Profit pundits: Kevin Wendle

CEO of iFilm

Hollywood is obsessed with information and e-trepreneurs know that.

But despite the stumblings that some online business-to-business ventures have had, 2001 could finally prove a boon year for those who have written entire business plans around offering up online databases, production tools and other resources to film and TV professionals, at least according to one database proprietor.

“More people in the entertainment industry certainly are online now than were three years ago, and are looking for easier and faster ways to access accurate information,” says Kevin Wendle, CEO of iFilm, which owns and operates the online ventures of Film Finders, The Hollywood Creative Directory, ScriptShark, TVTracker and Lone Eagle Publishing. “With more people coming online around the world and more people looking to create content, more will be inclined to use online resources.”

Popular offline resource guides, for example, seem a natural fit for the Web, and can generate subscription fees from subscribers that need their assembled stats, research or contact listings at the click of a button. More entertainment-affiliated users hitting the Web means more money for online resources.

The Hollywood Creative Directory, while published quarterly, may provide up-to-date information on film and television contacts when it hits bookstores, but the publication’s online counterpart updates the information daily.

The same is true for subscribers of Film Finders’ database of available film rights of projects around the world, TV shows in development on TVtracker or job listings on iFilmpro.com.

But iFilm isn’t alone. Creative Planet is putting its software packages online, including Studio System and Movie Magic, among other offerings. And other ventures are trying to build businesses around casting databases, films in development or spec scripts being put on the market.

“I’ve heard people criticize databases on the Web, thinking that they’re only commodities, and that the Internet has freed data to make it much more available to people,” says Wendle. “While that is true, there’s data that changes every day and specialized data that is the result of developed relationships.”

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