LineOne gets pounds 12m lifeline from BT and United after NI pulls out

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 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

years ago.



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

personalisation.



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.



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