An Incubator Just For Media Startups: Turner’s Media Camp Accelerator Gets Underway

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Earlier this spring, Turner Broadcasting announced that it would be launching an incubator, called Media Camp, specifically for startups in the media space. In March, it put out a call for applications, looking to find some startups to join its 12-week program. Now, after an extensive search, it’s ready to announce the lucky six companies that will gain access to a bit of funding and some legal and administrative support — but more importantly, they’ll also get help from mentors in navigating the tricky media world.

In most cases, Media Camp is no different from most other incubators: Companies accepted into the program get an investment of about $20,000 in exchange for a maximum 6 percent of equity. In exchange, they get 12 weeks of administrative and legal help, participate in weekly dinners, and get one-on-one mentorship from executives in the media industry.

It’s that last point which sets Media Camp apart from the rest of the incubator crowd: Rather than focus on startups in a particular locale, Turner’s accelerator was launched to help technology companies learn how to work with big media conglomerates. That’s important, because frankly, Silicon Valley types usually have no idea how to navigate the Hollywood world of wheeling and dealing and all the egos and crap that go with it.

The Media Camp crew originally set out to start the program with five media-focused startups. But after reviewing hundreds of applications and based on the quality of those who applied, it decided to let one more company participate than it originally anticipated. According to David Austin, Senior Director of Emerging Technologies at Media Camp, they were chosen mostly because each had a technology that Turner could see wanting to use, or finding a partner who would want to use it.

Interestingly, many of the startups chosen for the Media Camp program had previously participated in other incubators, or had founders that are serial entrepreneurs. Chute is a Y Combinator alum, while Switchcam went through the 500 Startups Accelerator and Showbucks was at the Founders Den.

That will be an advantage for all involved, Austin told me. Rather than spending the first three weeks going over Startups 101, the companies will begin the hard work of building up media relationships early on. And since it’s part of Turner, the Media Camp team will be able to make connections not just within the broadcasting group, but also through other parts of parent company Time Warner.

So anyway, below are the first five six companies to go through the Media Camp accelerator. Demo day is in mid-September.

  • Chute – A platform to enable publishers, brands, and app developers to seamlessly add any photo or video functionality to their apps or sites. Chute handles the entire backend from uploading, image processing, and API integrations, to features like moderation, commenting, and sharing.
  • Matcha – A social discovery application that helps users find movies and follow TV Shows across digital video services such as Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and more. Matcha’s guide aggregates 200,000 premium titles with social elements and a proprietary recommendation engine to create a more personalized experience.
  • Showbucks – Develops fun and engaging apps that combine social video with social games.
  • Socialize – A social platform that enables users to influence each other, even when they aren’t connected on a social network. Its technology predicts user intent by mapping an interest graph across users and content.
  • SocialSamba – A social storytelling platform that enables fans to “friend” their favorite fictional characters, and share personalized stories with them.
  • Switchcam – Creates interactive video experiences that allow viewers to direct the show. Syncs up and combines fan footage with professional footage, letting fans can experience browse and navigate events from multiple points of view.

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