Only two weeks after its launch in New York City, Broadway Television Network (BTN) is apparently very close to purchasing theatre.com, a theatre website originally launched under the name buybroadway.com in 1996. If accurate, the reported acquisition would fit into BTN's plan to provide a significant internet site as part of its theatre portfolio.
Days ago, BTN reportedly issued a letter of intent for the purchase of theatre.com. Playbill On-Line has also learned that, late in the week, theatre.com staff members were informed by management that "a major, exciting piece of company news" would likely occur "within a week."
The theatre website was originally launched under the name buybroadway.com in 1996. BTN has indicated that while an aggressive internet presence would be part of its profile, no other confirmation could be made. "That's all I'm prepared to discuss at this juncture," said BTN's Susan Lee, adding that no deal was pending.
Asked about reports of a purchase, theatre.com founder and president Toby Simpkin told Playbill On-Line, "There is no announcement at this time and unfortunately nothing I can share with you because we are a public company."
BTN was launched on Jan. 18. In materials made available to the media, network founder Kay Koplovitz (the founder and former chief executive officer of USA Networks), envisioned the Broadway network as "the source of digital distribution of currently running musicals for wireless and cable pay-per-view (PPV) systems, direct broadcast satellite (DBS), the Internet, HDTV giant screen and home video." The target of BTN's interest, theatre.com, is a public company run by Simpkin. Theatre.com's content comprises many theatre related sites and is described by Simpkin as the world's largest, comprehensive and theatre network.