The National Broadcasting Co. has introduced a service that will bring live video of breaking news events to the desks of bankers and others in the financial services industry.

The system, called NBC Desktop Video, also will let users retrieve and play videos of business or financial news on demand through their PCs.

NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., worked with several software and telecommunications firms to develop the system, which is apparently the first to combine Dive video and ondemand capability in a Windows environment.

Beating Wire Services

Mike Wheeler, senior vice president and general manager of NBC News Media, said the service is designed to deliver news directly to PCs more quickly than wire services.

The system is aimed at bankers, fund managers, and others who follow financial markets.

Jon Wilkes, vice president of programming for NBC Desktop News, said the new service lets subscribers see and hear news that affects markets live and unedited. The service will offer live coverage of major press conferences, natural disasters, and financial stories.

Mr. Wilkes gave an example of how the service could benefit currency traders:

A Crucial 10 Minutes

"It's a volatile market because there is so much money moving around," Mr. Wilkes said. "It's always determined by global events. If everyone dumps a currency, and you dumped it 10 minutes earlier because you saw it live, you just saved yourself a lot of money."

The NBC Desktop Video service will join a venture begun six months ago by NBC and First Call Corp., a unit of Thomson Financial Services, which also owns American Banker. That joint service, called PFN/FirstCall, offers coverage of events such as shareholder meetings and brokerage conferences, as well as interviews with chief executives.

"These services are designed to work on today's local area networks and PCs," said Mr. Wheeler.

The new service will be available in September. Subscribers can get live coverage through NBC Professional. The video news retrieval service is called NBC Desktop Video on Demand.

Data Compression

The system was demonstrated on PCs that ran Newsedge, a Desktop Data Inc. service that delivers news and information to more than 230 banks, corporations, and government agencies; Shark, a division of Data Broadcasting Corp. that offers real-time financial market data; and First Call, a service from Thomson that offers research and information to more than 1,200 financial institutions.

Here's how it works: Live news and events taped by NBC affiliates are sent to NBC's dam center in Charlotte, N.C., where they are compressed and sent to subscribers over a fiber optic network provided by San Jose, Calif.-based MFS Datanet.

Lenel Systems International, Rochester, N.Y., developed the software that lets NBC produce and distribute stories nationally.

GE Research and Development Center, Schenectady, N.Y., developed communications software linking the services, and it helped manage the project's development.

Officials said the services are offered through a subscriptionbased license, starting at $1,750 per month for integration into a local area network with at least five terminals.

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