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MTV wants its NeoPets

By Times Staff
Published June 21, 2005


Neopets.com is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing Web sites among youth.

From about 90,0000 members five years ago, Neopets has grown to about 25-million members today - 60 percent of whom are older than 13 - who create and care for "virtual pets" that inhabit a mythical world called "Neopia," which has its own geography, pet species and games.

And that growth is why MTV Networks on Monday said it acquired NeoPets Inc., owner of Web site, for an undisclosed sum.

"The combination of NeoPets and Nick.com gives us a one-two punch leadership position in the online entertainment space among kids and young adults," said Herb Scannell, vice chairman of MTV Networks and president of Nickelodeon Networks.

Neopets chairman and chief executive Doug Dohring said aligning with MTV will expand the Neopets brand offline into television, movies and publishing. Dohring said the site's original characters offer "tremendous opportunity for creative innovation."

Stay the night, earn some stock

Forget shampoo and chocolates: Jameson Inns Inc. is going to reward loyal customers with shares of its stock. The Securities and Exchange Commission staff has approved Jameson's plan to register 3-million shares for distribution to frequent travelers.

Jameson owns and operates about 100 economy hotels under the Jameson name in the Southeast and 23 Signature Inns in the Midwest. Guests who enroll in the program would have 10 percent of their room charges credited toward the purchase of Jameson stock, now trading near $2.50 a share. Customers won't pay commissions on shares they receive, but will pay fees on shares they sell.

Other chatter

THEY'VE REDUCED KEYBOARD CLUTTER:

For those of you you think QWERTY was cute, but now passe, Metadot Corp. is hawking a standard computer keyboard with blank keys. The company dubbed the product Das Keyboard, and company president Daniel Guermeur said the target buyers are ubergeeks - those for whom geekiness is a source of pride. The keyboard sells for $79.95 at www.DasKeyboard.com

NO SMOKING FOR STUDENTS IN MAGAZINES:

If only this had happened in time to save Greg Brady. Tobacco ads in school library editions of Time, Newsweek , People and Sports Illustrated will be eliminated under a nationwide agreement announced Monday. In 2003, publishers and tobacco companies reached an agreement to ban tobacco ads from classroom editions of the magazines, but many school libraries do not subscribe to the classroom editions. Diana Pearson o f Time said the deal will "offer tobacco companies the opportunity to remove or edit their advertisements" in the magazines at no cost.

[Last modified June 21, 2005, 02:30:30]


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