Digests

Dixons-backed Freeserve, Britain’s leading Internet access provider, has signed a three-year, multimillion pound deal with online merchandiser BOL (www.BOL.com), the new e-commerce venture of German-owned Bertelsmann. The deal guarantees BOL prominent positioning on Freeserve for this week’s UK launch of its bookselling service.

Flextech Interactive is to link with online bookseller Amazon.co.uk, entertainment ticketing service Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk) and music retailer iMVS (www.imvs.com) to develop online retailing for its Website SceneOne (sceneone.co.uk). The site is being developed to launch as an interactive digital TV channel later this year. Flextech Interactive general manager Ashley Highfield says: “As we move through from the Web to interactive TV, we will try to build strategic relationships with more content partners.”

Crunch (www.crunch.co.uk), claimed to be the UK’s first fully licensed MP3 online music store, launches this week. The store offers users the chance to download tracks from a range of 50 releases by UK independent labels for 99p, using the controversial MP3 software platform.

Equator-net (www.equator-net.co.uk), a new travel service aimed at the UK’s estimated 500,000 business travellers, launched late last week. The site, backed by Hamilton Travel, offers access to consolidated fares, accommodation booking facilities and travel news updates. The venture, which will also include a loyalty club and magazine for members, is offering hotel groups, smaller travel agents and associations the chance to affiliate to the service through their own Websites.

CODA Music (www.coda-music.co.uk), the Scottish folk music specialist, has launched an online shopping facility aimed at a global audience. The site launches with a month-long banner advertising campaign on The Scotsman Online home page to reach Scottish expatriates, and on Yahoo.com using targeted key words, phrases, and categories to reach folk enthusiasts worldwide.

The Lord’s cricket Website (www.lords.org) has relaunched with additional content provided by the Press Association, in part of the redesign by London-based new media consultancy the OTHER media. The site, which is the official online service for the England & Wales Cricket Board and the MCC, will also host the official site of the 1999 Cricket World Cup from this month.

Clarity, the online consultancy, has appointed Julie Williams marketing manager as part of an expansion of staffing. Williams will be responsible for day-to-day UK and pan-European marketing, and report to chairman Martin Chilcott and managing director Andrew Skates. She joins Clarity from brand and design consultancy Rodney Fitch & Company.

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