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Streaming cats and dogs on Yahoo

The Web portal giant and Ralston Purina, the producer of pet foods such as Dog Chow and Meow Mix, introduce a new multimedia site offering pet care tips.

Yahoo has gone to the dogs.

The Web portal giant and Ralston Purina, the producer of pet foods such as Dog Chow and Meow Mix, Monday introduced a new multimedia site offering pet care tips. The site, dubbed "Purina TV"--which can be found on Purina's Web site or within Yahoo's pets channel--will stream video and audio clips of experts offering advice and training for pet owners online.

The service highlights Yahoo's attempt to create new ways to promote the products and services of its marketing partners. Yahoo earlier struck "fusion marketing" programs with companies such as Procter & Gamble and Pepsico. In both of these previous agreements, Yahoo created Web sites for product promotions and distributed these sites throughout its network.

It has become crucial for Yahoo to create marketing programs that go beyond advertising banners. Along with most Web media companies, Yahoo has come under scrutiny for exposure to the sagging online advertising market. The company has cut revenue projections twice this year, pummeling its stock and causing upheaval in its management ranks.

Web companies dependent on advertising revenue have come under pressure to give advertisers more bang for their buck. During the heady days of the Internet bubble, Yahoo and other Web portals reaped a bumper crop of advertising dollars from well-funded dot-com start-ups.

The capital market for start-ups has since dried, causing many companies to close their doors. That, in turn, has taken its toll on Web portals. Companies such as Walt Disney's Go.com and NBC's NBCi have dismantled their aggressive portal ambitions. CMGI's AltaVista has shifted away from the game and now focuses solely on Web search technology. Cable Internet service provider Excite@Home has also incurred massive write-offs for the depreciating value of Excite.com, and is rumored to be trying to sell the portal.

Yahoo remains standing as the last independently owned Web portal. Despite its revenue woes and management shake-up, the site continues to be one of the most highly visited on the Internet, along with AOL Time Warner and Microsoft.

The format of Purina TV is similar to that of Yahoo FinanceVision, the company's online financial news service. In this case, viewers are presented with a separate window divided into three sections: one for the video stream, one with text or links to related information, and one containing promotions for Purina products.

Viewers can also choose from a list of topic channels, such as "Puppies and Kittens," "Pet Training," and information about Purina.