In Ingalls Former Space, Interactive Shop Plays Hard at Work
BOSTON–Building the first Web site for Star Trek helped put The Screen House on the interactive map.
The 4-year-old agency is hyping its gaming background to carve a niche as an expert in user interface and build some post-Star Trek awareness. The gaming aspect “taught us to pay attention to the user. That may sound generic, but it got us very comfortable with the Web and taught us how to get users to come back again and again and create a business-focused angle each time, ” said Screen House chairman Adam Prince. He segued to the Web after developing CD-ROMs for clients including Houghton Mifflin while a freelance new media specialist.
The Screen House, which reported revenues of $4.2 million in 1999, just completed its 15th game for E! Online: an Oscar-themed contest that appears on the home page for the Entertainment Network. It also helped develop newly launched site HerHifi.com for Cambridge Soundworks, a follow up to Hifi.com. As the name implies, HerHifi.com targets female buyers of stereo components in much the same way that magazines and television programming are developed for women.
While dwarfed by competitors such as iXl, Sapient and USWeb/CKS, which each employ upwards of 1,000 people, The Screen House today employs a staff of 60 programmers, designers, account managers and project managers and thinks of itself as an independent boutique well positioned to double in size within a year. It has no immediate plan to tap the public markets for funds or sell out to a larger entity. “We’re not there yet,” said Prince.
The Screen House has plenty of room to grow in the 35,000-square-foot offices it occupies at 1 Design Center Place, formerly occupied by Ingalls. Seeking to foster and express its creativity, Ingalls executives left the space with soaring windows and ceilings open and installed a 1,000 gallon salt water aquarium that remains. Screen House co-founders Prince and Drake Roberts have added their own touches, such as arcade-quality video games and foosball, ping pong and pool tables, which employees will just have to work around when not at play. K
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