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Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman Unveil Subscription for Short-Form Video Service

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s much-scrutinized streaming-video project is months away from launch, but the executives already know how much the new content would cost subscribers.

NewTV, incubated by Katzenberg and held by his WndrCo, will seek to charge subscribers $5 per month for content with ads and $8 per month for an ad-free experience on the new service, Whitman said during a presentation at a conference Tuesday organized by AT&T, whose WarnerMedia is an investor in the company.

The pair said they expected to reveal a formal name for the project in coming weeks. Launch of the new service is expected in late 2019 or “the start of 2020,” Whitman said. The company expects to distribute a premium lineup of original, short-form series comprising episodes of 10 minutes each, sometimes less.

Whitman suggested the company would seek to run advertising that was cinematic in nature and told bigger stories that viewers would choose to see, not have thrown into their feeds.

The executives believe a new generation of content-seekers is ready to embrace short-length programming, while still demanding high quality. NewTV will feature a range of scripted and unscripted shows, including sitcoms, dramas, reality and documentaries; it won’t include any live TV.

“There are multiple ‘in between’ moments over the course of your day,” said Katzenberg, where such programming might be welcome.

WndrCo recently announced that it secured a $1 billion seed-funding round for NewTV. Backers include a who’s who of Hollywood studios: Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV and Entertainment One. Tech investors include Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group; strategic investors include VC firm Madrone Capital Partners, which led the round, along with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and John Malone’s Liberty Global. The funding officially closed July 31.

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