Netscape adds new content partners for push client

Netscape has announced that 16 new publishers will provide content for Netcaster, a component of the Communicator Web client that receives Web content pushed to users via channels. Among the publishers are Charles Schwab, Kaplan Educational Centers, Knight-Ridder, and Sesame Street. Early adopters will be able to download a beta of Netcaster next week.

Netscape has announced that 16 new publishers will provide content for Netcaster, a component of the Communicator Web client that receives Web content pushed to users via channels.

Among the publishers are Charles Schwab, Kaplan Educational Centers, Knight-Ridder, and Sesame Street.

Users can subscribe to the publishers' channels from a Channel Finder feature in Netcaster.

A beta version of Netcaster is available to developers who have access to the DevEdge portion of Netscape's Web site. Netscape says a public beta will be available next week, and the final version of Communicator is expected the week of June 9.

The additional publishers are part of Netscape's endeavors to build a following for Netcaster before Microsoft delivers the final versions of its Internet Explorer browser, which contains push technology features based on the Channel Definition Format (CDF).

Microsoft is proposing CDF to the World Wide Web Consortium in an attempt to establish it in the market as a de facto standard. The company is expected to announce more developments Wednesday on its push initiatives.

Although many of the publishers currently signed up to support Netcaster have consumer audiences, Netscape is planning to add new services aimed at business users and IT managers, says Jennifer Bailey, a vice president of marketing at Netscape.

Examples of the kinds of services that Netscape is considering are Lexis/Nexis searches and Dun & Bradstreet financial information. Netscape is also considering adding information of interest to vertical industry segments, such as the medical industry, Bailey says.

Netscape's broader plan is to turn its Web site's high traffic volume into an increasing source of revenue.

Netscape is likely to provide an aggregated overview of its publishing partners' information. If users want more in-depth information, they will click through to the publishers' Web sites, Bailey says.

Netscape would derive revenue from directing traffic to its partners' sites, but theanticipated amount has not been specified.

This approach is distinct from Microsoft's strategy with the Microsoft Network, which provides original content and therefore competes with its publishers, Bailey says.

Netscape envisions a standard format that lets users fill in one form regarding their news preference. That form could then be used by all Web publishers, and users would be able to specify which fields of information a particular site could access, and which would remain locked, Bailey says.

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