Mary Ann Meoldy, NAB Show Daily News
SPROCKIT sprang to life at the 2013 NAB Show and tangible results of the program’s success can be found everywhere on the show floor, in meeting rooms across the Las Vegas Convention Center and beyond the doors of the NAB Show.
Led by Harry Glazer, founder and CEO of SPROCKIT, the idea is to help up-and-coming companies partner with “older and wiser” industry entrepreneurs who have developed solutions for current industry trends.
“SPROCKIT participants are hand-selected because they have created a solution or service addressing challenges facing the media and entertainment industry,” Glazer said.
The mutual relationship between participant and sponsor is a win-win for both sides, Glazer said, and often leads to success.
“Leading organizations are looking for innovative technologies to help further their businesses, and emerging companies are looking
for media influencers to partner with,” he said. “SPROCKIT is a way to bring the two together and foster conversations needed to shape the future of the industry.”
A number of corporate members will participate for the first time at this year’s show, including Graham Media Group, Media General,
Meredith, Pearl TV, Raycom Media and the E.W. Scripps Co. They join SPROCKIT corporate member veterans AARP, Comcast, Cox Media, Disney/ABC Television Group, Gannett Broadcasting, Google, Hearst Television and Univision Communications Inc.
“NAB Show is the ultimate forum for discovering ways to shape the ever-evolving media and entertainment industry, and SPROCKIT is
an important part of that objective,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “Over the past two years, we’ve seen entrepreneurs and traditional media companies come together through SPROCKIT to discuss current issues, explore new solutions and form partnerships that have helped improve the content experience and propel startups to success.”
Indeed, past SPROCKIT participants have recently announced exciting advances and opportunities, some a direct result of relationships formed with SPROCKIT corporate members.
This includes Cognitive Networks (2014 NAB Show), a Smart TV platform that recently announced $14.5 million in funding from a number of investors, including Hearst Ventures, a division of Hearst Corp. Watchup (2014 NAB Show), a startup that delivers personalized newscasts to Internet-video devices, raised $2.75 million in funding, some of it by Tribune Media, a 2014 corporate member.
SocialNewsDesk (2014 NAB Show) offers a social media platform designed for newsrooms and was recently acquired by Graham
Media Group. SnappyTV (2013 NAB Show) is a platform for live clipping, editing and distribution of high-quality video, recently acquired by Twitter.
In the sports arena, Whistle Sports (2013 NAB Show) is a cross-platform sports content network that boasts more than 2.6 billion
views of its content with more than 50 million followers on social media platforms across the network since its debut. It recently announced it received $28 million in funding, led by some of
the world’s largest international cable providers.
Kim Wilson, SocialNewsDesk president and founder, said SPROCKIT places new companies in the right place at the right time.
“SPROCKIT is like a conference within a conference,” Wilson said. “It features amazing speakers, panels and the coolest, hottest startups in the broadcast space. SocialNewsDesk has closed numerous deals, including our own acquisition, following conversations that took place on the SPROCKIT show floor.”
SPROCKIT has featured 37 startups since its debut three years ago. Glazer said when considering potential startups each year, SPROCKIT examines “participants who are offering innovative,
market-ready technologies that are already gaining traction and positively benefitting their respective clients and audiences.”
This pairs nicely, he said, with corporate members who have already identified some of the industry’s biggest challenges.
NAB Show provides the startups with unmatched access to the corporate members, which in turn provides a nurturing atmosphere
to help establish connections and foster collaboration. Each participant meets one-on-one during the show with corporate members and presents its wares in the SPROCKIT Hub. After
the show, participants and corporate members meet again for SPROCKIT Sync, a round of private meetings in Silicon Valley, New York and Los Angeles.