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Man Utd to launch desktop news service

Manchester United is to roll out a free desktop news service for fans that will offer video, match results and Old Trafford news in real time.

Fans will be able to download the tool from the Manchester United site from the end of March, and it will automatically update with the latest news and multimedia content as soon as it is released.

The tool was built by specialist provider Zebtab, which has built similar desktop tools for Chelsea football club, men's magazine Maxim and the BBC.

Zebtab usually works on a revenue share basis with advertising on the service, said the company's chief executive, Damon Oldcorn. But Manchester United has licensed the service and will extend existing sponsorship on it.

He said the service aimed to reach 5% of Manchester United's userbase within 18 months, and though designed initially for the UK, the service could be expanded to appeal to overseas fans.

'The application gives more flexibility in delivering the service than a web-based tool because the content is pushed out by us,' said Oldcorn. 'It is discreet and compelling because it uses rich media, is simple and easy to control.'

Zebtab has seen significant traffic from office workers, said Oldcorn, who added that each user typically spends between 12-14 minutes per day on the service.

Zebtab launched in April last year and has established deals with Sky Media to sell display advertising on its desktop applications and with uTarget, which sells video advertising.

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