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DreamWorks’ Unlaunched Pop.com May Merge With iFilm

If Spielberg cant succeed on the Web who can? This is the question that has been buzzing around the long delayed launch of DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainments Webcaster Pop.com. On Wednesday, August 31, 2000, Netcaster iFilm.com confirmed that it is in final negotiations to merge with Pop. No details of the merger have been announced but Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is overseeing the deal. Allen and his Vulcan Ventures injected US$50 million into Pop in its beginnings. The billionaire is also one of the chief investors in iFilm. Whether Pop.coms celebrity deals with the likes of Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy will transfer over in the merge is being worked out. Also layoffs at Pop are likely because of position overlaps with iFilm. Moreover, whether Pop CEO Kenneth Wong will stay with the merged company is yet to be determined. The deal will most likely be finished within the next two days. The connections between Pop and iFilm dont just end with Allen. iFilm chairman Skip Paul is also the chairman of Sega GameWorks, which is a location-based co-venture between Sega, DreamWorks and Universal. If the deal does fall through however, rumors have AtomFilms, Z.com, French mega-firm Vivendi and even Creative Planet next in line to snatch up Pop. DreamWorks and Imagine announced the Pop undertaking with great hoopla in October 1999, and later added big name content deals and the acquisitions of Countingdown.com and UndergroundFilm.com. However, nearly a year later Pop.com has nothing more than three initial press releases posted. Two major factors have played key roles in the downfall of Pop.com. The first being senior execs with little to no Web experience and the second being its high-profile players (like Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard who were to create content for the site) commitment to other projects.

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