Interviewed by John Papageorge
Peter Douglas and his brother, actor Michael Douglas, are bringing Hollywood production values to the World Wide Web through their Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company, Vincent NewMedia. Their goal: to create new and innovative Web content. (The brothers' venture-capital operation is called Santa Barbara Digital Ventures.)
Peter says he has little fear of bumping heads with industry leaders. After all, with a father like legendary actor Kirk, why should he be afraid of a little company like Microsoft? According to Peter, the industry giants are neither all-seeing nor all-knowing, and he doesn't feel threatened by any of them. He also doesn't rule out working with them in the future.
In working with the "talent" in what he terms "new media," the financial stake Douglas will offer will be based on the studio model that keeps Hollywood running: royalties on successful projects. Or a piece of the cyber box office, if you will. While it is still too early to discuss the products his group is behind -- most of the year-old company's products are still in the developmental stage -- Peter believes the future of the Web may be in small networks on which visitors won't crash or become overloaded. He also wants to battle the time delays that occur when using the Net.
The Douglas brothers bring different talents to the table. Peter describes Michael as a creative person, who also has the influence and ability to raise capital. Peter's own background is in the production side of the entertainment industry. Curious about the nuts and bolts of technology, he built his own PC back when computers were 10 times more expensive than they are today. Peter was also an early subscriber to the pioneer online service The Source.
Peter, who has produced in many venues, swears he's given up the type-A personality traits that prevented him from enjoying life back when he was breaking into movie and television production. In fact, when the time comes for Peter to give his daughter career advice, he says he's going to tell her to relax a little, too.
And is father Kirk ready to jump aboard the high-tech business? It seems doubtful, since Peter says his dad has little interest in computers. "First of all," he says laughingly, "you can't play a good game of golf on the Web. So that takes the priority out of it."
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