The Digital Village


Take the UK's leading SF writer, mix him with some of the brightest sparks from television and the media, and what have you got? The Digital Village (TDV), that's what. The new company announced its first production last week, a co-publishing deal with Simon & Schuster Interactive to produce Starship Titanic, a CD-ROM adventure.

TDV is the brainchild of Douglas Adams, the acclaimed author of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, aided and abetted by Robbie Stamp (ex-Central Televison documentary film maker) as managing director, plus a host of other media luminaries: Ian Charles Stewart, the ex-Pearson guy who raised the initial cash for Louis Rossettos's Wired magazine; Richard Creasey, former director of special projects at Central Television; Mary Glanville, former commercial director at Central Television, and Richard Harris, previously MD of The Internet People.

Ed Victor, the literary agent, and the Honourable Alex Catto have been roped in as non-execs. Rounding off the team are three world luminaries recruited as technology advisers: Bob Lucky of Bellcore, Apple Fellow Alan Kay and Kai Krause of MetaTools. The team has now moved to premises in Camden, equipped with all the latest gear thanks to a strategic alliance with Apple and Tandem.

There are three strands to the company's strategy: Internet publishing, CD-ROM and broadcast television. It sees itself as a fully-integrated media publisher with joint venturing and cross-licensing deals.

Starship Titanic promises to deliver the same wry humour and galactic intrigue that earned Adams his millions of fans. Whisked into subspace, the player must return to Earth by consulting the ship's video records, virtual reality files and a fully animated character called Clunk. It sounds like a winner, given the marketing clout of Simon & Schuster who also publish the Star Trek titles.

Many other developments are in the pipeline, including a powerful Web site called Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Internet -- a free jumping-off point for many of TDV's global ambitions.


TDV's strategic alliance with Apple could be significant. It underlines Apple's determination to become an Internet-driven company. It will result in more Apple products for the Internet, for CD-ROMs and for broadcast television. "We want to show that the Mac can be a hi-fi, a TV, and above all, a good communicator," said Apple Europe's president back in February.

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(c) 1998 The Digital Village