories replace channels Netscape licensed from Excite. While the company did not release financial details, Netscape characterised the deals as a distribution arrangement -- where the content providers pay Netscape for the additional exposure they will receive. Each arrangement also contains elements of a licensing agreement, and each deal is different from the next.

Netcenter has become central to Netscape's business plan as the company's server and browser markets have fallen prey to competition from Microsoft and other companies. The Netcenter site has an audience comparable to such sites as Yahoo! and Excite, but critics point out that much of that traffic springs from Netscape's popular Web browser, Navigator.

Navigator has recently lost market share to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.


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