Peacock Equity invests in 4Info


NEW YORK -- Peacock Equity, the venture-capital arm of NBC Universal and parent company GE, is taking a significant stake in the interactive-services firm 4Info.

As part of the deal, 4Info will apact with NBC for a host of messages and advertising services. 4Info will be responsible for handling voting on interactive shows on NBC and NBC Uni cable shows, a roster which includes "The Apprentice" and "America's Got Talent."

4INFO will also serve as the platform for fan clubs and other NBC services.

4Info sends information and advertising via SMS, opting for the messaging format over WAP, the Web-based application.

The deal marks the network's attempt to capitalize on the growing relationship between wireless services and television, particularly in the nonscripted realm.

Series like "American Idol" have pacted with mobile carriers such as Cingular for voting services. But the relationship is usually more of a traditional sponsorship one, with the net not seeing direct profits from the increase in text messaging.

As an equity investor, however, NBC Uni will more directly benefit from 4Info usage.

Peacock Equity, a $250 million investment fund founded last April, has been putting money into several new-media entertainment companies, including in-game advertising outfit IGA and entertainment network Trion.

Also in NBC U digital news Wednesday, officials from in-game advertising network IGA Worldwide have announced a new "multi-faceted agreement" with NBC Universal Digital Media. As a result of the deal, the NBC Universal sales team will be able to sell a portion of IGA's premium in-game advertising inventory and create customized packages for clients on the IGA network.