American Cybercast, which made a big splash in the online world in mid- 1995 with the introduction of Web-sodic “The Spot,” is in danger of closing its doors if an investor or buyer isn’t found soon. AMCY, as the company is known, has attracted investments from companies such as Creative Artists Agency, Tele-Communications Inc. and Softbank. Intel is also reportedly an investor, though a spokesman for the computer chip maker said his company won’t confirm or deny its involvement.
On Monday, AMCY president Sheri Herman called an employee meeting at which she reportedly told staffers that unless an investor or a buyer came on board, the company would fold.”I’m working feverishly to keep this company going,” Herman told Daily Variety. “So is (entertainment president) Scott Siegler, and so are our investors.
“We started out with a certain business model,” she continued. “As with any business model, some things were executed well, other things were not. But we feel good about our plan for going forward with a re-engineered concept.”
The company was formed as a division of Marina del Rey ad house Fattal & Collins. After its success with “The Spot,” AMCY launched sci-fi series “Eon 4” and “The Pyramid.” It also created a series of short pieces known as “Quick Fix Theater.”
But in November, AMCY laid off a dozen staffers and relaunched “The Pyramid” as a weekly show, rather than a daily.
AMCY has attracted top-notch advertisers, including Sony, Eastman Kodak, Apple Computer, Toyota and Visa among them. “Our ad sales team has been stupendous. But in this business, projections are made based on some-thing that’s never existed before, not on historical trends,” Herman pointed out.
Herman said the company has been talking with potential buyers and investors, but wouldn’t name specific suitors. No value on the company was available.
Industry observers say they aren’t surprised by the news at AMCY ; rumblings of such developments have been heard in Hollywood’s high-tech circles for weeks. But some say American Cybercast isn’t to blame; it’s merely one company trying to stay afloat in an extremely difficult market.
“Everybody knows you’re not going to make a bundle of money on the Internet right now,” said multimedia producer Joe Svezia.
Other observers, however, have harsher words for the company. “American Cybercast is awfully top heavy. They have executives upon executives, none of whom really contribute to producing a site,” said one insider.