I just sat down with Arte Merritt, who recently started a great new job at Turner Broadcasting (owner of many channels you know like CNN, TNT, TBS, CartoonNetwork, etc). Arte's job is to help Turner get closer to innovative startups, and he's got cash to back it up.
Turner is the creator of some very forward-thinking brands in media -- back when CNN was launched, 24/7 news was a big departure from the standard evening news cycle. And Turner has continued to make bold moves in programming, recently picking up Conan O'Brien on TBS. But Turner wants to explore new and disruptive media distribution channels, and according to Artie, they figured there was no better group than scrappy technology entrepreneurs to help Turner regain a strong, innovative leadership position.
Just over six months ago, Turner opened a San Francisco office and has now ramped up MediaCamp, a twelve week accelerator program that includes a $20k cash component. Think Y Combinator-style mentorship combined with access to Turner's internal teams. Applications for MediaCamp are due on April 16th, so if you have a technology that could disrupt the media space and you're interested in applying, fill out the quick application (looks like it should take about 10 minutes) to be considered.
Here's a video of Arte laying the details of MediaCamp out, and why Turner's doing it:
Here's another picture of Arte at the interview:
My startup, Socialize, is a part of a great media accelerator sponsored byTurner Broadcasting called MediaCamp.
Turner has created MediaCamp specifically because it believes that it needs to be proactive in thinking about what disruptive technologies could affect its legacy line of businesses. It's definitely forward thinking of Turner to dedicate the resources necessary to fund an accelerator program, especially when its parent company, TimeWarner, made $29 billion in revenue and almost $3 billion in net income last year.
In fact, media companies face the classic Innovator's Dilemma: It's hard (impossible?) to dedicate meaningful resources and focus to technologies that aren't generating billions of dollars in revenue and income when the current business is a cash cow. Obviously, startups don't have this problem.
We've been having a spirited debate about the Innovator's Dilemma at Media Camp, and how Turner has been addressing it. But here's the thing I can't quite rationalize and understand: What's a meaningful disruption timeframe for a media company to plan around? And specifically, how does any company predict that timeframe to take meaningful action on it when they don't know what disruptive adoption curves might look like?
Welcome to 2014. For me, it feels like my year started in June. Being on a semester system in school, it feels like January-May was a totally different year.
It's been a bit exciting, if not grueling. I've grown a lot, but at the same time, I've fallen back towards resistance and am still struggling with Step 1 of How To Take Control of Your Life. When I let the biggest hindrance go, I start to look for something to fill the time with, and sadly, I fell back into it.
I was wrong about a ton of stuff this year, but I can also say I was also really right about a lot, too. I've probably made a ton of mistakes that are going to affect me in the long run, but the time to change my life is coming up one week into the New Year, so we'll see how it goes.
I think I'm struggling the most with a sense of direction. I know what I want to do in the long run, but right now, no options seem viable for my unique situation. Yes, maybe I'm a teenager convinced that I'm a special snowflake, but it's still difficult in the present. One of the best skills you can have is to look at your present hardship as how you do when you look at your hardship in hindsight.
All I can attest to doing this year is trying.