Pasadena-based DotTV, a hatchling of the Idealab incubator, will announce Aug. 21 that it has sold three of its new dot-tv Internet addresses for $100,000 apiece, company officials confirmed. Those prices, the most expensive deals to date for DotTV, were registered at auction for www.Free.tv, www.China.tv and www.Net.tv. The registrants signed two-year contracts with an option to renew after the second year, and have agreed to pay $100,000 the first year and an additional 5 percent each year thereafter.
Additional details of the deals, including the identities of the purchasers, were not available last week.
However, DotTV officials said that they have already sold tens of thousands of dot-tv addresses, after just a few months in business. Nearly half of the company's name registrants are from outside the United States, and many registrants are from outside the entertainment industry.
"We're seeing this cut across many markets, from companies who want to tell the world that they have rich, engaging television-like content of the future," said Craig Frances, the company's chief operating officer.
Already up and running are Baseball.tv, an interactive netcasting site devoted to baseball; HSX.tv, the online television and radio site of the Hollywood Stock Exchange; Billabong.tv, a site devoted to skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding; and Emmys.tv, the site devoted to the awards show that was previously located at www.Emmys.com.
"That shows you the range of people who are adopting 'dot-tv,'" Frances said. "It's a natural home for broadcasters, but the Web is turning to streaming video and broadband. So it can stand for anyone who has rich, engaging content."
Nonetheless, the dot-tv suffix is particularly desirable as a Web address for companies in the television business. DotTV sells the rights to use these names for anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 for a yearlong registration. Annual registrations for many addresses are auctioned off on the DotTV Web site (.
DotTV in April paid $50 million to the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu for rights to the Internet domain suffix "dot-tv" for the next 10 years. Individual nations have been awarded their own suffixes to distinguish their Web operations, but some nations with particularly distinctive suffixes like Tuvalu's "tv" have licensed the rights to American companies which in turn are licensing the suffixes to others, for a fee.
To market its service in a cost-effective way, DotTV gave the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences the right to the www.Emmys.tv address for free, in exchange for which the academy will promote the site during the Emmy Awards telecast on Sept 10.
DotTV has agreed to similar deals with other major broadcasters as well.
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