Former Disney Chief Ovitz Behind Web Start-Up
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Hollywood agent and former Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Ovitz is among the backers of a new online shopping and entertainment destination that will launch this summer.
Ovitz, along with venture capital firm The Yucaipa Cos., late Thursday unveiled CheckOut.com, a new Web site that will anchor a number of sister sites, including CheckOutMusic.com, CheckOut Videos.com and CheckOutGames.com
The site, which will launch in July, is described as a place that will entertain instead of just offering music, videos and games for sale. The partners also promise an innovative blend of content and commerce along with a wide array of personalization capabilities. It will also have audio and video components that will cater to high-bandwidth users with cable and Digital Subscriber Line connections.
"As the entertainment community continues to evolve in relation to the Internet, artists have new opportunities to connect with their fans. CheckOut.com's strong commitment to high-bandwidth online entertainment supports the flexibility and freedom that artists are looking for to express their creativity and opinions freely with their fans.
In an interview with Reuters, Ovitz said the site will focus on providing quality entertainment information and will stay away from sensationalism.
"We're going to try to create an entertainment content destination with factual information, not gossip, but everything you ever wanted to know about music, movies and games and then flip into e-commerce when you find something that interests you," Ovitz said.
The Web site will encourage the same kind of impulse buying seen in malls or street arcades rather than the more product-specific commerce the Internet has so far provided, Ovitz told Reuters.
"The show is in the (mall)," Ovitz said. "My son goes (to the mall) for a movie and ends up buying a game. We're going to create that kind of content ...and on the back end, sell. On impulse you will end up buying a CD, video or game."
The site, which will target fans young and old, will not be as specific as a music or video site, its creators said, nor will it be as general as a search engine such as Yahoo.com. It will fall somewhere in-between with a broad mix of content, links andcommerce.
They said the site's comprehensive entertainment choices will set it apart from other similar sites. Not only will it directly provide content but it will link to nearly every other entertainment site on the Internet.
The site also will get to know its repeat customers by tracking their movements each time they use the site and customize its content according to their tastes.
Joining Ovitz in the new venture is Richard Wolpert, partner in charge of Internet ventures for The Yucaipa Cos., a venture capital firm.