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Primedia to use advertising as Net currency

The publisher of targeted consumer magazines, business-to-business periodicals and education titles will use special currencies for expanding its Internet businesses.

Primedia, publisher of targeted consumer magazines, business-to-business periodicals and education titles, plans to create special currencies for expanding its Internet businesses, according to company chief executive Tom Rogers.

"Primedia has excellent multimedia opportunities to expand its consumer and business-to-business brands," Rogers said in a statement. "In order to take full advantage of these opportunities, including attracting new media talent as well as funding the growth of this area...we will be pursuing venture structures that maximize value for shareholders and enable alternatives for raising capital."

One alternative form of currency that has become popular for brokering deals between media companies and online properties is advertising, which Primedia will use to take equity stakes in new media businesses, Rogers said.

CBS is another media company that has used advertising to build a presence on the Web, taking stakes in companies such as Big Entertainment, Medscape, Jobs.com and MarketWatch.com in exchange for promotion across CBS properties.

Primedia's consumer Internet businesses include Seventeen.com, which uses content from Seventeen magazine; Equisearch.com, which focuses on outdoor recreation; and Modernbride.com and Americanbaby.com. In addition, Primedia plans to launch an automotive enthusiast community in the first quarter of 2000.

The company's business-to-business Internet unit, called IndustryClick, includes Digibid.com, which focuses on entertainment technology; Internettelephony.com, which focuses on telecommunications; and MediaCentral.com, a Web site for the media industry.

Separately, Rogers announced today that Michael Jeffrey, an NBC Internet executive, has been named vice president of new media and development for Primedia.