The rapidly changing media landscape, can make it difficult for startup enterprises to make inroads into the industry.
Balaji Gopinath, vice president of emerging technology with the Audience & Multi-Platform Technologies (AMPT) group for Turner Broadcasting System Inc., will moderate today’s Super Session “Start-Ups: Powering the Media Metamorphosis,” 2:30–3:45 p.m.

Gopinath is also the founder of Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp, which specifically trains people to find ways to successfully integrate their startups into the established media business world.

Gopinath will preside over a unique panel of individuals known for their maverick start-up enterprises. The panel is composed of several Media Camp graduates and SPROCKIT participants. SPROCKIT is a new NAB Show program that will give market-ready startup companies the opportunity to present their enterprise to media and entertainment executives.

Both Media Camp and SPROCKIT are built on the concept of an “accelerator” to quickly bring new enterprises to media industry.
“‘Accelerator’ is a new term for a nuclear incubator, whereby startups come into the incubator to learn and accelerate their business models,” Gopinath said. “Media Camp was the first to be designed around media specifically.”

Media Camp brings in promising people with innovative startup initiatives and mixes them with influential media executives to get their ideas to market quickly. The SPROCKIT program at NAB Show follows this model by allowing selected innovators to present their emerging businesses to influential media professionals.

What all of the panelists share are bright ideas with promise. For example, Media Camp graduate Brett Welch is CEO and cofounder of Switchcam, a new video site for discovering and watching concert videos.

SPROCKIT participant Melinda Wittstock is the founder of NewsiT, an innovative mobile platform that allows people to customize and participate in newsgathering.

Other Media Camp panelists include Ranvir Gujral, cofounder, Chute; Guy Piekarz, founder and CEO, Matcha; and Brett Welch, CEO, Switchcam.

SPROCKET panelists also include Raj Aggarwal, CEO, Localytics; and Mike Folgner, CEO and cofounder, SnappyTV;

The panel mix is noteworthy, as it allows a discussion of case studies that worked along with those that are seeking success.

“Half of the panelists … are graduates of the Media Camp Academy,” Gopinath said. “In our Media Camp they learned about the media business from the inside out — distributions models, advertising models, infrastructure — and how to take their business to the next level. They all represent some unique value in the media chain.”

Media Camp and SPROCKIT represent a response to a problem: the new media landscape is challenged so much by change and disruption that there are few business models that work for very long.

But this unruly process can be turned into a new opportunity for people to enter the industry.

“The dilemma that a lot of media companies face today is how to break through the mold; how to find ways to develop new sources of revenue; pivot your business models; and really understand how you work in an ecosystem of startups that is designed to almost disrupt you,” Gopinath said. “This is a way to embrace that disruption in a more positive way instead of being fearful of it. And then help use the energy and minds of the startups to move our industry in a different way.”

This Super Session promises to offer lively and illuminating insights about how to turn new ideas into viable media enterprises. The format will be interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions and engage with the panelists. The focus will be on developing a model for getting innovators into the industry.

“I hope one will come away with an understanding that there are different ways to address the innovator’s dilemma,” Gopinath said. “This is one of many, and one that has proven to be successful by our Media Camp. It is a model many could consider embracing as they try to figure out what the future looks like.”

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