DreamWorks Releases Its First App Called Ptch; Wants To Be ‘Technology Company’

Ptch is a new iPad/iPhone app that allows users to remix photos, videos, songs and text into 60-second music video-style shorts called Ptches. Sort of like an Instagram for videos (with “styles” instead of filters), Ptch aims to make video editing as intuitive and reflexive for the masses as taking a photograph with a smartphone. The app also allows users to remix ptches made by their friends so that each person can share their own version of an event. The software is available on Apple’s iTunes Store for free, though add-on songs and film “styles” will cost money in the future.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Ptch is headed by Ed Leonard, the Chief Technology Officer of DreamWorks Animation and the former director of R&D at Disney Animation. He convinced DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to launch a new company called DWA Investments. The company, which is funded entirely by its parent DreamWorks Animation, has 15 employees, a third of whom are former DreamWorks staffers who took paycuts (in exchange for stock) to join Ptch.

Sites like Fast Company and BetaBeat have been debating what Ptch means for the future of DreamWorks. For example, does it signal the company’s transition from being a content producer into a technology company? Ptch helmer Ed Leonard hinted at that possibility while speaking with BetaBeat:

“There’s a lot of ambition at DreamWorks, they’re thinking about how to leverage ambition on the film side and how to reinvent themselves as more of a technology company than a movie company and really leverage all that value. If you get close to what Jeffrey is thinking about in terms of the DreamWorks brand … Jeffrey really believes in the intersection that’s happening between technology and entertainment.”

It’s hard to know what to make of all this just yet, but Leonard’s quote reveals that DreamWorks Animation is evolving in different and unexpected directions.


  • http://www.tubbirdbelty.com Barbara

    I don’t need another iMovie. Ptch, please

  • Zap

    If this is a new company, they need to release an android version too.

  • Mike

    Now if only they could invent an app called “Pitch,” a direct line to the studios to pitch ideas for movies and TV shows. No agents. No front desk. Just a proposal that’s automatically registered with the WGA once you send it. No fuss. No muss.

    Yeah, I know it’s too simple. It’s crazy. But hey, a simple crazy guy can dream…

    • Baron Lego

      Unfortunately, the suits would then create and start using “View”- an app that scans any pitch proposal and checks to see if it’s a sequel, adaptation, remake or borrows heavily from some pre-existing material. In the event the app detects an original or offbeat idea, it responds by sending out a rejection letter.

      • Mike

        You know, I would counter your statement by saying something like “ye of little faith,” but unfortunately, you’re absolutely right. The studios will always find a way to make it NOT work.

      • wever

        “And that, as you see through my Pitch account, is my idea!”
        “Are you Jeffery Katzenburg?”
        “No.”
        “Next!”

    • Mac

      Do you work in the film industry? They’re not looking for ideas. They’re doing everything they can to shield themselves from too many people coming at them with their with “ideas”. Hollywood is about people and process, not ideas.

  • The Gee

    It certainly can’t hurt to try. Tech companies are encroaching on entertainment in various ways now. So, a company like Dreamworks trying to better secure its position in this World of Transition is smart.

    Obviously, they could overreach. Some initiatives could fail. Both sides of the coin have failed before. Time Warner still has a tech component but it was much more ambitious with the internet/web early on. Then along came AOL. On the other side, Microsoft tried to become a Be-All company and capture Convergence in a bottle. It is still pulling back but it is still in distribution, with its Xbox set up.

    Everything’s changing.
    What was it they used to say with abandon: Swim or Sink? Sink or Swim? (they did make “Sharktale” so I’m sure they are familiar with the phrase at Dreamworks)

  • Mac

    They’d have more of a future letting their schlocky movies drive technology that they can license. Probably, intellectual content will start to lose value as its authoring becomes less expensive to get to a certain level of quality. Thats what this is for phone videos, right? Dreamworks certainly has no advantage in what will be a cutthroat market of inexpensive movies battling it out in a totally disrupted cultural economy, the nature of the future of mass media being more unable to be anticipated than ever.

  • http://www.fooksie.com Fooksie

    The cream will rise to the top. The mobile marketplace is exploding, and I think it’s a smart move to try to do different things to get content to the consumer.

  • Spencer

    So does this mean I can have an app cut my demo reel?! NICE! #lazyyyyyy

  • Dont quit your day job….

    …..And dont take a pay cut from your day job to “pitch” an App that already exists. You can do this on your Iphone already without the DW app.

  • http://mediocremind.thecomicseries.com/ J.Gibbs

    Well, that’s an… interesting direction to go.

    I don’t see this taking off very far, to be perfectly frank about it. Not only is it a concept that already exists, they’ve gone the iPhone only route (cutting a large consumer base that might actually try this app since they lack a quality version on their platform).

    Guess we’ll have to let the people decide. Personally, I’d rather see them keep working to step up their game within their writing department before they branch out into anything else.

  • Joel

    So you can make YouTube Poops on the go now?! Sign me up!

    • Chris Sobieniak

      And thus the cycle begins anew.

  • Toonio

    Very smart way to create an income stream and put it into animation projects.

  • The Gee

    This is only the first piece of software. There’s a lot of redundant mobile software ust like there is a lot of very similar software products for desktops that are made by many different companies.

    As a first step, this isn’t going to break the company to try and sell it. If the company spreads out in different directions on tech. initiatives then that’s the stuff that is worth paying attention to. As it figures out how it can leverage attempts, it could do well for itself.

    Pixar has software, too. It is just a limited market. So, just because a division of DW has a consumer targeted program don’t think that this is the only horse in the stable and the one they want to win the races. They could easily produce professional level tools, too, you know.

    Or, it could fold shop before anything happens. We don’t know yet. So it is best to wait and see.

  • Dont quit your day job….

    If their consumer software is anything like their in-house software, the public is in for some really lackluster performance.

    Welcome to 1994.

  • Roman

    sort of doing the Pixar thing backwards? They started out as part of a bigger studio, went off on their own, and now are going to make technology products… instead of making computers to sell, turning into a movie studio, and being merged into a bigger studio… interesting.