Turner Broadcasting is the latest network with a major social TV announcement. The Atlanta-headquartered TV powerhouse that includes TBS, TNT and CNN announced their inaugural “Media Camp” — an accelerator for social TV startups (applications had opened up at SXSW). This is a smart move for the network to be able to tap into the potential success of these companies beyond just partnering with them. We spoke with David Austin, Senior Director of Emerging Technology for Turner and one of the Media Camp directors about the six startups they’ve selected.
These social TV startups will have access to executives across Turner, receive a comprehensive curriculum on media-specific topics and receive up to $20,000 investment each. But more important, they’ll have the opportunity to commercialize their business to Turner’s entertainment, news, sports and animation networks, including CNN, Cartoon Network and TNT — and gain access to vendors, as well.
Lost Remote: What’s the accelerator and why was it created?
David Austin: Media Camp, an initiative of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), is a startup accelerator fostering innovations in media and surrounding technologies through education, best practices and unparalleled access to leaders in the media, entertainment and technology worlds.
From our past experience in the media industry, we observed that startup companies must jump over tremendous hurdles to do business with media companies. These hurdles include the lack of understanding of business operations in a media company, no prior knowledge of selling into a media company, and lack of connections with executives in media companies. Media Camp is designed to address some of these core challenges by providing access and best practices to startup teams.
LR: How is social TV involved?
Austin: All of the companies chosen for the first class of the Media Camp Academy have aspects of social in their DNA. This is a clear trend in technology companies that are targeting the media business.
LR: Who are the companies that were chosen and why were they chosen?
Chute’s platform enables publishers, brands, and app developers to seamlessly add any photo or video functionality to their apps or sites. Chute handles the entire backend from uploading, image processing, and API integrations, to features like moderation, commenting, and sharing.
Matcha is the easiest way to find the best Movies and follow your favorite TV Shows across digital video services such as Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and more, in one place. Matcha’s guide goes beyond aggregating 200,000 premium titles and adds rich social elements and a proprietary recommendation engine to create a robust, personalized video experience.
Showbucks develops fun and engaging apps that combine social video with social games.
Socialize believes people strongly influence each other even when they aren’t ‘friends.’ Anyone who shares a common interest is influenced by others with that same interest. Socialize is creating a social platform that can predict user intent by mapping an interest graph across users and content.
SocialSamba is the leading social storytelling platform, enabling fans to “friend” their favorite fictional characters, and experience personalized stories with them. SocialSamba has served more than half a million scripted social experiences to fans.
Switchcam creates interactive video experiences that allow the viewers to direct the show. By syncing and combining fan footage with professional footage, fans can experience events, concerts and sporting games like never before.
LR: What does each company have to do?
Austin: Show up – learn – cross pollinate – grow.
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