Entertainment Going Mobile

It was recently reported that Jeffrey Katzenberg, former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, is attempting to raise $2 billion for a new venture that will create short film and TV episodes designed specifically for the mobile phone.

His new vision, called New TV, will completely redesign the traditional TV segment into a 10-minute short segment meant to suit the unique characteristics of mobile devices.

His idea, as reported by The New York Times, is to get A-list stars to play in these short clips that would run for around $100,000 per piece in production costs. The thought is to create the same high-quality content that one would get in the movies or TV and adapt it to mobile devices, with the business model relying heavily on subscription services and advertising. That’s similar to how most content is monetized over mobile.

“This is literally a true moment in time here in which we’re going to create a new form, a new format, a new platform, new content and we’re going to supply that content and we’re going to let them grab what ultimately will be the biggest value here by owning the platform,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg.

So is Katzenberg’s big idea a signal for an industry change that will inevitably occur in the entertainment world—modifying a format to better fit the new mobile audience base?

Mobile is quickly becoming entertainment’s center of the universe. The mobile infrastructure is being built to accommodate this change-—and between the 5G and cyber optic networks being laid down, mobile video streaming is soon to become the way to distribute new shows, movies, live concerts, sports events, etc. Understanding the mobile audience is important, and catering to a group of young professionals who can buy expensive devices, afford pricier plans, and pay for content subscriptions, and who also spend much time on the go, is crucial to developing good mobile content. This generation will no longer compare traditional TV to mobile entertainment— mobile entertainment may be all that they know.

One caveat, though, is the price of producing and distributing this content, as can be seen with Katzenberg’s lofty fundraising goals. The entertainment industry has yet to come up with a clear successful model that utilizes mobile to release new titles or distribute new show content, mainly due to a traditional approach to advertising unsuccessfully applied to mobile devices. The entertainment industry needs to collaborate with technology vendors and mobile carriers who possess the know-how and the user data to ensure that top-quality content gets to the right eyes.

His idea seems to be right on par with where his audience base is; however, making sure the execution is right will be key. When it comes to mobile, yes, quality is important, but so is understanding the ins and outs of mobile—the unique technology, the ever-changing audience demographics, and the new advertising methods will all be on a new learning curve for Katzenberg. He may be good at production, but does he know his mobile?

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