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Octopus G s Interactive
Jean Richardson -- 1/24/00

The Octopus Publishing Group, owner of such leading brand names as Conran Octopus, Hamlyn, Miller's Antiques Price Guides and Philip's atlases, maps and encyclopedias, has announced the formation of a new company to exploit the online potential of its list.

The company, digitaloctopus.com, has been set up as a joint venture with Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Private Equity and is headed by Charles Haslam, an experienced Internet content provider. Haslam told PW that digitaloctopus.com plans to create interactive packages based on the Octopus list, as well as doing licensing deals with other publishers and commissioning new material. "We have," he said, "an unrivaled portfolio of trusted, comprehensive and up-to-date information, which is an absolute natural for use in the interactive media market." Octopus publishes 250 titles a year and has 2,500 titles on its backlist. The company also provides video footage through Octopus Productions, its TV subsidiary. Digital Octopus.com currently employs 20 people but plans to increase that number quickly.

Subject areas include antiques, gardening, cookery and wine, and the editorial content will be available to all electronic information channels including mobile telephones and interactive television. Haslam has high hopes that it will appeal to a wide range of leading companies looking for quality material to enhance their Web sites.
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