Instagram is moving to expand its presence in the realm of mobile video, with the launch of a new app, dubbed IGTV, increasing Instagram’s video time limit from one minute to 10 minutes for most users. (June 20)
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile TV venture has some big-name backers — to the tune of $1 billion.
WndrCo, the holding company co-founded two years ago by the former DreamWorks Animation CEO, said Tuesday it had closed an initial round of $1 billion in funding for NewTV, the Hollywood-quality mobile video project Katzenberg announced last year.
A who’s who of movie and TV studios took part in the funding round: Disney, Entertainment One, ITV, Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Sony Pictures, 21st Century Fox, Viacom and Warner Media. Also joining in was Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which over the last few years has acquired its own movie studio and online video and music streaming services.
NewTV, the working name for the startup, is Katzenberg’s plan for a high-tech, high-quality ecosystem for new and original mobile video content.
“It is exciting to see Hollywood embracing this new technology distribution platform built for the way we watch today,” Katzenberg said in a statement. “NewTV will access the best talent and intellectual property for this next era in entertainment. We are already seeing tremendous interest from Hollywood’s top talent.”
Earlier this year, NewTV got a CEO: Meg Whitman, former CEO of computer storage and server company HPE. NewTV will have the benefit of bridging Silicon Valley’s tech savvy with Hollywood’s creative genius to create video content of 10 minutes or less, she says.
“With NewTV, we’ll give consumers a user-friendly platform, built for mobile, that delivers the best stories, created by the world’s top talent, allowing users to make the most of every moment of their day,” Whitman said in a statement.
Other investors included Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Liberty Global and Madrone Capital, which led the round.
NewTV is a startup from WndrCo, an incubator created by Katzenberg with former DreamWorks Animation COO Ann Daly and Dropbox CFO Sujay Jaswa after Comcast acquired DreamWorks Animation in April 2016.
Katzenberg co-founded business incubator WndrCo with former DreamWorks Animation COO Ann Daly and Dropbox CFO Sujay Jaswa after Comcast acquired the studio in 2016. Katzenberg co-founded DreamWorks in 1994 with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen; he served as DreamWorks Animation CEO after it spun off as a public company in 2004.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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