Los Angeles Business Journal

Heavyweight Competitor Puffs Up Cloud Storage

ONLINE: Gobbler greets Sony subsidiary as virtual boost for business sector. By Bethany Firnhaber Monday, April 8, 2013

Some companies might resent news that a competitor has opened up shop in the same market. Others view it as a validation.

It’s the latter case for Hollywood cloud services company Gobbler, which recently gained an opponent in the online storage and file-sharing space.

Last week, Sony Corp. of America launched Sony Media Cloud Services, an online platform where filmmakers and television broadcasters can store and share big, complex media files.

The new technology company, a subsidiary of the New York media conglomerate, already employs 80 people who work out of an office on the Sony Pictures Studio lot in Culver City.

Chris Kantrowitz, chief executive of Gobbler, which he co-founded with his sister Jamie in 2010, said he welcomed the competition.

“I’m glad to see them launch because it just reaffirms my feeling that this really is the city for creative clouds,” he said. “The amount of media that’s being produced by studios and individuals is just exploding.”

The Sony subsidiary developed software called Ci (pronounced “see”) that filmmakers and other producers can use for file storage, sharing, organization and editing.

Naomi Climer, president of Sony Media Cloud Services, which sells subscriptions to its software service on a sliding scale, said the company is now focusing on reeling in clients that work in film and television. In addition to Sony Pictures, the company has also signed up NBCUniversal as a client.

“We deliberately put ourselves on the Sony Pictures lot,” she said. “We regard Los Angeles and Hollywood as the heart of the movie and TV industry, and that’s the industry we set out to serve.”

Climer said Sony’s cloud service could eventually grow to target other industries, such as music and the consumer market, where film students or self-employed creative artists could benefit from its use.

Gobbler, with 20 employees, caters more to people who work in the music industry, rather than larger entities working in film and television.

Kantrowitz said he thinks the market is big enough for his company and Sony.

“I was actually really happy to see they were putting the team here in Los Angeles,” he said. “It’s the true intersection of media creation and technology. To do it well, you need to be sitting right next to the people who will be using your product.”

Staff reporter Natalie Jarvey contributed to this report.