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THE FUSE: Sony Goes Broadband, 'The Beat' Heats up the Web, On2 Turns On

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire February 29, 2000 at 2:0AM

Sony Goes Broadband, 'The Beat' Heats up the Web, On2 Turns On
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Sony Goes Broadband, 'The Beat' Heats up the Web, On2 Turns On

by Tim LaTorre/EB Insider


>> Sony Goes Decisively Broadband

If the recent large venture capital rounds and
titanic media mergers weren't enough to prove that the future is bright
for next-generation entertainment, this week's announcement that another
media giant, Sony, is jumping into the broadband ring should put
skepticism to rest. On Wednesday, Sony Corporation of America and its
parent company, Sony Electronics Inc, announced the formation of a new
Broadband Services Company (BSC), which will explore and develop all of
the company's hardware and systems solutions business interests, and
exploit all of Sony's content and technology assets to create new
service businesses. The formation of the new company comes a few weeks
before the company launches the Japanese version of its highly
anticipated Playstation 2, which is rumored to be the focal point
of their new broadband strategy. As with computer technology, Sony
has been slow to move away from its core electronics business and
embrace the Internet space. However, the company did take some baby
steps last year when it invested in "personal television" maker
TiVo and cable television operator Cablevision, with which it will
develop digital cable systems and services. The BSC will be headed
by Emily Susskind, who joined the company in 1998 as Senior Vice
President of Interactive Services and was involved in putting the
TiVo and Cablevision deals together.



>> The Beat' Heats Up the Web

In a marketing experiment that will show if
next-gen entertainment can be used to create hype around traditional
TV fare, UPN's upcoming Tom Fontana-Barry Levinson cop drama 'The
Beat
' is premiering a 'prequel' to be aired solely from the show's Web
site (http://www.thebeattv.com). While the prequel finds the main
characters, two New York City police officers named Mike Dorigan and
Zane Marinelli, while they're still at the Police Academy, the TV
series catches up to them three years after they have graduated.
The site, designed as Dorigan's home page, will have a 2-3 minute
segment posted each Monday until the series premiere on March 21st.
Along with the streaming media prequel, users will be able to get a
first-hand experience of being a NY cop by filling out real written
tests and participating in a real-life police situations in "Can
You Imagine Being A New York City Cop?" The makers of the "Homicide"
TV series first got their Net feet wet by integrating an online
"Second Shift" to that show, which focused on second homicide team
and allowed characters and cases to jump between the TV series and
the Web series. Although there are no plans to continue the Web
experience past the premiere, series creator Tom Fontana remains
open to the idea.



>>On2 Turns On with On2Movies


In a move that will further buffer next-gen
entertainment's luster, last week On2 officially launched the first
channel of its broadband On2Network, On2Movies, promising a
"full-motion, full-screen, TV-quality Web destination". The new
channel will feature original programming as well as content from
third-party partners. The partner list, a veritable who's who of
Hollywood and Indiewood circles, includes Artisan Films, Fine Line
Films, First Look, Fox Searchlight, Lions Gate Films, MGM, Miramax
Films, New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics, Samuel Goldwyn,
Sony-Columbia/Tristar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Twentieth
Century Fox, Universal Pictures, USA Films
, and Walt Disney Co.
Buena Vista Film Distribution. With an advantage of developing
software-based video compression and streaming technology for
over eight years, the company uses its proprietary TrueMotionVP3
software to allow consumers to view high resolution video via
broadband connections such as DSL, T1, or satellite, 300
kilobits/second or better. To market their new service and
heighten their brand awareness, On2 will also launch an
aggressive, multimillion-dollar nationwide advertising campaign.





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