Thursday, November 12, 2009

Will 'Black Box' Be The New TV Experience?

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Former Schematic, Blast Radius Partner Launches 'Second Level' Beta: Will 'Black Box' Be The New TV Experience?
Joe Mandese, Nov 11, 2009 07:45 AM
A new online platform dynamically combining elements of the Internet, TV, social networking, commerce, and just about any kind of "level two" experience you might imagine into an easy loading single page will launch a public beta today. The platform, dubbed "Black Box" by its creator, Kurt Kratchman, a serial digital media entrepreneur who was part of management teams that sold interactive agencies Schematic and Blast Radius to WPP, was previewed last week during the International Digital Media Arts Association's annual conference at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where some of the digital media world's top designers were duly impressed about the potential to transform the online user experience.

Kratchman, who most recently was chief strategy officer of Schematic, and a co-founder of Blast Radius, calls the Black Box a "second level application" giving online users the "visual display of television" with the control and connectivity of the Internet.

Black Box, which has quietly been powering ASB.TV, a community-based site for followers of aeronautical air shows that he is also a managing partner of, can be accessed and downloaded at (user name: asb; password: blackbox).

The platform provides a new kind of viewer experience, enabling users to easily adjust and customize the elements of content, video, commerce, and community in a modular format, all without leaving the Web page.

Kratchman developed the platform as a means of rendering those components of ASB.TV, which promotes and connects hundreds of thousands of air show enthusiasts.

He says he stumbled upon Air Show Buzz after simultaneously selling Schematic and Blast Radius to WPP and was looking for a new challenge.

"I used aviation as the subject matter, air shows as my Disney park, and airplanes as my sports teams," Kratchman explained, striking an analogy to other big, multiplatform media and content companies that might also tap a rich, dynamic interface like Black Box.

Kratchman says he and his ASB.TV partners turned the Black Box engine on ASB.TV, and have quietly amassed a community of more than 100,000 users, and is already expanding it into a multimedia enterprise, including a pilot (no pun intended) of a new computer animated kids TV show being developed in conjunction with a major studio.

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