Hollywood looks at mobile apps like Angry Birds and Pull The Rope, and sees franchises built around characters and a new form of story telling. It is a little bit threatening, but it is also a little bit exciting. Telling stories is what Hollywood does best. Those writers and computer graphics artists down in LA could really show mobile app developers a thing or two if only they knew how to develop mobile apps.
Enter Creative Mobile Labs, a new startup backed by talent agency CAA and Qualcomm. It will be based in LA. The company is being announced today, and a CEO, executives, and engineers are being hired. The concept is to bring together the Hollywood talent CAA represents (writers, directors, graphics artists) who are brimming with ideas for mobile apps but don’t know how to execute them with mobile app developers, and vice versa. Qualcomm will help on the engineering front. The investment is being made through its Qualcomm Services Labs which is creating a number of its own mobile apps. The funding amount is not being disclosed.
So will Creative Mobile Labs just put out the same kind of Hollywood apps that litter the App Store: rock band fan apps and movie character derivatives? Michael Yanover, who heads up business development for CAA, says that is not the plan: “We really want to dispel the notion that these apps are celebrity driven or simply meant as companions to existing proidcuts. We want to create new apps, new franchises.”
Thankfully, the startup’s strategy wil not be to license characters from movie studios and put them into mobile games and other apps. “I don’t think licensing characters from studios is affordable or even necessarily successful,” says Yanover. However, he does think that mobile apps are a great low-cost way to try out characters and story ideas which can then jump to other media. Imagine the next SpongeBob SquarePants starting life in a mobile app instead of directly on TV.