CyberCash will announce today that Web site ‘SportsZone’, a joint venture of Walt Disney and Starwave Corp, will begin offering online visitors the option of paying a daily $1 access fee via the ‘CyberCash Wallet’ and ‘CyberCoin’ service. The ‘SportsZone’ is a major Web site pulling in an estimated three million visitors a day. The service currently charges a monthly or annual subscription fee. CyberCash will also announce today the official launch of its ‘Digital Newstand’, a new Web service linking together publishers who will sell access to their publications on a daily basis via ‘CyberCoin’. Initial participants include the American Banker, Bloomberg, Quote.com, among others. Both programs represent a major push by CyberCash to grow acceptance of its micropayment service.
ESPNET SportsZone, the world-wide leader in online sports coverage, has teamed with CyberCash, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYCH), the leading developer of software and service solutions for secure financial transactions over the Internet, to provide single-day access to its premium online content beginning today. The deal marks the first time that a subscription-based Web site has made its premium content available on a single-day viewing basis.
Launched in April 1995, ESPNET SportsZone(http://espnet.sportszone.com) contains one of the most popular premium areas on the World Wide Web. Monthly subscriptions cost $4.95 and provide access to a wide range of premium content, including: Real Audio(TM) cybercasts of every NBA game, video highlights, sortable statistics, and expert commentary from ESPN analysts and some of the nation’s most respected sports writers.
Through its agreement with CyberCash, ESPNET SportsZone will provide single-day access to its premium content for as little as $1 per day, using CyberCash’s new electronic coin service CyberCoin(TM). The CyberCoin service enables cash payments for Internet transactions, ranging from 25 cents to $10, with funds drawn from a consumer’s existing bank account or credit card. Designated funds are stored in CyberCash’s Internet Wallet, which can be downloaded from the CyberCash Web site (http://www.cybercash.com).
“SportsZone is one of the few content sites on the Web to succeed with a subscription-based business model,” says Geoff Reiss, vice president of sports publishing at Starwave. “Through our pioneering relationship with CyberCash, we think we can take that subscription model even further by allowing consumers to sample the best of SportsZone one day at a time.”
CyberCash is currently sponsoring a sweepstakes promotion in which the grand prize winners will be offered an all expense weekend trip to a major league baseball game in a city of their choice. An innovation of the CyberCoin technology, every purchase of a Day Pass at the Sportszone site automatically qualifies the customer for entry in the sweepstakes promotion.
“Thousands of consumers log on to Web content sites like SportsZone everyday, but never take the plunge into paying for subscription-based content,” says Bill Melton, CEO of CyberCash. “Being able to sample premium Web content through CyberCoin, without committing to a monthly or yearly subscription, will enable consumers to explore premium content based on impulse, while taking their Internet experience to the next level.”
ESPN Enterprises is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., the worldwide leader in sports. ESPN’s business ventures include: ESPNET SportsZone; destination-based entertainment, including ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk; pay subscription programming; interactive software; ESPN – The Store, opening this fall in Glendale, Calif.; home videos; platinum-selling CDs; and licensed apparel and merchandise.
Starwave Corporation is a leading producer of original interactive programming, providing sports, family and entertainment services to millions of consumers on the World Wide Web. Starwave’s award-winning online services include ESPNET SportsZone, the official sites of the NBA, NFL and NASCAR (all produced in partnership with ESPN) and Mr. Showbiz, Outside Online and Family Planet. Founded in 1993, Starwave is owned by Microsoft co-founder and technology investor Paul G. Allen.
CyberCash, Inc., of Reston Virginia, founded in August 1994, is a leading developer of software and service solutions for secure financial transactions over the Internet. The CyberCash system is designed to allow banks to offer secure Internet payments to their customers. CyberCash works with virtually all financial processing institutions, and is currently working with VISA and MasterCard to develop and implement the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol for online credit card transactions. The company’s initial service, which handles payments using major credit cards, was introduced in April 1995.