Kirch preps portal
German multimedia giant KirchGroup is jumping into the web game with an entertainment portal that is projected to launch in early 2001. With a whopping US$290-million commitment in start-up and promotional efforts through to 2004, the as-yet-unnamed Net destination will sport a good-sized dedicated children’s area, with additional kids stuff in the music, games and films sections. Content plans are still being hammered out, but Kirch subsidiary media providers like Premiere World and Pro Sieben are pegged to provide the bulk of the on-line fare. The mediaco expects the portal to turn over US$48 million next year, with revenues coming from advertising, content syndication,
e-commerce and the shopping out of technical services.
Casper floats into multipath
L.A.’s Harvey Entertainment has granted Woodland Hills, California-based Brilliant Digital Entertainment the rights to create 13 webisodes of a 3-D multipath movie based on the Casper franchise. Each episode will be between four and seven minutes long and will let viewers steer the story by choosing different narrative streams. Dan March, director of new media at Harvey, says the first episode should launch on-line to coincide with the October 31 street date of a new Casper CGI DTV, produced by Mainframe Entertainment, called Casper’s Haunted Christmas. The series, which will likely be bimonthly, will be syndicated on a number of websites in Brilliant Digital’s existing distribution network (includes Yahoo and Entertaindom), but the partners will also work to find other on-line outlets to showcase the project.
Everything you wanted to know about the web…
On-line traffic tracker Media Metrix and web spending researcher Jupiter Communications have completed a US$414-million merger to form the ultimate service for helping businesses understand and profit from the Internet. With a combined client roster of over 1,700 that includes web heavies like Yahoo!, Disney, AOL and Amazon.com, Jupiter Media Metrix will be based in New York, with global offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden and the U.K. Its expanded array of services will include: targeted website usage measurement; Internet strategy analysis; on-line advertising consulting; and 21 events in 2000 focusing on digital media issues.
NewKidCo branches out
Looking to broaden its reach, NewKidCo has inked a multiyear deal that gives Ubi Soft publishing rights to its licensed video game titles in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. To fund global expansion and to beef up its game roster by 11 titles this year, NewKidCo recently completed a private placement of US$5.5 million. The new games will be based on NewKidCo’s existing portfolio of licenses, which include Winnie the Pooh, Doug and Goofy from Disney, Sesame Workshop’s Sesame Street and Warner Bros.’ Tom & Jerry. On the homefront, NewKidCo has reclaimed its North American distribution from Mattel Interactive.