As tech goliaths like Apple and Facebook get ready to burn through billions of dollars on motion pictures and TV, long-time Hollywood official Jeffrey Katzenberg is hoping to keep in touch with some enormous checks for unique content, as well.
Katzenberg started his career at Paramount Pictures, where he brainstormed on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But he is best known for running Disney’s film division during the late 1980s and mid-1990s that saw the arrival of works like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” He went on to co-found DreamWorks Animation, which was obtained a year ago by NBCUniversal.
Katzenberg disclosed to The New York Times that he’s building another organization that will cultivate short videos for cell phones and tablets. The name of the organization is WndrCo, whose website describes it as “a new media and technology company” that is situated in Los Angeles and San Francisco. “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,” Katzenberg said of the big networks.
An administrative filing from early this year uncovered that WndrCo had effectively raised $591 million. He needs to make huge, costly creations at a cost of $100,000 a minute. (In comparison, a high delivered moment of programming on YouTube may cost $10,000.) And he needs to draw in A-list personalities for both in front of and behind the camera. That is one reason the financing ask is a little high: Hollywood heavyweights can’t be persuaded to do 10-minute video bits unless they are paid what they are used to being paid.
With all the money he wishes to spend, Katzenberg is hoping to create new content. He said it’s critically important to own the distribution platform as well: “Content is the king maker; it’s not the king. The king is the platform. HBO is the king. Netflix is the king. Spotify is the king.”