Web Broadcast Venture Shuts Down

Wednesday, September 20th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Pseudo Programs Inc., which had been broadcasting 10 hours a day of Web-based interactive programming from its New York studio, has turned itself off after running out of cash.

Pseudo sent all of its 175 employees home Monday when negotiations stalled with some potential buyers of the company, CEO David Bohrman said Tuesday.

Pseudo, a pioneer in pairing live video with the interactive power of the Internet, is continuing to talk with suitors. But its run may have ended for good, Bohrman said.

``At some point you just run out of money and we weren't going to be able to pay people so we had to stop,'' he said.

``It's a little early to do what we do, but it's probably not too early,'' Bohrman said. ``I think that the funding paralysis that's out there in the economy that happened after April is what really stopped the flow of financing into this kind of company.''

The shutdown of Pseudo continues the shakeout of unprofitable Web-based entertainment ventures. Recent casualties also included Pop.com, backed by Steven Spielberg and other big names, which was supposed to Webcast video, animation and other programming. It was closed earlier this month before even getting started.

Pseudo had a much longer history, dating back to 1995 when founder Josh Harris started the company, then called Jupiter Interactive, to host the chat environment on Prodigy. The company embraced Internet radio and Internet television as those became available.

The Pseudo Web site simultaneously offered three-part programming. A window delivered live video programs, hosted by a so-called e-jay. A chatroom allowed viewers to participate, with the e-jay injecting their comments into the program. Meanwhile, a separate Web environment was filled with content to enhance the experience including Web links, photographs, charts and other material.

Pseudo, which targeted its programming at young men, garnered $18 million in financing last year and another $14 million this past spring. Its investors included Tribune Co. and Intel Corp.