Hollywood took another step closer to Silicon Valley today.
San Francisco-based venture capital firm Benchmark is investing a Series A round into a new "creative accelerator" founded by film and TV heavyweights Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
The Academy Award-winning duo founded Imagine Impact in September 2018 to bring new voices to an entertainment industry that can be difficult to break into.
"The old way of sourcing talent in the entertainment industry is based on who you know, which presents high barriers-to-entry for the fresh voices we need to hear from," Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley said in a statement. "Impact is knocking down these barriers through a marketplace model that reduces information asymmetry and levels the playing field. Ultimately this leads to more opportunities and better outcomes for everyone involved."
Ficto, a cross between Quibi, Netflix and a video game that is set to launch next month, got a big boost this week when LG announced the app would come preloaded on 1.3 million of its new double-screened LG Wing smartphones.
The deal should help Ficto stand out from the competition by (literally) putting it in people's hands.
The mobile streaming service set to launch in October will focus on shows that leverage the smartphone's unique features, bringing to them a heavy dose of interactivity and social engagement. It also offers some brands, like LG, product placement and a degree of creative control in their shows. "Snoop 16," an interactive gameshow hosted by Long Beach native Snoop Dogg, will debut as one of the streamer's original programs.
Ranker has made a profitable business of crowdsourcing lists and rankings on everything from action movies to ice cream flavors. Now, it wants to sell that data.
The Los Angeles-based media company announced this week it has surpassed 1 billion user votes for its lists and with that data will launch Ranker Insights, a new service targeting the marketers, studios and entertainment platforms vying for consumers' attention in a crowded online space.