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PointCast founder plans new firm

Chris Hassett is quietly proceeding with plans to launch a New York-based start-up that focuses on Net entertainment programming.

PointCast cofounder Chris Hassett is quietly proceeding with plans to launch a New York-based Internet start-up dubbed PrizePoint Entertainment that focuses on Net entertainment programming.

The company registered the domain name "Prizepoint.com" earlier this year, according to the InterNIC domain registry. It lists an office address in New York City. The company's Web site reads: "The site is currently under construction."

But a link obtained through the classified section of Yahoo reads: "PrizePoint Entertainment is an exciting and energetic start-up company from the founders of PointCast, Inc. Our focus is Internet entertainment programming. We are in the process of recruiting highly skilled and creative individuals for full-time employment."

The listing seeks people in engineering, creative services, and marketing and sales. It includes listing for a network administrator, database administrator, and national sales director.

Hassett's wife, Janet, and a former PointCast executive, Frank Blot, also are part of the management team at the start-up, sources said. They added that the company also has been seeking an outside public relations firm to represent it. One source suggested the timetable for getting the company up and running may have slipped.

But a beta test for the online game already is under way. "Here are some of the new features available in our latest beta release: sleek, slimmer console; winners' page; automatic winner email notification; online prize claim process; player profile," a beta user's page reads.

Company executives could not be reached for comment.

Hassett remains a shareholder in privately held PointCast, but he is no longer employed by the company. Hassett was chairman and chief executive of PointCast until July 1997, when he was replaced by former SBC Communications executive vice president David Dorman, recruited to take the company public.

As reported, PointCast shelved plans for its initial public offering in July. The IPO would have made Hassett flush with cash, but he still has money available from his previous ventures. Hassett lives in New York.

News.com's Paul Festa contributed to this report.