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NATAS Creates New Media 'Academy'

On the same day that the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences gave out its Webby awards for the best in Web site content, function and design, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (no relation) formed its own Web group, the National Academy of Media Arts & Sciences, chaired by NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright.

But the academy says not to look for the new group to conduct its own Web version of the Emmy awards. "The new National Academy of Media Arts& Sciences will not conduct any awards competitions," it says in a release announcing its formation. The academy did last year begin adding "a limited number" of awards for broadband to the Emmy awards.

The new digital academy will be primarily a way to court new media members, focusing on membership and education at a time when programmers are increasingly entering the online space for broadband delivery of their programming..

Was the timing of the announcement meant to send a signal to that "other" academy? No, said spokeswoman Cheryl Daly, calling it a coincidence. The announcement came Tuesday because it was approved at Tuesday's biannual trustees meeting, she said.