PBS makes alliance with MCI to develop online service

PBS and MCI will develop a computer information service that supplements public TV programming while letting consumers place online orders for books, videocassettes and other program-related materials. The telecom company said March 23 [1995] that it would invest at least $15 million in the venture over the first five years. It was one of a series of MCI announcements publicizing its plans for expansion of Internet activities. Four days later, the company detailed its plans to offer Internet access services nationwide under the brand name “internetMCI,” and opened a shopping mall on the Internet called “marketplaceMCI.” And on March 29, the company said it hired cable programming veteran Scott Kurnit away from the Prodigy online service to oversee its information services unit, including the venture with PBS.