Former Walt Disney Studios chairman and co-founder of DreamWorks Jeffrey Katezenberg wants to turn video consumption into reading a Dan Brown novel.
At least, that’s what he recently told reporters at Cannes Lions International Festival, according to Quartz. With his new company, WndrCo, Katzenberg aims to make TV-style content for mobile formats. He’s going to do that, he revealed, by putting out shows with six to 10-minute episodes, perfect for the time it takes to get from point A to point B on the subway or wait for a friend who’s late for a dinner date.
Katzenberg likened this to a novel such as The Da Vinci Code because of its many, short chapters. As he told Quartz, authors like Brown “reinvented the consumption of a novel—they didn’t reinvent the novel.”
WndrCo has been underway for months, with Katzenberg having procured around $600 million to found the company as of January 2017. He plans to invest in other tech and media companies through WndrCo and tap partners who will be adept at reinventing TV, presumably by looking to people with experience in both traditional and new media. So far, Katzenberg has been in talks with Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams as well as Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
The case for Katzenberg’s “new TV” is that traditional TV viewing has been steadily declining, especially among younger audiences. Nielsen’s Total Audience Report from Q4 2016 showed that weekly TV hours decreased yet again for 18 to 24 year-olds, a downward trend that has been going on for years. Meanwhile, viewership on smartphones and TV-connected devices has continued to rise.
Though Katzenberg has yet to announce a revenue model for a new video service, he is considering many options, including ad-supported and product placement. “Everything is on the table,” he said at Cannes.