TV-for-phone start-up raises $1bn, Hollywood backing

August 7, 2018
Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg is raising funds for a start-up, NewTV, that aims to tailor television to smartphone lifestyles

Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg has raised $1 billion in initial funding for his NewTV start-up seeking to tailor television to smartphone lifestyles, pulling in Hollywood's biggest studios.

Disney, 21st Century Fox, MGM, Sony Pictures and Warner are among the investors in NewTV, a working name for the new company, Katzenberg's WndrCo company announced Tuesday.

Katzenberg, 67, co-founded DreamWorks in 1994 with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, overseeing production of hits such as "Shrek".

Before that, his stint at Disney spurred the studio's Renaissance with animation successes such as "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King".

He has brought on board Meg Whitman as NewTV's top executive. One of the most prominent women in Silicon Valley, she was chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise from 2011-2017 and of eBay, from 1998 to 2008.

Katzenberg will remain in charge of content.

NewTV, being nurtured into existence at WndrCo, envisions high-quality shows being custom-designed to be consumed in 'bite-sized' formats of 10 minutes or less on people's mobile phones.

No other platform has so far managed to monetize the format, other than through advertising, with the market flooded by free content dominated by the likes of Facebook and YouTube.

Whitman told television network CNBC that Hollywood studios were on board because the new platform is "a growth area" that would allow stories to be told "in an entirely new way."

She described the market as "enormous," estimating that two billion people spend an average of an hour a day looking at videos on their smartphones.

To develop a platform optimized for cell-phone use, NewTV has partnered with China's online sales giant, Alibaba.

NewTV's target launch is Christmas 2019, Whitman told CNBC.

Explore further: 'Bloom is off the rose' for 3D: DreamWorks CEO

Related Stories

Comcast ponders new bid for 21st Century Fox: US media

February 12, 2018

US cable company Comcast, which in December dropped an attempt to acquire 21st Century Fox, is considering relaunching that bid even though Walt Disney Co. has reached a deal, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Disney eyes deal for Maker Studios

March 12, 2014

Media and entertainment giant Disney is in talks to buy Maker Studios, one of the largest content providers for online video sharing website YouTube, a report said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

On-chip, electronically tunable frequency comb

March 18, 2019

Lasers play a vital role in everything from modern communications and connectivity to bio-medicine and manufacturing. Many applications, however, require lasers that can emit multiple frequencies—colors of light—simultaneously, ...

Alligator study reveals insight into dinosaur hearing

March 18, 2019

To determine where a sound is coming from, animal brains analyze the minute difference in time it takes a sound to reach each ear—a cue known as interaural time difference. What happens to the cue once the signals get to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.