Verizon to Sponsor's 'Lifestyle' Channel

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NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications has entered into a three-year, $3 million pact with, the

largest African American-targeted Website, to sponsor the site's "Lifestyle" Channel which provides

online movie reviews, industry gossip and behind-the-scenes news from the entertainment arena.

As's exclusive telecommunications partner, Verizon is working with to develop new features and

services for the site geared toward African American and urban visitors.

"This sponsorship provides a unique opportunity to strengthen Verizon's link to the African American and urban

communities and positions us to be a leader in this market," said Gregory R. Smith, director of consumer ethnic

markets for Verizon. "This type of partnership increases our ability to offer affordable, customized product and

service bundles to diverse customer segments."

As part of their alliance, Verizon and will develop new Lifestyle Channel features including a

communications center, which provides information to help customers simplify and enhance their lives using

telecommunications products and services. Visitors to the site's communications center will find useful tips, such as

how to access email with their wireless phones, and information to help them make purchases that meet their lifestyle


Users also will find convenient links to information from Verizon about customer bills, product offerings and the latest

technological advances that will help keep them connected to family, friends or business associates. In addition,

Verizon will develop special promotional packages that will be offered exclusively to users.

"We are delighted to be selected as Verizon's primary online resource to connect with the African American

community," said Scott Mills, chief operating officer for "This arrangement with Verizon is a

great addition to our significant relationships with industry-leading companies who have made their online

platform to reach African Americans."

In February, BET Holdings II, Inc. (the parent company of Black Entertainment Television) partnered with Microsoft,

Liberty Digital, News Corporation and USA Networks to launch as the highest profile and most powerful

African American presence on the Internet with $35 million in initial funding. provides a combination of online content and community tailored to the unique interests, preferences and

issues of African Americans aged 18-49. It is one of the highest-trafficked African American sites on the Internet and

covers news, health, careers, money, music, home buying, entertainment, romance, food and the BET Network. also offers stimulating "Zones of Interest" for professionals, women, families, college students

and urbanites, as well as the latest communication features.

In October, acquired Russell Simmons', a site focused on providing the ultimate online

hip-hop experience, including culture, lifestyle and music, as well as news and politics.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's

leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless

communications in the United States, with more than 101 million access line equivalents and more than 26 million

wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in

1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extend to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For

more information on Verizon, visit


To view photo, click here.

Photo caption: Verizon Communications has signed

a three-year, $3 million pact with to sponsor the site's "Lifestyle" Channel. Gregory R. Smith

(left), Verizon's director of multicultural markets, and Michael Pickrum, BET's vice president of business development,

said the companies will work together to develop new services and features for the site geared toward African

American and urban visitors.

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