Corus starts on new venture

Corus Entertainment, a burgeoning Toronto-based media company, has partnered with four U.S. broadcasters on a venture that promises to help the companies' radio stations extend their presence to the Net - without obliterating their local appeal....

Corus Entertainment, a burgeoning Toronto-based media company, has partnered with four U.S. broadcasters on a venture that promises to help the companies’ radio stations extend their presence to the Net – without obliterating their local appeal.

The new entity, dubbed the Local Media Internet Venture (LMIV), will provide the stations – which typically haven’t had the money or technological wherewithal to present a professional image on the Net – with a technology and content template that will allow them to leverage their individual brands and consumer relationships online.

The announcement comes as dedicated Web broadcasters such as Iceberg Media.com (see story, this page) try to establish a dominant position in the streaming media industry.

‘We’ve seen more action from Internet-only radio companies up until now. At long last, radio people are putting their steak in the sandwich,’ says Deborah Beatty, director of business development for Corus Interactive.

Together, Corus and its co-venture partners Bonneville International, Emmis Communications, Entercom Communications and Jefferson Pilot represent over 200 radio stations, with a combined audience of more than 37 million. Corus itself owns 49 radio stations in Canada, including Toronto-based Edge 102, in addition to a host of specialty TV services.

While the venture will create a multi-national network of local Web sites, Beatty says the overarching structure won’t be obvious.

‘The individual brands will drive this – you’ll have no idea it is part of a bigger network,’ she says. ‘People have tried to establish umbrella brands, but it doesn’t mean anything to consumers. We have strong brands we want to leverage on the Internet – we don’t want to create another brand to wrap around that.’