Michael Ovitz will make his first foray onto the Internet this summer with CheckOut.com, a Web site that will sell videos, music and videogames, while promoting the artists behind the goods. Ovitz announced the venture Thursday.
Through a partnership with L.A.-based Yucaipa Cos., one of the largest investors in supermarket chains, Ovitz will launch CheckOut.com, which will be split into three separate e-commerce entities — CheckOutVideos.com, CheckOutMusic.com and CheckOutGames.com.
Users can visit Web sites designed for individual artists where the user can read bios, previously written articles and reviews of their work, while listening to audio and viewing video, and then purchase suggested products related to the celebs. A Jim Carrey page will push his pics on DVD and soundtracks, while a Ricky Martin page will hawk the Latin heartthrob’s CDs. Links to other related Web sites will also be included.
Ovitz promises that the site won’t only feature talent from his Artists Management Group, such as Leonardo DiCaprio. “It will include everyone,” Ovitz told Daily Variety. “It’s great for the artistic community. All artists want to do is get their products out there. They don’t want to be told they can’t. With the Internet, nothing can stop them. They can reach as big an audience as they want.”
Richard Wolpert, partner in charge of Internet and technology ventures for Yucaipa, will oversee the operation. While the services being offered to Internet users are similar to those of other e-tailers, Ovitz doesn’t want the new site to be compared to Amazon.com. “We want it to be like going to the Third Street Promenade,” he said, referring to the popular three block strip of outdoor shops in Santa Monica. “It’s all about entertainment. You come to the site because you have an interest in an artist,” Ovitz said.
Adds Wolpert, “We want to be the ultimate information destination and the ultimate buying destination.”
Specific partnerships and deals with merchants and product distributors will be announced in the coming weeks. Ovitz said considerable ad dollars will be spent to push the Web site beginning this summer.