A bite-size original premium digital video company is coming your way -- in a big way. Is that what the media world is looking for? Maybe beleaguered traditional TV networks are sensing opportunity.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman and former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg -- two veteran tech and movie/TV executives respectively -- are starting a new video company for the mobile world.
And we did say big. A collective $1 billion in investment from virtually all major media content companies, as well as tech companies and some banks speak volumes.
Here’s the pitch: In talking to CNBC, Whitman, who will be CEO, NewTV (a working title), says the effort is “for easy on-the-go mobile viewing and allows top talent in Hollywood to tell stories in an entirely new way.”
She adds: “We’re going to use the money for content and help those storytellers tell stories in a new way, which is going to be premium content delivered in bite-sized formats.”
So no hour-long dramas or half-hour comedies? Much of the internet video efforts started this way, mini-TV series on internet websites, with episodes running anywhere from eight minutes to 12 minutes long.
Whitman and Katzenberg are targeting a small piece of the hour or so a day average consumers spent watching short-form video content. “What we want to do is to grab about 20 minutes of that time,” says Katzenberg, chairman-founder of New TV, on CNBC. This could be approximately 10 minutes an episode. Whitman says the potential audience is huge: 2 billion people a day viewing mobile.
Apparently, all this would be more cost effective than typical hour-long or half-hour long TV content -- which Katzenberg says for typical scripted television comes to $100,000 a minute.
And what about the competition? Only 10% of Netflix and Hulu programming is seen on mobile devices, says Katzenberg. And even then, that content is not optimized for mobile.
The hurdle for many — the Internet has a glut of short-form video content already -- YouTube user-generated, as well as different quality levels of short-form video content. Katzenberg says what it will deliver will be “exceptional.”
Analysts says consumers already have too much long-form premium TV content from traditional networks. While this isn’t direct competition, it could have an effect.
Still, look at NewTV investors: Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Fox, Viacom, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM and ecommerce company Alibaba, companies heavily invested in existing long-form TV content.
If successful, all this means more legacy TV disruption for everyone. It's bite-size TV for hungry media companies on a diet.