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Yahoo searches for TV niche

Yahoo is the latest Web publisher to bolster its media with TV programming.

Yahoo today became the latest Web publisher to bolster its media offerings with television programming through a partnership with Granite Broadcasting, which operates nine NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliate stations.

In the past year, a number of start-up companies--including CNET--and the forthcoming MSNBC joint venture from Microsoft and NBC--have begun producing online and television programming in concert to leverage their coverage and brand names in both media. A number of established cable TV channels, such as Cable News Network and ESPN, have made similar moves, launching web sites that provide interactive, multimedia variants of their television shows.

But Yahoo's deal with Granite is the first foray by an Internet search engine into the TV space. So far, Yahoo has been the most successful search engine at seeking to expand its media properties by offering regional and demographic versions of its Web site, as well as Yahoo Internet Life and Yahoo Computing , two magazines published by Ziff-Davis.

In the latest Yahoo deal, newscasts on Granite TV stations will use information provided by Yahoo on Web sites relevant to television news stories. Yahoo will also feed Web site information to individual Web sites maintained by the nine Granite stations. Conversely, Granite news shows will provide newscast information to localized versions of Yahoo in U.S. regions.

Granite TV holdings currently include KSEE-TV, Fresno-Visalia, California; WEEK-TV, Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois; KBJR-TV, Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin; WKBW-TV, Buffalo, New York; KNTV-TV, San Jose and Monterey, California; WPTA-TV, Fort Wayne, Indiana; WWMT-TV, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Michigan; WTVH-TV, Syracuse, New York; and KEYE-TV, Austin, Texas.

Besides its flagship English-language Yahoo search engine, the company is developing international versions of the site, including Yahoo Japan, Yahoo United Kingdom, Yahoo France, Yahoo Germany, and Yahoo Canada.

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