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TECHNOLOGY : Interactive Disk Combines Music, Video, 3-D Animation

April 26, 1994|Dean Takahashi, Times staff writer

The Graphix Zone has a new product and the pop star formerly known as Prince has a new gig.

The Irvine-based multimedia services and publishing company plans to unveil an interactive computer compact disk, known as a CD-ROM, that combines 3-D computer animation and the music videos and new songs of the pop musician, who legally changed his name last year to , a symbol that signifies the combination of male and female and for which there is no English-language pronunciation.

The CD also contains trivia about the star. And all of it is in a single interactive package that can be played on personal computers with CD-ROM drives.

The disk is scheduled to premiere June 7--at a still unscheduled location. , who celebrates his birthday that day, is scheduled to appear.

The Graphix Zone produced the disk under contract from Warner Bros. Records and with help from the singer-songwriter. The disk, to be distributed by Warner, is expected to retail for anywhere from $30 to $50.

Such multimedia projects are expensive. To raise more working capital, Irvine-based Graphix Zone, founded in 1989 by former AST managers Chuck Cortright and Angela Aber, has filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. The company said it hopes to raise about $3 million in an initial public offering.

The Graphix Zone not only publishes CD-ROMs, it provides marketing services for computer and software makers and sells multimedia production services including rentals of computer editing equipment.

About 70% of current revenues come from marketing services, but the company believes its future growth will be tied to interactive CD-ROM projects such as the Prince disk. The company said it hopes to sign other artists for future interactive music CD-ROMs.

Among the company's other projects have been publication of a CD-ROM about the technical ins and outs of multimedia hardware and software, dubbed The Guided Tour of Multimedia, and production of software for a 3-D wrestling training program for the 1992 U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

The company reported a nearly $15,000 profit on sales of $1.7 million for the 11 months ended June 30, 1993. That followed a loss of $457,765 on revenue of $1 million for the previous 12 months. (Graphix Zone had a short fiscal 1993 because it changed its year end from July 31 to June 30). The company attributed the loss to costs of developing its multimedia capabilities.

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