Lycos plans Internet TV push

Lycos plans to launch an Internet TV Web site in the third quarter, hoping to grow its audience and reclaim its place as one of the most popular portals.

Lycos will launch in the third quarter a Web site devoted to high-quality, long-form video like full-length movies and television show episodes, as it advances its strategy of attracting users via broadband entertainment content.

Lycos, which used to be one of the most visited Web portals but has seen its popularity shrink, has partnered with PermissionTV, a provider of Internet video platforms, to establish the site's technical foundation.

When it goes live, the site will set itself apart from other video portals by delivering an extremely high, DVD-like image quality and by featuring outstanding content from producers who are knowledgeable about this medium, a Lycos executive said.

"With PermissionTV, we're integrating one of first pieces of technology to let us create a video platform for distribution of high-quality video over the Internet," said Brian Kalinowski, Lycos' chief operating officer.

The site will not follow the model of popular video-sharing sites like YouTube, which are full of amateur clips with often objectionable content delivered with low image quality, he said.

Users can sample what Lycos has in store at the company's World Cup Soccer video site (http:worldcup.lycos.com), which uses the PermissionTV platform.

Lycos is now in the process of signing up content providers, such as TV production houses, movie studios and independent filmmakers, as well as semiprofessional amateurs, he said.

"We're letting the film and video production community know that there is a new place for distributing their content on the Internet," he said.

Lycos envisions having a flexible DRM (digital rights management) system so it can offer content owners various monetization options like subscription fees, advertising revenue, pay per view, download purchases and direct-to-disc transfers, Kalinowski said.

Lycos, a pioneer Web portal, is attempting a comeback by focusing heavily on providing broadband entertainment content. It ranked as the 22nd most popular Web site network in the U.S. in May with almost 25 million unique visitors, according to comScore Networks Inc. By contrast, Yahoo nabbed the top spot with little over 130 million unique visitors. The story was much different in May 1999 when Lycos ranked as the fourth most popular network of sites in the U.S., according to comScore.

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