The future of the troubled internet venture, LineOne, has been
secured after its remaining two partners this week committed to
investing pounds 12 million in the company.
The move by United News & Media and BT comes two weeks after their joint
partner, News International, pulled out of the free web service. Last
week, NI launched its own dedicated service, currantbun.com.
Industry observers had speculated that LineOne would close after the
announcement of redundancies, the switch from a paid-for to a free
service, and the loss of NI, which co-founded the service with BT two
NI has hired LineOne’s marketing director, Susan Boster, and its product
director, Christopher Lloyd, to be co-directors of its new internet
division, News International Digital Publishing. Boster has been
replaced at LineOne by Rene Moolenaar, who joins from the United New
Media unit, where he was marketing director.
Andrew Burke, the managing director of LineOne, said: ’The pounds 12
million is to take us from where we are now to being one of the top free
internet services in the country. We have 150,000 subscribers and,
unlike other free services, we have 1.8 million pages of content.’
LineOne will use the investment to overhaul the service, with the aim of
providing internet access for other brands - such as The Express or
United’s TV companies, including Meridian and Anglia - enabling them to
draw on the services LineOne offers, such as community, chat and
LineOne is launching an integrated campaign to promote the overhaul
through OgilvyOne, which was appointed in the wake of Mustoe Merriman
Herring Levy’s resignation earlier this year.