EMAP Radio and EMAP Online have launched a network of Websites aimed at promoting the media company’s Big City Network of radio stations across Northern England. The sites (www.airefm.com, www.hallamfm.com, www.key103fm.com, www.metrofm.com, www.radio city967.com) aim to provide aggregated local information and promote EMAP Online’s existing portfolio of online ticket purchasing and holiday e-commerce sites.

The Press Association has launched a live news subscription service on the Internet. PA NewsFile (www.pa.press.net/newsfile) gives subscribers direct personalised access to the national news agency’s newswire, which delivers a continuous stream of stories, alerts and data to UK newsrooms. Mark Hird, PA’s director of new media, says: “PA NewsFile is the first of a number of new Web-based subscription and transactional services scheduled for introduction this year.”

Free-PC, the US company which offers customers free personal computers in return in exchange for onscreen advertising and direct marketing data, is reported to be considering a UK launch later this year following the roll-out of its service in the US.

Channel 4 Schools has launched a revamped Website designed by online marketing agency E-Marketing. The site now includes an e-commerce facility and a detailed, searchable database of programmes and resources (www.channel4.com/schools).

Entertainment Express (www. entexpress.com), the merchandising site owned by the Kingfisher Group which sells CDs, videos and multimedia products online, has rehired new media agency NETTEC to handle the next phase of development of its site. “The upgrade will support Entertainment Express’ increasing online marketing activities and promotional campaigns, including links to portals such as LineOne, megastar and lastminute.com,” says a NETTEC spokesman.

Intel, the computer chip manufacturer, is among the backers of the enba Internet-based financial services venture which will launch in Dublin late this year. Other backers of the start-up include Apax Partners & Co, Invision AG and Vertex.

Excite (excite.com) has been appointed the preferred search engine partner to Microsoft-owned portal site network MSN in all territories outside the US.

Razorfish UK, the new media agency, has been appointed to develop a Website for Paramount Comedy Channel. The station is 75 per cent owned by US parent Paramount Pictures and 25 per cent owned by BSkyB.

InteResource, the London-based company, is to open its first international office, launching an operation in Sydney on April 1 1999.

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