TV network NBC has abandoned its foray into the world of online portals, with the news that it is to close its internet venture NBCi.

The move involves the buy-back of all 61.4% of the web unit’s shares which NBC does not already own, at a cost of around $85 million.

Network executives blamed the portal's closure on the collapse of ad revenue following the dotcom downturn and a widespread retreat from online marketing among advertisers in general. “Only top tier portal services are even close to being profitable,” revealed the unit’s chief executive Will Lansing. NBCi made a net loss of $661m last year, axing one-third of its workforce in January [WAMN: 19-Jan-01].

Following Disney’s decision to abandon [WAMN: 30-Jan-01], the collapse of NBCi provides further evidence that attempts by media groups to build portals which can compete with the likes of Yahoo! and MSN have failed. NBC’s website will now act solely as a promotional vehicle for its TV operations.

News source: Financial Times