Digital Entertainment Network
Marc Collins-Rector hired media executives from television, movies, commercial, documentaries and cable shows including former Disney TV executive David Neuman, to create a website featuring "5 minute shows". Founded in 1996, it raised $72 million from a combination of private investors and venture capital firms. The site opened in May 1999, and produced 26 original series aimed at teenage boy subcultures, including gay teens, Christian kids and extreme sports enthusiasts.
After a substantial amount of hype, the site itself turned out to be rather conventional for the time. DEN developers wrote the ports for Windows Media Player, QuickTime and RealPlayer for the Linux OS, which helped enable sites like YouTube and Myspace. DEN Developers also obtained a patent for delivering video advertising over the internet. DEN.NET Streaming media content was delivered in three formats and three different download speeds. DEN signed record breaking advertising deals with sponsors such as Ford, Microsoft, Pepsi, Penzoil, Blockbuster Entertainment and DELL.
Many industry observers noted that DEN is a quintessential example of the excess and lack of control of the dot-com craze. The company's troubles mounted after its three founders, including its chairman Marc Collins-Rector (who became a registered sex offender) resigned. A 75 million dollar IPO was cancelled in February 2000. DEN later filed for bankruptcy. Subsequently, civil lawsuits from Michael Egan and other DEN employees alleged sexual abuse and coercion using drugs and guns by Collins-Rector, co-founder Chad Shackley, and DEN Executive VP Brock Pierce.
DEN alumni created other Internet sites including Proxicom, Revver, the Aspen Comedy Festival, Dark Horse Comics, IXL, Static, Intuit, DEN and its founders have been the subject of many subsequent media articles and parodies.
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