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MICHAEL OVITZ CONFIRMS VIDEO DEAL WITH THREE BABY BELLS
Published November 1, 1994
CAA Chair Michael Ovitz, along with Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis, announced yesterday that they have entered a video entertainment venture to deliver video over telephone lines. The plan calls for the creation of a "media company" that will work with Ovitz's Creative Artists Agency to license and acquire old movies and TV shows, create new film products and develop interactive entertainment such as home shopping, video games and educational software (Mike Mills, WASHINGTON POST, 11/1). The Bells will form two ventures: One will concentrate on developing programming, while the other will create technical systems needed to deliver programming into homes. The two companies will be jointly owned by the three Bells. Pacific Telesis CEO Phillip Quigley said that the three partners may take on additional investors later: "We'll gladly entertain other arrangements with others, Bells and non-Bells, as we move forward" (Cauley & Turner, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/1). Ovitz represents several corporate clients, including Coca-Cola, Nike and Sony (WASHINGTON POST, 11/1). Ovitz said that the new Bell deal is a way "to whip up work" for current clients (Maney & Wiseman, USA TODAY, 11/1). In New York, John Durie writes, "The sure winners [from the deal] also include programmers like Viacom, News Corporation and Time Warner. They offer the best routes to information superhighway pay dirt for investors" (N.Y. POST, 11/1).