PointCast Incorporated, the leading broadcaster of personalized news and information to business consumers, unveiled MarketPlace, a new e-commerce service for PointCast Network viewers. MarketPlace was developed in partnership with Visa, the world’s best way to pay. Through MarketPlace, business consumers can now research and purchase products and services from leading vendors in a variety of product categories. MarketPlace serves as the e-commerce component of PointCast’s redesigned Web-based business resource center, EntryPoint, available today at . MarketPlace is available at .
PointCast today also announced three key relationships with vendors that will be participating in MarketPlace: Amazon.com, a leading online retailer, for comparison and one-stop shopping; Compare.Net, a leading Internet buyer’s guide, for product comparison and research; and Impulse! Buy Network, a leading Internet merchandising service, providing special offers on name-brand products and services. These three technology relationships provide MarketPlace with advanced e-commerce capabilities, allowing enterprise professionals to search for the best price on business-related products and services such as office supplies, computer hardware, travel and more. MarketPlace also offers best buys on cars, books, flowers, gifts and other products.
“PointCast now offers a fully integrated service that business professionals can use as a valuable and useful commerce tool in the office,” said Don Albert, senior vice president of advertising sales and e-commerce at PointCast. “Further, we have gathered a roster of blue chip partners and sponsors to offer our viewers a wide range of premium products and services.”
Advertising sponsors for MarketPlace include Acura, barnesandnoble.com, Compaq, Continental Airlines, Gateway, Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc., Microsoft and Toshiba. In addition to Visa, PointCast’s EntryPoint sponsors include CareerPath.com, cars.com, Datek Online, Snap, U.S. Postal Service and Zip2.
“We have a strong partnership with PointCast, and we’re delighted that MarketPlace will be the first e-commerce destination for PointCast viewers,” said Todd Chaffee, executive vice president, Visa International. “MarketPlace provides purchasers with utility and convenience, allowing them to find the products they need quickly and easily.”
MarketPlace Features Comparison Shopping and Special Offers for PointCast’s Active Online Shoppers and Buyers
MarketPlace allows enterprise professionals to search for the best price and take advantage of special offers on business-related products and services, including Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Electronics, Office Supplies and Travel. MarketPlace also offers comparison shopping and special deals from categories such as Automobiles, Books, Clothing, Department Stores, Flowers & Gifts, Movies & Video, Music and more. Across any of these categories, viewers can benefit from the following special services from Amazon.com, Compare.Net and Impulse! Buy Network:
* Comparison and one-stop shopping: viewers can make more informed purchase decisions through comparison and one-stop shopping. For example, when a viewer selects the “Computer Hardware” category to research a new PC and specifies desired product features, a list will be displayed of corresponding PCs of varying prices from Amazon.com’s network of merchant sites across the Web. The viewer then simply clicks on the desired product to conduct an online transaction.
* Product comparison and research: viewers can access Compare.Net’s database of comprehensive and up-to-date product information on everything from modems to recordable CD players. For example, when a viewer chooses the “Office Supplies” category, Compare.Net allows the viewer to research and compare by price, brand, manufacturer, features, model number and more. Viewers are also able to view classified ads, enter newsgroup discussions on products or click through to online retailers to purchase products.
* Special discount offers: viewers benefit from one-click access to dynamically changing, category-specific special offers from more than 100 merchants participating in Impulse! Buy Network, including barnesandnoble.com, Egghead, Wal-Mart, J. Crew and Land’s End. For example, when a viewer selects the “Computer Software” category of MarketPlace, Impulse! Buy Network will automatically display several special offers on computer software from Egghead, Software.net, CDW and more.
“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to introduce PointCast’s business users to the fun and ease of impulse shopping,” said Mark H. Goldstein, president and CEO of Impulse! Buy Network. “By providing compelling, one-click-buy offers on name-brand products to PointCast viewers, we make online shopping come alive for them.”
The initial results from the 1998 PointCast Viewership Study, conducted by Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI), show that PointCast viewers are active online shoppers and buyers. According to the study, which will be released next month, MRI found the following:
* 60.0% of PointCast viewers shopped for computer software, of which 58.7% made a purchase
* 54.5% of PointCast viewers shopped for computer hardware, of which 43.8% made a purchase
* 74.5% of PointCast viewers shopped for travel services, of which 43.4% made a purchase
* 50.1% of PointCast viewers shopped for books, of which 62.6% made a purchase
New Version of EntryPoint Combines E-commerce with Web-based Business Content
In addition to the new MarketPlace e-commerce service, version 2.0 of PointCast’s EntryPoint business resource center features Web-based business content, complimenting the business content available on the PointCast Network:
* Stock Market Update — a new comprehensive financial news site that lets viewers receive index and interactive performance charts from BigCharts, SEC filings from Edgar Online, market news, brokerage reports and company information from Zacks Investment Research, mutual fund information from Morningstar and more.
* Weather — a new in-depth weather center with content provided by AccuWeather and Weathernews that contains five-day international forecasts, weather reports for 3,000 cities, the ability to search for weather by city name, national weather summaries and breaking news and new maps for travel conditions, flight delays, air quality and pollen counts.
Viewers can also conduct general Web searches via the Snap Internet portal service, or conduct more specific searches such as job search via CareerPath and people search. EntryPoint also offers seamless access to yellow pages, maps and directions via Zip2 and mail/package services from the U.S. Postal Service. Viewers can access EntryPoint by clicking on the “Internet” button from within the PointCast Network Channel Viewer.
PointCast Incorporated was founded in 1992 to provide current news and information services to viewers and corporations via the Internet and corporate intranets. Since PointCast launched the PointCast Network in February 1996, the Company has won more than eighty industry awards and honors, including CNET’s Best Internet Application, PC Magazine’s Technical Excellence award and PC Computing’s Most Valuable Product award. The PointCast Network can be downloaded for free at .Details