Peacock Online Again
NBC takes stake in startup service Intertainer
By Richard Katz and Dan Cox,
Variety - Tuesday August 4, 1998
NBC continued on its aggressive new media investment spree by
agreeing to purchase a stake in Intertainer Inc., a startup online
service that provides on-demand entertainment programming to
personal computers and cable systems.
NBC and sister company GE Capital agreed to invest $3 million for a
stake of 6% stake in the privately held Intertainer. The two companies
have options to buy up to 19% of Intertainer for about $75 million in
the next 18 months.
The deal marks Intertainer's first foray into TV programming. The
service already has arrangements with every film studio in Hollywood,
except Paramount, providing for the delivery of on-demand feature
films over cable lines. The NBC deal will allow patrons to choose TV
programs on demand as well.
TV on demand
"The NBC deal means another very important partner for us that
brings a whole different set of assets to the table," said Jonathan
Taplin, who co-founded and co-created the service with Richard
Baskin. "It allows us to do TV on demand, which has never been done
In addition, an NBC representative will join Intertainer's 11-member
board of directors.
As part of the agreement, NBC will also provide programming it owns
to Intertainer. News programs such as "Dateline" might be available
soon after they are broadcast, but Intertainer will get only
entertainment programs from past seasons, so as not to anger
NBC's affiliate stations.
NBC's affiliate stations have been pressuring the network for the
exclusive rights to NBC's programs. The stations believe that if
NBC's shows, such as "ER", air elsewhere, they have less value to
The fledgling Intertainer will be available to consumers via their PC's
or TV's beginning in the third quarter of 1998. Initially, this distribution
will be provided via two of its existing partners, Comcast Corp. and