The figures are in, and streaming TV is getting more popular year-on-year. But is there potential to freshen up the formula? If the incredible funding NewTV has received is anything to go by, the answer seems to be an emphatic ‘yes.’
NewTV – which I should stress is a working title – has generated an incredible amount of buzz in the US, with its planned offering of short six to 10-minute bite-sized programs aimed at smartphone users.
Variety reports that the founders, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, have successfully sold a huge number of Hollywood studios on the idea, with initial seed funding to the tune of $1 billion – a ridiculously large amount for an initial round.
Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Viacom, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV and Entertainment have all reportedly given the project their backing.
Aiming to launch before the end of next year, NewTV plans to have a number of mini-series made up of short 10-minute episodes across genres: sitcoms, dramas and documentaries are all on the table.
The subscription model would provide two tiers: an ad-free level, and an ad-light tier.
“We don’t consider this competitive with Hulu, or HBO, or Netflix, or the networks,” Katzenberg told Variety. “It’s a completely different use case.”
It is, but not an idea wholly without precedent – not just with the popularity of YouTube, but within large media companies as well. Last year, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson caused a small stir by suggesting Game of Thrones could be cut down for mobile consumption.
“Think about things like Game of Thrones. In a mobile environment, a 60-minute episode might not be the best experience,” he said. “Maybe you want a 20-minute episode.”
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Of course, all of this is just guesswork, with companies and executives forecasting future consumer behaviour based on their 2018 habits. Whether NewTV takes off amongst the audiences Katzenberg and Whitman hopes, depends very much on the depth and quality of the content when it launches in 2019.
Do you like the idea of bite-sized mobile TV, or are you happy with the full-length shows we enjoy now? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.