Setting a Schematic for Digital Design

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Three veterans of Hollywood's promotion-design field have teamed to form Schematic, a new company that will provide design services to entertainment, technology and advertising companies in a digital world.

If all that sounds a little far-fetched for traditional cable, think again. Schematic is working with Cablevision Systems Corp. on various design features for the next iteration of iO: Interactive Optimum, set to debut in 2003.

It's also worked with Turner Classic Movies, through the American Film Institute's Enhanced Television workshop, to design an interactive-TV prototype for enhanced content that includes gaming. TCM plans to test the content on a Scientific-Atlanta Inc. Explorer 3100 set-top next year.

Schematic also is working with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. and National Geographic Channels International on design elements for various productions.

The company's goal is to help content creators, advertisers and aggregators — including cable operators — to protect market share, increase retention and evolve their business models in a digital broadband world.

"The media landscape is undergoing a significant evolution, as all the players in the value chain face a dramatic shift in how they've traditionally done business and even more importantly, how their content and brands are delivered and consumed," said Dale Herigstad, one of Schematic's founders.

The other two principals are Richard Titus and Paul Taormino. Herigstad has won four Emmy Awards for his design work, while Titus and Taormino were the founders of Razorfish and Infospace, respectively.

On any given day, Titus noted, consumers are taking in multiple media streams. That's often done in parallel, as in the case of the sports junkie who gets ESPN content through a TV, PC, pager or wireless phone.

"We're working on both sides of the screen," said Titus, referencing both network aggregators like Cablevision and content providers. But no matter the client, "we need to focus on the audience experience first," he said.

The founders point to four market "change factors" that will affect content players, advertisers and aggregators over the next four years: control, mobility, interactivity and layered media. Their goal is to help companies and consumers navigate that dizzying array of choices.

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