NBC last week announced that it had acquired a minority
equity interest in General Internet Inc., parent company of The Mining Co.
The deal is part of a pact between the two companies to
bring The Mining Co.'s network of more than 500 World Wide Web sites to NBC
Interactive Neighborhood (NBC-IN), a network of locally based Web sites for NBC's
television affiliates across the country.
Scott Kurnit, founder and CEO of General Internet, called
The Mining Co.'s topic-based Web sites 'the quintessential 500-channel cable
Now that the deal with NBC is public, The Mining Co. will
more aggressively pursue similar deals with cable networks, according to Kurnit. 'If
you look at an A&E [Network] or a Discovery Channel,' he said, 'you see that
there are so many Mining Co. sites that relate to them.'
Neither Kurnit nor NBC's vice president of interactive
media, Vincent Grosso, would disclose financial terms of the deal. But Kurnit said
NBC's future equity in The Mining Co. will be based on the traffic flow that NBC-IN
brings to The Mining Co.'s Web sites.
'We've developed a complex but very logical deal
that understands the value of both media companies,' Kurnit said.
Grosso said NBC chose to pursue the deal because 'The
Mining Co. has the best ways to cut through the clutter of the Internet to put a human
face on the content.'
He said he likes the concept of putting a personality
behind the news, just as television does now.
Kurnit said he has spent '98 percent' of his
career in cable television.
'A lot of the elements of The Mining Co. came from my
TV and cable background,' he added.
NBC has been granted an exclusive broadcast-network deal
with The Mining Co., but there is nothing in the contract that would prevent The Mining
Co. from seeking deals with local cable operators. Kurnit said deals with networks, rather
than with local cable operators, would be the more natural arrangement for The Mining Co.