Netscape in slew of content deals

The firm partners with an array of content sites to fill out Netcenter's new "Entertainment" and "Kids and Family" channels.

Paul Festa Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Paul Festa
covers browser development and Web standards.
Paul Festa
2 min read
Netscape Communications today announced partnerships with content providers for its Netcenter portal site, a day after announcing enhancements to its international sites.

As reported yesterday by CNET News.com, the partners are the Rolling Stone Network, Entertainment Tonight Online, the Children's Television Workshop, Headbone Interactive, MaMaMedia, and Yucky.com.

Other partners include Women.com, Ask Jeeves, BabyCenter, Hoffman + Associates, and Nickolai.com, Netscape said today. The partners will help fill out Netcenter's new "Entertainment" and "Kids and Family" channels.

After watching its dominance in the browser market diminish in the face of a concerted challenge from Microsoft, Netscape this year decided to enter the portal business that has made competitor Yahoo one of the most successful sites on the Web.

Netscape has been making up for its late entry into the market by devoting its front door to Netcenter, integrating it with the Navigator browser (which still enjoys a plurality market share), and forming content and technology partnerships with dozens of firms, including CNET: The Computer Network, publisher of News.com.

But analysts give the company mixed marks for its portal push, particularly in the consumer market at which today's content deals are aimed. For example, some note that Netcenter's user base is weighted heavily toward people who use the site from work, which will complicate any consumer focus. A study released today shows Navigator staving off Internet Explorer's workplace challenge, increasing its share to 60 percent of surveyed U.S. firms.

More than a quarter of Netscape's revenues come from Netcenter through licensing deals and advertising. The company is expected to rely even more heavily on the portal in the future.

Today's content deals follow announcements made yesterday concerning Netcenter's efforts to broaden its international reach. Netscape is adding local content, Netscape-branded search powered by Excite, and locally provided search and directory information to versions of Netcenter for Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Netcenter also is working with Lycos-Bertelsmann to offer local content channels.

Other countries, regions, and cities with Netcenter sites include Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Latin America, and Taiwan.

"We're enhancing international sites with new content and services to make them into portals," said Steven Reade, a managing director with Netcenter. "We have had sites internationally, but thus far we haven't had the portal services that we've had in the U.S. since launching Netcenter 2.0 at the end of June."

Other services headed for the international sites include Web-based email and personalization.