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BSkyB denies AOL Net TV jibes

BSkyB today denied the marketing deal with AOL could lead to Internet TV but hopes it will boost subscribers, particularly to its Digital TV service.
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

Despite obvious conlusions being drawn from a cross-marketing agreement with AOL, Sky spokesman, Andrew Sholl said there are no plans to bring the two mediums together in the near future. "We are not going to run the Internet on the TV," he said.

The deal between AOL and BskyB will see cross promotion of the two services. AOL will use Sky news and sports coverage on its Web site and "Sky personalities" will appear on its celebrity chat channel. In return AOL will be promoted on Sky TV, its Web site and consumer guides. Full details of this are not yet available.

From Sky's point of view the deal means more customers to Sky Digital. "AOL has about 1 million users in the UK and hopefully some will buy digital TV," said Sholl. Since its launch in October, Sky digital has attracted 350,000 subscribers.

Sky Digital is due to launch its own interactive platform in the autumn. Available for Sky Digital TV subscribers only, the platform is called Open, and will offer a range of interactive services including banking, shopping, and e-mail. Yesterday it was announced Argos, Somerfield and Dixons are to join the raft of high-street names who will sell goods on the Open platform.

Neither company could confirm or deny whether Sky customers would gain free Net access as part of the deal.

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