You Got Your Palm In My Sputnik; You Got Your Sputnik In My Palm—Two Great Ventures In One
Always playing the role of maverick, mogul Chris Blackwell will merge his film-music outfit Palm Pictures into his online company Sputnik 7, substantiating a faith in the Internet's potential that the music pioneer has held since his 1997 exit from Island Records, the label he founded 41 years ago.

Blackwell told Palm staffers of his intentions Friday (11/17) after a series of film personnel changes over the last few weeks that rocked his companies. Earlier this month, L.A.-based production executive and longtime Blackwell collaborator Dan Genetti was laid off, as was acquisition executive Rama Dunayavitch, according to Inside.com. In an unrelated move, Palm's head of theatrical distribution Greg Forston left the company to join cable network IFC, the online news service reports. Palm/Sputnik film activities are expected to be run by David Koh, who joined the company in March as head of acquisitions and co-productions.

Launched in 1998, Blackwell's Palm was his return to the industry after well-publicized disagreements with Island-parent PolyGram's top dog Alain Levy, resulting in Blackwell's 1997 departure.

The company has experienced moderate success through its 1998 acquisition of Ryko Distribution (including the Rykodisc label), and its Manga division, which distributes Japanese animation titles. Recently though, Palm's film operations have been Internet intensive, best illustrated by the 25 shorts the company purchased that are slated to be shown exclusively on Sputnik 7, the audio-visual music and entertainment online site that Blackwell launched in 1999.