BBC’s Beeb Ventures worth $360 million
The BBC has created a new subsidiary for its commercial internet operations. Valued at £240 million (us$360 million), Beeb Ventures provides a home for beeb.com, BBC Worldwide’s e-commerce site and freebeeb.net, its internet service provider. American venture capital firm TH Lee Global Internet Managers coughed up £32.5 million (us$50 million) to take a 13.5% interest in the company.
Beeb.com was launched in 1997 as a for-profit online shopping site with links to the BBC’s not-for-profit content site BBC Online. Launched less than a year ago, freebeeb.net provides internet, website and email services.
The new venture is thought to create an identifiable distinction between the commercial and public entities of the BBC. As reported by The Standard, the pubcaster was recently criticized by the British Internet Publishers Alliance for using license fees to establish itself commercially on the internet.
MTVi may return to Viacom
MTV parent company Viacom may see its offspring MTVi return to the nest. A chilly nasdaq market and suspended plans to take the unit public have created speculation around the company’s continued viability as an independent entity. MTVi, which houses mtv.com and vh1.com, is also weathering the loss of several senior players including mtv.com VP Rich Holzman, MTVi senior VP Matt Farber and MTVi head of marketing David Hyman. If MTVi is dismantled, management for mtv.com and vh1.com could fall to their respective TV stations.
NBC Internet announces job cuts
NBC Internet is generating poor revenue levels and has suffered a drop in the price of its stock. The company also announced plans to lay off 170 employees in an effort to cut costs and raise profitability. Business Week attributes NBCi’s troubles to multiple and varied investments that seem to indicate a lack of direction for the unit.