Jeffrey Katzenberg wants TV shows to get a lot shorter

CANNES, France — Jeffrey Katzenberg has seen the future of TV, and shows are going to be a lot shorter than they used to be.

The Hollywood mogul, who has raised $600 million in venture capital to bankroll a slew of digital assets, said he’ll be focusing his cash on what he calls “new TV” — mobile-friendly, bite-size videos that typically last between five and seven minutes.

Just like “Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown created lots of very short chapters for his blockbuster book, Katzenberg says the premium TV business will create TV shows, but in bits that consumers can enjoy in smaller breaks.

“Game of Thrones, game shows, reality shows, the news, talk shows,” Katzenberg told a crowd at the Cannes Lions marketing festival Thursday. “There ought to be a version rearchitected to be consumed in a different way… That’s the next big opportunity.”

To make it happen, the former Disney Studios chairman said he’s met with 150 creative talents, including JJ Abrams and “La La Land’s” director, Damien Chazelle.

Katzenberg said the economics of “new TV” will be very different. People haven’t been making fortunes creating short shows for YouTube, but they could make a great living from what he termed “Pro-UGC,” or professionally made user generated content, that could cost anywhere from $500 per minute to $5,000 per minute.

He added that subscription video shows cost around $200,000 per minute, with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” at the top, costing around $300,000 per minute by comparison.

After selling DreamWorks Animation to Comcast last year for $3.8 billion, Kaztenberg raised his $600 million under the umbrella of WondrCo., a firm he created with seven staff.

Katzenberg appeared in one-on-one interview with media consultant Michael Kassan at Cannes Lions on Thursday.

“What we’re setting out to do is, in a way, to follow the playbook of the greatest mentor of my career, Barry Diller,” Katzenberg said. “He still calls me ‘Little Jeffrey.’”

Katzenberg said he admires the billionaire’s tech-and-media firm, InterActiveCorp., whose strategy is based on “the intersection of the internet and content, and it is one of the most entrepreneurial success stories.”

“We’d like to find four or five companies over the next five years and build it into the next IAC or the next Liberty Media,” Katzenberg told the audience of advertising executives.


Leave a Reply