Title: Director of Creative Artists Agency’s Media Lab, whose clients include TiVo, immersive video pioneer iPix, Luxxon Corp. and Valve. Before joining CAA this January, Mr. Kung was with Walt Disney Imagineering’s research and development division.
Matchmaking: “What CAA is really good at is nurturing and matching technology and talent. The Media Lab focuses on three types of technology applications: production, distribution and development.”
Distribution: “Luxxon Corp.’s Mediator software helps get bits to the end user. It transcodes video into native formats for RealNetworks and Windows [Media], so that, for instance, movie trailers can be transmitted at various rates of speed to a number of wired and wireless devices automatically. We’re taking the company on a road trip to the studios and sports leagues.”
Content and development: “Valve is an entertainment software company whose debut product, Half-Life, published by Sierra Studios and released in November 1998, is the pinnacle of the first-person shooter game. It’s a game engine-a technology enabling many multiplayer gaming experiences. That’s important in an industry where 3,000 to 5,000 games come out each year battling for shelf space for 500.
“We’re incubating the company to leverage this engine and have introduced Valve to TV producers and movie agents to further extend the brand from games to film and television. For instance, fans could use movie- and TV-generated skins-like a Lara Croft avatar or `Star Trek: Voyager’ background-customized to the game engine to create their own games.
“Fans have already created a multiplayer version of Half-Life called Counter Strike. [The fan who created it has since been hired by Valve.] Counter Strike has become one of the most popular online games-its worldwide audience is about on par with the U.S. audience for [TV show] `ER.”’
Content: “We’re also representing Cyan Worlds-the developers of [best selling computer games] Myst and Riven. We’re repping them in terms of seeking distribution partners and investors both in Hollywood (the studios) and with broadband carriers. We’re looking to extend the brand into TV and film as well as funding its next project which, we believe, will do for broadband what Myst and Riven did for CD ROM-namely, sell a lot of boxes. Paine Webber and Talk magazine co-sponsored the Innovators and Navigators conference outside of Santa Barbara in March, where we gave a sneak preview.