IQ News: New “Things” Afoot At Columbia TriStar




Things are invading Columbia TriStar Interactive’s Web site. Beginning today, Los Angeles-based Columbia TriStar Interactive, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will unveil its CTI Things Network, an area on the main CTI Web site that will feature virtually tamper-proof, multimedia “Things” created in partnership with Newton, Mass.-based media technology company ThingWorld.com.
The rollout of the new CTI Things began earlier this month with the launch of the popular ThingScreensaver for teen TV hit Dawson’s Creek that features clip highlights from the program. Last week, the two companies introduced a collection of Muppet Things in support of the July 14 premiere of Muppets from Space.
“We evaluated the technology as a way to help us promote and extend our brands on the Internet,” said John Matra, director of business development at Columbia TriStar Interactive. “We like the technology a lot. We had been looking for a technology that could accomplish distribution of our content, yet provide some [copyright] protection.”
Matra said that CTI plans to create Things for many of the company’s other TV and film properties in the future. Creating Things for the Pamela Anderson Lee syndicated show V.I.P. is currently under consideration.
“There’s a definite commitment from both companies to have a broad product offering,” said Steve Barlow, chief technology officer at ThingWorld.com. “What we are really building here is a [Things] network.”
Barlow said that the integration of Things into the CTI Web site illustrates “how embracing the relationship is.”
“This deal kind of shows what the Internet is all about,” he explained. “There’s a lot of different ownership in Hollywood and I think what we’re starting to show is that our technology has traction from a bunch of different perspectives, from the studios, from the stars.”
While no technology can be entirely bulletproof, Matra said that he believes ThingWorld.com’s technology offers “the first step” toward copyright security and that “ThingWorld.com is very conscious of the sensitivities that a content creator, such as a large studio, has.” He added, “I think that [Things] are the most potent viral marketing you can have on the Web today.”
ThingWorld.com has been aggressively pursuing deals with entertainment properties. It also works closely with Comedy Central and the World Wrestling Federation.