Warner Bros. has selected five start-up companies for its inaugural media camp, which will provide early-stage companies with seed money, training and entertainment expertise over a 12-week period. But the sprawling Hollywood studio may be the one with the most to gain.
Companies like Reelhouse, which helps filmmakers self-distribute their films, and Cinecore, which improves production workflow, will work with executives like Thomas Gewecke, Warner Bros.' recently promoted chief digital officer, at the inaugural camp.
Warner Bros. will get a small stake in those companies, along with something far more valuable – an unfettered look at how a new crop of companies are approaching entertainment.
Dealflicks, a ticket service company, Kumbuya, a social media company, and Storytime Studios will also participate in the camp, modeled on a similar Turner Broadcasting program last year.
Debra Baker, SVP of global business development at the studio's home entertainment division, believes that these companies can help the studio become more nimble and adapt to changing consumer tastes.
"These are businesses that can truly enhance and build new opportunities for us," Baker told TheWrap.
Hollywood talent agency UTA, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and USC launched an accelerator earlier this year, but Barber believes by bringing that kind of program in-house it can expose Warner Bros. to new technologies and new ways of approaching a business it has been in for more than 100 years.
Warners has arranged for executives like domestic distribution EVP Jeff Goldstein and Warner Bros. TV marketing chief Lisa Gregorian to work with the start-ups.
"They get to foster, mentor and hear the concerns and needs of start-ups working in the fast-moving entrepreneurial style," she said. "That makes us better as a company."