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John Getter, Senior Vice President, Creative Services for Space Media Inc., Prepares To Bring Space Entertainment And News Back Down To Earth

By | August 16, 2000

      Space Media Inc., a subsidiary of SpaceHab Inc. [SPAB], officially solidified its joint venture with RSC Energia Aug. 3. The two companies now are completing their business and marketing plans. The two space companies formed Enermedia LLC, which will develop and provide multimedia content both for television broadcast and Internet distribution from the Russian Service Module of the International Space Station (ISS) and the Russian Space Program archives. Enermedia will be a significant business arm of SpaceHab’s ISS construction project, the Enterprise Module. SpaceHab executives this year broke ground on building a module that will replace the originally planned Russian docking node for ISS. Enterprise will house a broadcasting studio, which will stream down news and entertainment content from space.

      Enermedia is the latest in a series of actions geared to generate general public interest for space. John Getter, senior vice president, creative services, for Space Media told SPACE BUSINESS NEWS Editor Nick Mitsis the challenges and strategies his team will undergo to make this new venture a success. Here is what he had to say:

      SBN: What specifically does the Enermedia LLC partnership entail?

      John Getter: The LLC is a 50-50 partnership with RSC Energia. We will be able to develop the Russian space archives. As the international partnership develops it needs to be seen as fair and equal on both sides. For example, when customers want products that involve Russian archives we can provide that for them. For example, if a broadcasting station is producing a program on the history of space stations, then we can provide some of that material. Enermedia LLC is a way to assure fair exchange of value between two companies operating in two countries. Space Media and Energia will each contribute a minimum of two people to Enermedia. I will be one of those people coming from Space Media.

      SBN: Does Enermedia now have exclusivity to the Russian archives?

      Getter: The short answer is yes. The issue becomes clouded around the use of the word exclusivity. We will jointly oversee these activities. We will be the agents of access to these archives that run more than 50 years. So if a business needs access to these archives, they will have to go through the LLC to obtain them.

      SBN: What are some preliminary business goals your team is forming?

      Getter: We plan to do a complete history and recounting of what happened in the first 50 years of space travel.

      SBN: How specifically are you going to implement your business strategy to accomplish your goal?

      Getter: We first plan to digitize as much of the archives as possible. This will preserve the material for Russia. Right after [Sept. 4] a team and I will be heading over to Russia for a month to begin to go through the film, photo and file archive to see how much of it can be digitized. There are some 10,000 hours worth of videotape and perhaps twice that amount of film. Beyond that, we will post much of this material online for reference and free access along with low-resolution images. We then hope to support our activities with some commercial success of selling medium- and high-resolution images and videos. In my mind there are books to be done, films to be made and television shows to produce. Any media that people can communicate with is open to be developed with this material.

      SBN: Once the archives are usable, what marketing campaign will Enermedia undertake to bring clients to your business?

      Getter: If you had asked me that question next week when we had our meeting to plan that, I would be in a better position to answer it. Frankly it will pretty much be a straightforward campaign. We plan to probably attend the news directors’ conventions, talk to book publishers, networks and the like. In addition to our news component, we will be doing entertainment, gaming and education. Currently, we are conducting beta tests on our Web site and it will be more like television than a standard Web site. We believe that is the way the Internet and broadcasting will go as we move forward with our business. We are focused on being a broadband media company.

      SBN: Will Enermedia follow the Spacehab’s STARS model at all?

      Getter: The [STARS] program now has more than 1 million students involved and has expanded in more than 10 countries. STARS does a terrific job in generating traffic and general interest in space and all of this will be an expansion of that. Part of what we hope to have available is these archives online so students doing reports that deal with space topics will have access to not only NASA but now also Russia. Our goal is to help maintain the interest in space. If people are involved in the STARS program, they will want to get involved in the other stuff we are doing.

      SBN: Who is your major competitor?

      Getter: At the risk of sounding completely self-serving, I don’t know that we have a direct competitor. As a media company, we are in the audience business. Our job is to create audiences and sell them to advertisers. From that respect, we have many competitors. But as far as the space arena itself, what makes us unique is that in addition to space-based content we have access to space.

      Through our agreements we have our own location and access to the International

      Space Station. We, therefore, can (to a large degree) control our own destiny and content. So where others can promote that they can deliver news from space from people who have been there, we will be doing news from space with people who are there. I am, however, glad that and others are in business because they help us demonstrate to sometimes a skeptical public that there is a big market for this stuff out there.

      SBN: What is your near-term business timeline?

      Getter: You will see us online with a significant presence within the next 60-90 days. The only reason we are waiting is because when we do go online we really will be up and running and not merely providing a link to a site that is under construction. Likewise, we plan to be on the air and broadcasting early next year. We believe that formula will best position us for convergence when it happens.

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