Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2000

Geocast Network Systems, Inc.

by Thomas R. Eisenmann, Christina L. Darwall and Elizabeth Kind

Abstract

Geocast, a venture-backed start-up, had developed innovative technology for "datacasting" broadband information and entertainment content to an external hard drive, where it was cached for later retrieval by a Web-enabled PC. By using terrestrial TV, direct broadcast satellites, or cable TV systems to transmit data, Geocast avoided the congestion problems experienced by Internet users, and gave its customers instant access to high-quality video, CD-quality audio, and software downloads. This case profiles the company as it accelerates toward launch, focusing on several business model design issues: 1) should the company distribute initially through TV stations, satellites, or cable partners?; 2) should Geocast emphasize content delivery or e-commerce offerings (e.g., the digital download of MP3 files and eBooks)?; or 3) should it subsidize the initial purchase of its hardware and/or charge a subscription fee for access to its service?

Keywords: Business Model; Customer Value and Value Chain; Entrepreneurship; Venture Capital; Information Management; Technological Innovation; Marketing Channels; Corporate Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Web Services Industry;

Citation:

Eisenmann, Thomas R., Christina L. Darwall, and Elizabeth Kind. "Geocast Network Systems, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 801-211, November 2000.