Allied funds gay on-line service

Allied Domecq is funding an on-line service for lesbians and gay men developed by new media consultancy CHBi.

The “bulletin board” service, Planet Patrol, will offer users access to a range of publications, what’s on and other information, plus networking services via computer and modem link.

Although not directly connected to the Internet, it will also offer users Internet access and email facilities. Software to access the bulletin board will be distributed free on floppy disc in London next month.

The idea came from Allied Domecq’s internal project group, ADVenture, which was set up last year to explore new developments which could affect any part of Allied Domecq’s business, says development director Alison Jarvis.

“We identified three key areas to be explored: Generation X and post-Generation Xers; new technology; and the gay market,” she says. “It quickly became evident there was an overlap.”

Branding for Allied products has been incorporated into the service which will include a Beefeater Guide to London and Carlsberg Ice and Elephant Beer sponsoring arts-related pages.

“Our aim is to establish a dialogue with a sector we have previously had no contact with,” says Jarvis. “I would describe Planet Patrol as a cross between a magazine and a community centre – somewhere to sit down and have a coffee and meet new people, but in cyberspace.”

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