Qualcomm, CAA partnership makes push for mobile developers

SAN DIEGO--Hollywood is once again making a play for the mobile industry. At the 2011 Uplinq conference here, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) CEO Paul Jacobs provided a few more details on the company's partnership with the Creative Artists Agency to form Creative Mobile Labs. The venture, which was announced in February, has been in stealth mode. It has just four employees, including CEO Matt Kozlov, and operates independently out of CAA's headquarters in Los Angeles.

Jacobs said that one of the reasons the company formed this partnership was because it had difficulty engaging the entertainment community with its technologies. He even used Qualcomm's now-defunct MediaFLO mobile TV venture as an example of an entertainment effort attempted by Qualcomm attempted that didn't prove fruitful. (AT&T (NYSE:T) has since proposed to purchase Qualcomm's MediaFLO spectrum for $1.93 billion. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval.)

Qualcomm's new strategy is to partner with players such as CAA. Although financial details of the partnership remain unclear, Jacobs said that the goal is to combine the storytellers of Hollywood--i.e., the writers--with mobile developers to create deeper and richer experiences for end users.

The two companies also envision developers using technologies such as augmented reality and contextual awareness to create innovative applications and mobile experiences.

In an interview with FierceMobileContent, Kozlov, a former Sony Music executive, said that CML operates like a startup with funding from both CAA and Qualcomm and that both those companies have representation on the CML board. However, he emphasized that CML is independent and operating system-agnostic.

CML has two business models--the first model is that CML will operate as a traditional mobile content publisher and seek independent mobile developers to help it turn its existing ideas into reality. For example, it might have an idea for a certain type of game that will fit well with a celebrity that CAA represents. The developer will develop the game and CML will help fund that development, oversee the marketing and the public relations, and basically ensure the app will get attention from end users.

The second model is to help existing developers that have already developed an app get more marketing muscle for their product by leveraging CML's relationship with its partners. "We might tie an existing app to a celebrity and help them cut through the clutter," Kozlov said.

But CAA isn't the only Hollywood entity eyeing the mobile industry again. Dreamworks executive John Batter, president of production, feature animation, also made an appearance at Uplinq to tout his company's use of augmented reality to help stop the decline in DVD sales.

For example, Dreamworks is using in-store displays for current releases such as Kung Fu Panda 2 coupled with augmented reality to show consumers a preview of the movie and provide them with several options for purchasing the DVD, whether through the retail store, their mobile phone or online. "In the short-term we are looking for innovative ways to increase sales volume," Batter said. "Augmented reality is a potential solution."

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