TV Network Gets Search Happy

NBC has partnered with Overture Services to add paid listings to its sites, as the television player overhauls its search function to highlight its own content and commerce offerings.

The newly redesigned search will appear on the company’s NBC.com and BravoTV.com Internet properties. Along with Overture’s paid listings, search pages will display NBC entertainment content, NBC retail and media products, and ShopNBC commerce opportunities. ShopNBC is the company’s home shopping network, which is distributed over satellite networks and on some cable systems.

The television company’s redesign is apparently aimed at better integrating search into its properties and capitalizing on the boom in paid listings. On the NBC pages, three paid listings appear at the top of the results, under the “Sponsored Listings” heading, when Overture can find a match.

According to Jupiter Research, which shares a parent company with this publication, search marketing is set to become a $1.6 billion industry this year, with that number growing to $4.3 billion by 2008.

For Overture, the deal, which spans two years, is another sign it can continue to build its distribution network despite its acquisition by Yahoo Although Overture has run into trouble with two smaller affiliates, Terra Lycos and T-Online, which claim the acquisition creates a conflict of interest, the company recently re-upped a key distribution deal with MSN.

SLI Systems is powering the main search results. The company, in which NBC has a 20 percent stake, offers products that aim to learn from user behavior to improve the relevance of results. The system generates a list of searches related to the keywords the user put in, so the person can get ideas for other searches. The company says its service increases searches and boosts revenues from paid and commercial search programs.

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