finance

Major media companies invest $1 billion in a new TV venture led by Jeff Katzenberg and Meg Whitman


Film producer and CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG Jeffrey Katzenberg poses with the character Shrek for photographers during a media event before the evening's premier of "Shrek the Third," June 7, 2007, in Paris.

Tony Barson | WireImage | Getty Images

Film producer and CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG Jeffrey Katzenberg poses with the character Shrek for photographers during a media event before the evening’s premier of “Shrek the Third,” June 7, 2007, in Paris.

Disney, Alibaba and Comcast‘s NBCUniversal are part of a $1 billion financing round for a new video streaming service, led by ex-Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and ex-Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and designed specifically for mobile viewing.

The product, temporarily called NewTV, will “access the best talent and intellectual property for this next era in entertainment,” Katzenberg, chairman and founder of NewTV, said in a statement.

Katzenberg and his investors, which also include Fox, Viacom, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM and others, are banking on an untapped audience that craves high-quality content designed for smartphones and tablets. Bloomberg reported in May that a NewTV series will cost about $5 million to $6 million per hour with individual episodes that run about 15 minutes.

The investment announcement comes on the heels of Verizon shutting down its go90 mobile streaming service after it failed to gain traction with the public. The conceit of that product was also to provide quality video series for a mobile audience.

“With NewTV, we’ll give consumers a user-friendly platform, built for mobile, that delivers the best stories, created by the world’s top talent, allowing users to make the most of every moment of their day,” said Whitman, NewTV’s CEO, in a statement.

NewTV’s platform is owned by Katzenberg’s holding company WndrCo.

CNBC’s Julia Boorstin contributed to this report.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.



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