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Internet

Broadcasters behind the Net

Two leading Internet vendor groups will form an alliance to speed up the use of the Net as a mass broadcast medium.

Predicting that 250 million pairs of eyeballs will be tuned to the Internet by the year 2000, two leading Internet vendor groups will form an alliance on Monday to speed up the use of the Net as a mass broadcast medium.

Stardust Technologies' IP Multicast Initiative and the International Webcasting Association have agreed to collaborate on a series of educational initiatives. Their members include companies such as Microsoft, Netscape, NBC, CBS, and Cisco Systems.

"The results of this cooperation will be an Internet that is enhanced to provide interactive television services [and] customized radio and audio signals originating and received by users around the world on demand," said Peggy Miles, president of Washington-based Intervox Communications and cochair of the International Webcasting Association, in a statement.

The educational initiatives will include a summit this summer titled "Worlds Collide" to discuss how the Internet is changing broadcasting. The group also will release a series of white papers on how to succeed in Internet mass broadcasting through technologies such as Webcasting, multicasting, netcasting, narrowcasting, and push technology.

This kind of deal is becoming more commonplace. Last month, for example, NBC and Microsoft struck a deal to broadcast business news over the Internet. This week, Walt Disney bought a "significant stake" in Starwave and is launching a real-time news site at ABCNews.com.

Internet broadcasting will be a major theme of the National Association of Broadcasters conference, which will be held next week in Las Vegas.