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@Home ties in Bloomberg content

The cable modem service announces financial news service Bloomberg will become the principal financial information source for its "Finance Channel."

In a move underscoring the effort of Net access providers to combine higher speeds with content, cable provider @Home (ATHM) announced today that financial news service Bloomberg will become the principal financial information source for its "Finance Channel."

In the nascent Net access market, analysts have noted that faster connections are not enough to lure "newbies" to a given service. With online services such as America Online offering access plus content and community, higher-speed services such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber lines) are continually turning to content to lure new customers.

"This agreement marks the first time consumers can access Bloomberg professional information from their homes for free," said @Home spokeswoman Lauren Meller. "@Home subscribers will be able to access financial information in the form of high-quality audio, video, and data distribution from one place."

Under the terms of the deal, Bloomberg and @Home's channel will focus mainly on personal finance, with news and analysis delivered through text, graphics, and video clips. @Home users will be able to monitor their investment portfolios and access historical data, analysts' earnings estimates, company news, and financial reports, according to Bloomberg.

Another aspect of the deal involves @Work--@Home's business division--providing hosting, caching, and replication services to Bloomberg, designed to help deliver streaming multimedia applications in a timely manner. Bloomberg also said it is looking into joint marketing deals with @Work, such as referring Bloomberg clients to @Work for commercial Net access and offering @Work telecommuting solutions to Bloomberg employees.

"This is the most extensive content agreement we have ever done in the financial arena," Tom Jermoluk, chairman and chief executive of @Home Network, said in a statement.

Analysts have been tracking closely the penetration of Net access via cable and DSL--in which the connection is provided via copper wires--in trying to gauge which will come out on top. Market watcher Kinetic Strategies has predicted that there will be 200,000 subscribers to two-way cable modem service in North America by the second quarter of this year, and more than 1 million by mid-1999.

On the other hand, researcher the Pelorus Group has predicted that DSL will generate $1.5 billion in revenue by 2001 in the United States and $2.9 billion worldwide, as telcos and others have jumped on the technology as an alternative to cable.