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Yahoo, AudioNet expand deal

The search directory continues the development of its Web-based services by investing in and expanding its relationship with AudioNet.

Continuing the rapid development of its Web-based services, Yahoo (YHOO) today announced an expansion of its relationship with Internet broadcaster AudioNet.

Under the terms of the deal, AudioNet will provide Yahoo with access to its database of Internet programming, which includes both audio and video broadcasts of music, news, sports, and other content. AudioNet will manage and update the broadcast content, which Yahoo users will access through links to cobranded pages.

For the past year, Yahoo has linked to AudioNet broadcasts under Yahoo's NetEvents section. Terms of that deal and also of the expansion announced today were not disclosed.

Yahoo today also announced an investment of $1.4 million in AudioNet, but Yahoo executive producer Tim Brady stressed that the investment and the broadcast deals were "completely separate."

The expansion of the AudioNet deal is the second partnership announced by Yahoo this week. Yesterday, Yahoo announced a $5 million investment in free email and Web page provider GeoCities. (See related story)

These partnerships come as Yahoo, which originated as a search directory, attempts to compete with established online services such as America Online and newer content aggregation sites such as CNET's Snap service. (CNET publishes NEWS.COM.)

In another step toward that end, Yahoo last October acquired online directory and free email provider Four11 for $92 million in stock.

Brady acknowledged that Yahoo's deal with AudioNet is not exclusive. "We'll be the first major site to link to AudioNet, and given our extensive breadth of programming, we'll be able to make use of most all of it. If our competitors try to follow, so be it."

AudioNet recently announced a content agreement with USA Today, which was limited to live college football and basketball coverage.

Yahoo users can look forward to AudioNet links to audio broadcasts in the next few months. No video programming has been scheduled yet.

In related news, longtime Yahoo competitor Lycos is also expanding its Web-based services. The company today announced that online used car dealer AutoConnect will have an exclusive spot on the Lycos Shopping Network.