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PointCast to push new networks

PointCast is rolling out ten new networks for ten key industries such as banking, legal, and telecommunications to help users find their way through online "data smog."

PointCast announced it is rolling out ten new networks for ten key industries, such as telecommunications, legal, and real estate, the latest attempt to help users sort through the plethora of information on the Net.

The company contends that its new strategy will help curtail what it calls "data smog." PointCast is offering online editions, dubbed Industry Insiders, for these industries: aerospace, automotive, banking, consumer markets, health care, legal, real estate, telecommunications, and state and local governments. The government and health care networks are now available for free downloading from PointCast's Web site; the banking, consumer markets, legal, real estate and telecommunications editions will be out by the end of the year. Aerospace and automotive categories will be available in the first quarter of next year.

"Industry Insiders let businesspeople in particular vertical industries track competitors, monitor industry trends, and stay on top of relevant industry news--alongside their general, business, and internal company news," said PointCast chairman Chris Hassett in a statement.

The new networks will be codeveloped with professional service firms and content providers, such as KPMG, Coopers & Lybrand, and Realtor.com, among others.

In addition, PointCast will call on the industry to adopt a standard measuring stick to record how many people are actively viewing their Web pages, who they are, how long they are viewing the pages, and what they see. The "Metrics That Matter" campaign is sure to spark industry controversy, because there is no standard way of measuring Web page viewing.

PointCast will insist on third-party audits. It is relying on an audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. It shows 1.1 million "unique active viewers" of the network in August, according to the company. The audit, PointCast claims, verifies the numbers and the process of recording them.