Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and AT&T: A Match Made in Hell?

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On Monday, the William Morris Agency, the Hollywood talent shop, will announce that it is teaming up with the Silicon Valley venture capital firms Accel Partners and Venrock to invest in digital media start-up companies based in Southern California, according to a New York Times report:

“What makes the combination unusual, though, is the addition of AT&T as a limited partner.”

The article notes that while there has been a “spate of deals recently” as entertainment and technology companies try to capitalize on new media, “many people view wireless carriers as too controlling, particularly when it comes to offering new software and content on today’s more sophisticated, Web-friendly cellphones.”

That would be great, though carriers to date have largely made lots of noise and little actual progress on opening up their networks. Nevertheless, the article said that AT&T is not looking exclusively for content anyway, since CBS, ESPN and NBC already provide much of that for cellphones. Instead, it is hoping to “invest in technologies that will make it easier to run ads on cellphones, as well as to nurture social networks like Facebook and MySpace, online hits that have migrated to hand-held devices.”

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