A&E Networks Book a Travel Partner

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A&E Television Networks will use the Internet to offer consumers vacations inspired by its programming, through a multiyear agreement inked with GeoPassage Corp. and Collette Vacations.

The trips will be available from the new A&E Travel Web site, which should be operational by mid-April, said AETN consumer-products division director of licensing Carrie Trimmer.

On the Web site, users will find plugs for trips to Antarctica and nearby Argentina and Chile, which are related to locales in A&E Network's miniseries Shackleton
(April 7 to April 8).

Although AETN has dabbled in travel offerings through various providers — such as last year's The History Channel partnership with Far&Wide Travel Corp. for "Historic Journeys" — this is the programmer's first comprehensive, multiplatform agreement, Trimmer said.

Upcoming vacation packages will be broader in scope than the prior ones pegged solely to history, she added.

GeoPassage and Collette will handle the fulfillment end of AETN viewers' travel arrangements. AETN will receive an unspecified percentage of the revenues generated, according to Trimmer.

At the outset, the travel site will be backed by ads in Biography
magazine. Full-fledged on-air promotion and other marketing support should follow in June, including program-related signage for A&E Travel at travel agencies and airports, she said.

As to whether AETN or its partners might produce long-form programming, or infomercials touting the travel service, Trimmer said, "That's still to be determined. We'll take baby steps first."

Discovery Networks U.S.-owned Travel Channel offers travel packages and transportation on its Web site, through third parties.

"Vacation packaging is not our core business," said a Travel spokeswoman. "Travel Channel is an entertainment and informational service."

USA Networks still plans to launch a transactional travel service sometime later this year, according to a spokesman.

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