Carlton Communications and Granada are investing a total of pounds
40 million to set up a UK version of internet search engine Ask
The US site, based around a cartoon butler, is popular because it allows
users to type questions in everyday English and receive a list of relevant
Carlton and Granada have formed a joint venture to create the UK version,
each investing pounds 20 million in cash and promotional ad space. The
site is set to go online early next year.
Revenues will be generated through e-commerce and advertising. A spokesman
for Carlton said it was not yet known whether the venture would have a
standalone sales team or appoint an online sales house.
Carlton will use Ask Jeeves to offer a search service to its customers via
its www.carlton.com website and the ONdigital interactive TV service.
Granada believes the site is a natural fit with its internet entertainment
Carlton’s chief executive Steven Cain said the deal represented ’another
step forward in our plan to develop online operations’.
Carlton has rapidly built an online presence since establishing Carlton
Online in April 1998. Carlton Online now has three sites - games site
Jamba, movie review service Popcorn and Simply Food - as well as a 20 per
cent stake in online recruitment agency PeopleBank. It recently
confirmed that it expects to double its staff to more than 90 by March
(Media Business, 29 November).