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Six start-ups present ideas at Turner, Warner Bros. media camp

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Warner Bros.'s Media Camp ended Monday with six start-ups presenting their ideas at 'demo day'

Twelve weeks ago, six start-ups from around the world came to Warner Bros. Entertainment in Burbank with one common goal: to develop products for the entertainment industry.

As participants of Media Camp, an accelerator program led by Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros that began in 2012, representatives of the start-ups worked alongside studio executives and attended workshops and mentoring sessions. Each start-up was also given $20,000 to kickstart their efforts.

On Monday, the start-ups presented their ideas to potential investors and industry leaders at the camp's culminating "demo day."

"We initiated Media Camp because we see value in building relationships and close ties to the entrepreneurial community for a number of reasons," said Debra Baker, senior vice president of global business development at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

"Not the least of which is that there are a lot of smart entrepreneurs who can move very quickly to build platforms or products that can help us in our business.... If what they do is great, then it’s a win for the entire industry."

Here's a roundup of the start-ups and what they pitched on demo day:

Sidevision

Headed by Chief Executive Justin Wu, the start-up created a platform that helps content creators monetize their videos through e-commerce and advertising.

The company tracks analytics and uses merchandise and video integration to "bridge the gap between e-commerce and video," Wu said. 

"Shopping online is boring -- you see static images that you have to scroll through," said Sidevision co-founder Ying Ying Lin. "Our experience focuses on engaging audience more through video."

Portal Entertainment

If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, how would he tell a story? Portal Entertainment CEO Julian McCrea said he doesn't think it would be through film. Three years ago, with that thought in mind, McCrea launched the British company.

In 2013, the company launched its first interactive thriller for the iPad called "The Craftsman." The app is a story told in real time for a five-day period, and whoever is in control of the iPad is the main character.

Using a platform called Immersion, the app is able to measure the user's facial expressions. It then personalizes the content experience based on the user's reaction.

McCrea said the company is now developing two projects with Warner Bros.: a horror digital series for mobile devices and a five-minute horror attraction for virtual-reality devices.

Bubbl

"Discover, snip, share and retrieve."

That's the goal of the mobile and Web-based video editing tool created by Bubbl. The company's tool enables users to grab clips from their favorite videos and share them with people in their social networks.

CEO Mauhan Zonoozy said the company wants to improve how premium content is experienced on mobile devices.

"Like every enormous vision, it started with Tom Cruise," joked Zonoozy, showing the audience a clip from the film "Minority Report," in which Cruise is touching things on a screen using special gloves. 

"I sat there and was like, 'I don't know how to make those gloves, but I would love to touch streaming video,' " Zonoozy said.

Zonoozy said the company's app will launch this month.

Wisemetrics

Although most companies use descriptive analytics to help companies improve their social media presence, Wisemetrics CEO Stephane Allard said the French company opts to go beyond that.

"We use predictive analytics. We tell you what will happen and what you should do about it," he said. "Great content doesn't count for much if no one sees it."

Allard said the start-up aims to help companies have the content they put on social media "rise above the clutter."

Incoming Media

The start-up aims to "fix the mobile viewing experience" using predictive analytics and content preloading.

Based in Australia and Santa Clara, Calif., the company created technology that is like a digital video recorder but for mobile platforms. 

"It's better than the DVR that you have on your TV," CEO Adam Tom said. "Our software goes in and looks at all the content associated with that app and finds content that you'll like and be interested in."

It also sends users push notifications at optimal times based on user behavior to "re-engage" fans.

Toggle

The company created a "physical key to unlock digital content": A Wi-Fi-enabled HDMI device that can be plugged into TVs. It enables users to easily stream content from cloud accounts.

"It's plug and play," said Toggle CEO Adam Johnson, who thought of the idea while at last year's media camp with a different company. "You can't sync other devices to make it complicated. The remote control is included. Apps come embedded."

For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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