Pop.com Folds Before Launching
Pop.com (http://www.pop.com) announced its formation back in late October of 1999, and the company's original intention was to launch the site this Spring. Spring came and went, but there was no sign of Pop.com on the net.
Pop.com has allegedly spent about $7 million searching for an appropriate business plan. Yet, with the deflation of the bubbled net economy, the Hollywood heavies behind Pop.com couldn't come up with a profitable business model. The company was originally founded as a joint venture between DreamWorks SKG and Imagine Entertainment with the funding provided by Vulcan Ventures, Inc., the investment organization of DreamWorks investor Paul G. Allen. Pop.com's founders included Steven Spielberg and Jeffery Katzenberg of DreamWorks and Imagine's Ron Howard.
Last week, Pop.com was speaking with Ifilm Corp (http://www.ifilm.com) about the possibility of the online film site acquiring Pop.com. The talks were unsuccessful, and it was originally announced that the site would simply be scaling back.
According to sources at Pop.com, it has now been decided that the site will not launch, and pink slips arrived on the desks of the staff yesterday morning. For the vast majority of the staff, Friday will be their last day. Some of Pop's accumulated content may be showcased on countingdown.com, a site that Pop acquired at the beginning of the year.
"The Internet landscape is such that we have higher expectations then technology can allow. We as a people are impatient," stated Phillip Nakov, founder of countingdown.com.
Nakov believes that until broadband has reached the masses it will be difficult to compete with traditional mediums. Pop.com's decision not to launch, coupled with Den's demise earlier this year, presents a strong argument that Hollywood types do not understand the state of the Internet entertainment economy.
Industry insiders stress that hard work now will create a foundation for a future where broadband is a reality. "To succeed in this game requires tenacity, tremendous understanding of what Web enthusiasts want to do and a programming sensibility that doesn't simply replicate TV, but actually pulls the viewership into the programming," stated Jeanne Meyer, Sr. VP at Pseudo.
Bob Cesca, Founder of campchaos.com (http://www.campchaos.com), adds "The web is all about people like us and you (if you have a site) making creative things and presenting it directly to our viewers, without the constant drag of running it through a large committee filter. That's why the web will outlive TV."
It is difficult to say at this stage of the game whether the web will truly outlive TV, but it is safe to say that the life span of high budget content sites is rather short.