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Yahoo ventures further Down Under

Joint venture with Seven Network will combine online, mobile, IPTV businesses for markets in Australia and New Zealand.

Seven Network and Yahoo will combine their online, mobile and Internet Protocol TV businesses in a new joint venture spanning Australia and New Zealand.

The broadcaster and the Internet powerhouse will form a new 50-50 holding company that will own Yahoo Australia and New Zealand, according to a joint statement released Friday. Both companies will combine their online teams to form a 150-person company that will launch with a new name and Web site on Jan. 30.

The agreement mirrors one between Nine Network and Microsoft, which in 1997 formed a similar alliance to create Australia's most popular Web site, Ninemsn.com.au.

Seven will contribute 10 million Australian dollars ($7.5 million) to match the existing development capital in the business. It will also contribute offline promotion through the Seven network and Pacific magazines, as well as Seven's 33 percent stake in mobile software provider M.Net, the companies said.

"Yahoo and Seven have very complementary businesses and brands...This is the best combination to benefit from increased broadband penetration, rich media consumption, and the growing cross-media advertising spend," Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel said in the statement.

Yahoo said it is committed to keeping all local services intact, but will also use content from Seven.

New consumer content will ultimately be available across online, mobile and IPTV in areas such as news, sports, entertainment, TV, games, music and travel, the companies said.

The online properties of both organizations will largely remain the same, the companies said in a conference call Friday, although the broadcaster plans to use Yahoo's registration functionality for its Web site.

Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.