Biz to biz web wars

Columbus Ent. sails to Creative Planet

Having shifted direction to focus more heavily on its business-to-business offerings, Creative Planet has acquired Columbus Entertainment in an undisclosed cash and stock deal.

Acquisition gives Creative Planet the Columbus Software and InfoNet operations that provide online production intranets and project management tools for film and television execs.

InfoNet, for example, enables execs to record, manage and track production costs online and assemble paperwork (staff and crew lists, deal memos, travel authorizations) from anywhere in the world via the Web.

Columbus partnered with Hollywood payroll giant Axium Entertainment Services last year to develop the system, which has been used for Fox pics “Fight Club,” “The Beach” and “The X-Files” as well as TV shows “The Pretender” and “Judging Amy.”

The four-person firm, founded by CEO John Gaster and prexy Rod Henson (who will join Creative Planet in the coming weeks), is also developing software packages that cover script submission, casting, accounting and payroll as well as the delivery of digital dailies online.

“The acquisition of Columbus Entertainment greatly accelerates our mandate to an end-to-end Web-based project manage-ment solution for the global entertainment community,” said Creative Planet chairman and CEO Allen DeBevoise. “Columbus’ track record in providing companies the most efficient means to manage and oversee the production process is unparalleled, and we’re excited to be able to incorporate their stellar services into our growing solutions base.”

Vying with iFilmpro

Acquisition is Creative Planet’s seventh in the past six months as it tries to race against iFilmpro.com to become the leading business-to-business Internet resource for the worldwide media industries — an arena that could be worth $500 billion, said DeBevoise.

“We’re focusing on moving images first, then later on music, videogames and other content creation,” DeBevoise said of its business strategy. “Creative Planet has real studio clients using real Web-based business-to-business project management services right now.”

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