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Internet

Broadcast.com aims for office users

Cofounders Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban tell conference attendees they are looking to grab eyeballs at work.

SAN FRANCISCO--It's all in the office.

That's what Broadcast.com cofounders Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban told an audience today at Business Week's "Digital Economy" conference.

And naturally, the founders of the Web streaming site predicted that their company would emerge as the leader in the new phase of the Internet's evolution. As they see it, text-based communication dominated the first phase and in the second phase, audio and video will rule.

Broadcast.com's ability to tap into an audience that accesses it at work will serve it well during this second phase, they said.

Television networks primarily cultivate their viewing audience during off-work hours. Broadcast.com, for its part, has set its sights on audiences accessing their service any time of the day, and especially while at work, said Todd Wagner, the company's chief executive.

The past couple of decades have seen an explosion in consumer programming choice through cable television, but Wagner noted that the Internet opens up a new frontier of options for users.

"This changes the rules," he said. "It's not about 50 channels, it's about 5,000--50,000."

Indeed, the company started by Wagner and college friend Cuban has generated a significant audience base that led to an explosive initial public offering in July. The stock price tripled at one point during trading.

With the IPO hurdle out of its way, the company is maintaining its focus on audience growth and trying to increase its appeal to businesses needing to use their technology for intercompany communications.

Nonetheless, Wagner gave the audience a blunt reality check on Web survival.

"If you're not an aggregator, you die," said Wagner. "If you don't have traffic, you die."