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NBC stakes Mining Company

The network increases its Net interests with a minority stake in, as well as a content partnership with, the Mining Company.

NBC has announced that it is taking a minority stake in the parent of the Mining Company, as well as striking content partnerships with the Mining Company.

As reported yesterday, the deal calls for the Mining Company, a network of special-interest sites, to create new community-type content for NBC. The company's guides will be integrated into NBC Interactive Neighborhood, which features local content categories for NBC affiliates. NBC Interactive Neighborhood was launched last October, and it is another example of the network's push to provide local, not just national, content to compete with both print and online media companies.

"We're going to be providing content to local affiliates through the program," said Jeff Radov, chief financial officer of the Mining Company, confirming the deal. "It's a very nice confirmation of the business that we launched last year."

The Mining Company's guides, who create its special-interest sites, will "significantly help" NBC Interactive Neighborhood build its service, said Martin Yudkovitz, president of NBC Interactive, in a statement.

The television networks are expanding online both to tap a new audience and to protect their own turf. Some of their viewers are migrating to the Web, and they want to make sure they keep them as customers.

NBC Interactive Neighborhood features content from the likes of Microsoft Sidewalk, Infoseek, BigYellow, Preview Travel, and Auto-by-Tel. It also offers entertainment and news from NBC.com.

Like NBC, ABC and CBS also are beefing up their online offerings. As previously reported, CBS plans to launch its 24-hour online news service on February 2, offering links to network news through its local affiliates.

ABC News Internet Ventures yesterday began offering a new affiliate online network called ABC Local Net. By partnering with sites such as ABCnews.com and ESPN SportsZone, the network will offer ABC stations a "new way to complement their local information," ABC said in a statement.

In some cases, such as the NBC-Mining Company deal, networks are buying stakes in Internet companies. ABC's parent Walt Disney Company has bought a minority stake in Starwave as part of its online strategy.