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Posts Tagged ‘Dean Takahashi’

The Evolution of Publishers Clearing House

PublishersClearingHouseLogoFrom its 1953 inception and entry into the giveaway business seven years later, Publishers Clearing House has since come a long way.

Per an interview by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi with PCH CEO Andy Goldberg, the company currently has 550 employees, mostly in New York, and is hoping that newly hired digital GM Mark Cullinane can successfully lead the outfit into bold, new realms:

Goldberg said that it is “very possible” that the company will acquire game development studios. It has acquired three companies in the past, including game developer Fun Tank.

“We want to create deeper and more engaging games than what we have,” Goldberg said.

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LeVar Burton Assembles Killer E-book Team

Fifteen months after indicating to New York Times columnist David Pogue at a Macworld event that he was raising money for a start-up, actor LeVar Burton is fully focused on the twain of education and enhanced children’s e-books. He tells Venture Beat that his company RRKidz has got $3 million in seed funding and is compiling a library of 300 iPad and Smartphone titles, with roughly 50 of those to be voiced by Burton himself.

The actor is partnered on the project with Buffalo’s WNED-TV, rights-holder to the 1983-2006 PBS series Reading Rainbow. He’s also put together a very impressive SoCal nucleus:

Burton’s Los Angeles-based team includes co-founder and chief strategy officer Mark Wolfe, who produced films such as Terminator 3 and Kinsey. The company’s chief executive is Asra Rasheed, an experienced digital media entrepreneur and previous co-founder of game rental service Gottaplay. The chief technology officer is Duc Haba, who previously worked at mobile analytics firm Motally. Sangita Patel is president of digital publishing and previous led business development initiatives at the Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Ventures.

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LA’s Richest Man Funds Alternate Reality Studio

Biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong continues to have fun with his sideline investment activities. On the heels of last year’s purchase of Magic Johnson‘s stake in the Los Angeles Lakers, the season ticket holder is now banking an initial $15 million on Fourth Wall Studios, a purveyor of “alternate reality entertainment.”

Dean Takahashi of San Francisco based Venture Beat has the scoop. The money will be used to build a new LA studio dedicated to the creation of titles that seamlessly blend together digital elements with those of the real world.

Fourth Wall focuses on “transmedia” stories, which can stretch across a variety of devices, such as the PC, cell phones, or the real world via augmented reality. One of the best examples of Fourth Wall’s work was the artistic radio drama that it hid within the Halo 3: ODST console video game.

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