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Posted by Bruce on March 27, 2000 at 10:48:41:

For those of us curious about the nature of online entertainment sites, the first glimmerings of at least one new business model are emerging (the complete text of the press release is available at the link below):

POP.com, the recently announced internet entertainment company formed by Imagine Entertainment, DreamWorks SKG and Vulcan Ventures, Inc., unveiled plans today for POPFEST, a division of POP.com showcasing independently produced short films, animation, games, and other digital content.

POP.com principals Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen are forming this division of POP.com in partnership with New York-based film attorney and executive producer John Sloss. The POP.com partners also announced POPFEST strategic relationships with online retailer Amazon.com and online merchandiser Whatshotnow.com.

Effective immediately, POP.com is accepting submissions from independent filmmakers, animators, and game designers for exhibition on POPFEST. Unlike POP's original productions, which will be under six minutes and skew towards comedy, POPFEST will exhibit all genres of independently produced shorts, with running times up to 30 minutes in length. All independent productions submitted will be exhibited non-exclusively on POPFEST and filmmakers will be able to build their own homepages around their work.

POPFEST will acquire exclusive internet broadcast rights to short films and animation discovered at film and comedy festivals around the world. POPFEST will showcase these acquisitions and original productions from leading independent filmmakers, making it the premiere destination for the discovery of new and emerging talent on the internet. In an effort to develop a new talent pool of POP filmmakers, POPFEST is also establishing relationships with film schools and universities to showcase shorts created by student filmmakers.

POPFEST is the platform on POP.com where users are empowered to tell the POP.com partners which short filmmakers merit their attention. Every short exhibited on POPFEST will include a link empowering viewers to vote on their favorite submissions. The most popular will then be viewed by the POP partners. Another key element of POPFEST will be to reward the most popular filmmakers with an opportunity to make original productions financed by POP, Imagine, and DreamWorks.

POPFEST has aligned with Amazon.com to create a special co-branded page where filmmakers will be able to sell their shorts on VHS and DVD through the Amazon.com Advantage program. POP.com will be a premiere provider of short film content for Amazon.com Advantage. The POPFEST/Amazon.com relationship will give POPFEST filmmakers the unique ability to distribute their shorts online through the world's leading e-commerce destination.

POPFEST has also formed a strategic partnership with Whatshotnow.com, a turn-key solution for online merchandising. POPFEST will be the first client for their new custom-branding solution, which will give POPFEST filmmakers the exclusive opportunity to create and sell a wide range of merchandise relating to their short films, including hats, T-shirts, posters and more. By simply uploading a logo or image from POPFEST to Whatshotnow.com, POPFEST filmmakers will instantly be able to create and sell merchandise related to their shorts.



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