IQ News: bits

Sandler New Media and Digital Brands, both New York, last week announced their intention to merge, forming a yet-unnamed new media strategy and consulting firm serving at least five clients, including Starbucks, BMG Entertainment and Rodale Press. Last year’s billings for Sandler New Media were some $500,000, according to Susan Sandler, president. George Aposporous, Digital Brands president, said his company earned nearly $1 million in 1996. Sandler will head up the new company. Aposporous will retain a minority investment and a seat on the company’s board, but will leave to join online bookseller as vp, director of business development, sources said.

ABC Television Networks has licensed Santa’s Home Page, an America Online Greenhouse Networks Christmas site. The network is expected to produce a half-hour Christmas special for the 1997 season based on the online content. Penguin Books has also licensed Santa’s Home Page for a book to be published this year.

Salon Internet ( has signed a deal with United Feature Syndicate to distribute its online content to newspapers for both print and online publication.

SonicNet ( has plans to launch a syndicated daily music news service called SonicNet Music News. PointCast, The Hub, America Online and Yahoo! have signed on. The company hopes to license the service to radio, as well. Separately, SonicNet is preparing international music news sites; Japan will be among the first to launch.

Jed Savage, former senior vp, sales, at Juno Online, has joined CBS Sportsline as vp, sales. Savage and Bob Cherins, executive vp at Juno, said the break was amicable.

wReader’s Digest-owned Internet directory LookSmart, Melbourne, Australia, has signed a deal with AltaVista to use the search engine’s software on its site, although the AltaVista brand will not appear on LookSmart. Separately, LookSmart inked a deal with Netscape to add its directory to the browser site’s home page.

WavePhore Inc., Phoenix, has agreed to acquire Paracel Online Systems, a developer of Web-based desktop delivery systems, for some $9 million. The deal will allow WavePhore to deliver Newscast, its corporate news delivery system, to corporate clients.

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