Bits & Bytes for October 12, 2004

AOL, MSN Debut Music Offerings

America Online released a preview version of its new Music on Demand service, for use on the Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 platform. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s MSN took its music service, MSN Music, out of beta and into general release.

AOL’s Music on Demand gives consumers on-demand access to popular music videos. Users may also access some music content, including original versions of songs produced for AOL. MSN Music is an online music store where people can buy and download music.

Reuters Launches Interactive TV via Internet

Reuters has launched an interactive video news channel to be accessible through Windows XP’s new Media Center Edition. The service, which will begin to show ads early next year, will give consumers access to video news stories from Reuters bureaus throughout the world.

Initially available only in the U.S. market, the news channel will give users access to packaged reports on business and market news. It will also let them watch unedited and natural sound footage of breaking world news. The company says entertainment, fashion and human interest news stories will also be available.

“With analysts predicting that as many as 20 million people will be using Microsofts home entertainment PCs by 2008, this channel offers huge potential to broaden Reuters reach within the consumer market,” said Chris Ahearn, president of Reuters Media. “It offers a unique television news experience, powered by our global news network. Viewers get their own personal news network where they create the newscast and choose the stories that matter most to them.”

Intermix to Acquire Focalex

Intermix Media has agreed to acquire online advertising and affiliate marketing firm Focalex for $4 million in cash and stock.

Intermix, which operates more than 50 Web sites, including and, is expected to use Focalex to better distribute its content and promotions.

“This acquisition allows us to expand the Intermix network beyond its current boundaries by making our proprietary content and Alena product offers available to Focalex’s thousands of affiliate Web sites,” said Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of Intermix. “In addition, we expect to leverage our new advertising team to better monetize Focalex’s existing users with the same branded sponsors we are pursuing for our network.”

When the deal closes, Focalex is expected to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intermix.

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