When Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook and went looking for investors, his so-called first round of financing was for $1 million. When Travis Kalanick sought financing for Uber, he persuaded investors to ante up $1.25 million. Reed Hastings of Netflix raised $2.2 million.
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s idea of fund-raising is on a very different scale.
Mr. Katzenberg, the longtime Hollywood executive and co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, is trying to raise $2 billion for his new television start-up. That is likely to be the largest first round of financing in history for a digital media company that, at least at the moment, is only a concept swirling around in his head.
The huge price tag has not stopped virtually every large media and technology company — Apple, CBS, Disney, Google, Spotify and Verizon among them — from taking meetings with Mr. Katzenberg. And several Wall Street private equity firms are circling. The Hollywood parlor game of who is going to invest first has already begun. He is looking for big checks.
Mr. Katzenberg, 66, is convinced that his new product, called New TV, can upend the format of television for mobile devices. He wants to create the next-generation version of HBO or Netflix, purpose-built for viewing on phones and tablets with short-form content of premium quality — think of “Game of Thrones” as if each episode had a narrative arc of 10 minutes.
He wants to create big, expensive productions at a cost of $100,000 a minute. (For the sake of comparison, a highly produced minute of programming on YouTube might cost $10,000.) And he wants to attract A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera. That’s one reason the financing ask is so high: Hollywood heavyweights cannot be convinced to do 10-minute video snippets unless they are paid what they are accustomed to being paid.
(Excerpt) Read More in: The New York Times