Marketing Television to the Web Masses

A new country has taken the lead position in the modern media world. Is it in Europe or Asia? Africa? Australia? Nope, the newest media moguls on the block reside on the small South Pacific group of atolls known as Tuvalu.

A quiet struggle has been waged for the last couple of years to gain control of the top-level domain name (the suffix used in Internet naming) that belongs to the former British colony. That domain name is .tv (as in, which is quite valuable to television and other media executives around the world.

The .tv designation was assigned to the nation of Tuvalu for all its Internet communication by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. After spending three years seeking a marketing partner to handle the licensing contract, Tuvalu, the world's smallest country, selected The .TV Corporation to manage the process globally. Under the terms of the contract, this agreement provides Tuvalu with the bulk of revenues generated from domain-name sales. Financial details are said to be confidential.

"With .tv, we're providing Internet-savvy companies the opportunity to brand their Web sites with one of the most recognized words in the world---TV," says Jason Chapnik, president of The .TV Corporation. "This symbol helps companies define themselves for their audience. The beauty of .tv is the image it conjures of dynamic and energetic content---in other words, multimedia. Consumers are immediately attracted to the .tv name. Once television-based programmers begin to distinguish themselves with this domain using streaming video, audio, and interactive content, consumers will become even more attracted to .tv Web sites."

Interest is expected to be highest from media companies of all kinds---television, print, Internet (news and portal sites), and cable companies. There should also be interest from marketing and advertising agencies, and entrepreneurs who will create the TV stations of the future.

"We are excited to be part of the new possibilities the Internet opens up, and we are confident in The .TV Corporation's ability to market this new domain on our behalf," says the prime minister of Tuvalu, Bikenibeu Paeniu. "We are delighted this agreement will improve not only the Tuvaluan standard of living, but permit us to help other South Pacific nations."

Any interested party can request a .tv name. A deposit in the amount of US$1000 is required to reserve the name. If only one bid for a particular domain name is received, the name is granted to the requester. If more than one bid is received for the same domain name, an auction is held. The request-and-auction process was designed to reflect the generally open culture of the Internet, while prohibiting speculative buying of domain names by those who hope to resell them rather than actually use them. Once a domain name is registered, there is an annual renewal fee of US$500.

Tuvalu is a group of nine atolls spread out over 370 miles of the South Pacific, with a total land area of approximately 10 square miles. The former British colony was formerly known as the Ellice or Lagoon Islands until independence was granted on October 1, 1978. A parliamentary democracy and a Special Member of the British Commonwealth, Tuvalu (pop. 10,000) is located approximately halfway between Hawaii and Australia.