November 21, 2014
In attempt to bring new ideas to the table, NBCUniversal invited 300 developers, marketers and designers to partake in a weekend long hackathon to help the media company address some of its most common challenges when it comes issues such as movie releases and television audience retention. While the hackathon offered $25,000 in cash prizes, it was also an opportunity for attendees to access tools for building software applications and NBCUniversal to recruit future employees.
According to consultant Mike Vorhaus of Frank N. Magid Associates, Hollywood no longer has the financial allure or stability to attract top talent, especially programmers and developers, in a market comprised of exciting startups and tech heavyweights like Google and Facebook.
“NBCUniversal Media Labs Chief Technical Officer Sanjay Macwan said the hackathon is part of a broader plan of fostering a culture of innovation, in part, through collaboration,” reports Re/code. “He has solicited input from academic research groups such as the MIT Media Lab, and visited Los Angeles’s incubators and accelerators to identify the region’s top talent.”
During the weekend, NBCUniversal executives were given a unique opportunity to work closely with the participants, which also included venture capitalists.
The first hackathon over the summer in New York resulted in three new hires and a viable concept likely to be implemented next year.
According to Re/code, the recent L.A. hackathon concluded with a winning entry called “Top 3 I Want to See,” a tool that allows Fandango users to share their top movie preferences in a way that markets films.