Imagine, DreamWorks create Net entertainment firm

Imagine Entertainment and DreamWorks SKG team with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen to launch a Web company that creates and produces Internet-only programming.

Imagine Entertainment and DreamWorks SKG are teaming with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen to launch a Web entertainment company that creates and produces Internet-only programming.

Called Pop.com, the site will allow users to view short live action or animation clips, live events, and video on demand. The clips, which the company calls "pops," last one to six minutes per episode.

Pop.com will let its users send instant messages, chat, or build communities related to the site's content. As a way to tap potential talent, Pop.com also will let users submit original programs for the site. Imagine and DreamWorks will offer development contracts to creators of the most popular original programs, the companies said.

"The Internet offers unlimited potential as a new entertainment arena," Steven Spielberg, a DreamWorks partner along with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, said in a statement. Imagine Entertainment is the studio formed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Pop.com joins a small but growing list of Web sites delivering short films. In August, Atom Films said it would begin streaming short films from its Web site. Around the same time, Warner Bros. Online debuted a six-minute animation film called The Peeper by comedian Adam Sandler.

More and more Hollywood executives are becoming Internet executives. Power brokers such as former Walt Disney Company president Michael Ovitz, former Universal studio chief Frank Biondi Jr., and USA Networks chief executive Barry Diller are high-profile insiders who have taken significant steps onto the Internet.

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