E&Y: M&E Sector Profits Hitting Recent Highs

September 15, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

By the end of 2014, profit margins for media and entertainment companies will hit at estimated 28%, a high mark compared to recent years, and a sign the M&E sector is outpacing other industries, according to a new study from Ernst & Young (E&Y).

M&E industry earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) have grown annually since 2010, thanks to the proliferation of more digital platforms and higher scales of content production and distribution.

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Apex Media COO: Anticipation is Key for M&E Companies

September 2, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Margaret Boryczka, co-founder and COO of Apex CoVantage, said what makes Apex Media Solutions work for media and entertainment companies is pretty simple: “We anticipate industry trends and build solutions that address current problems.”

“The big new thing on the horizon is the vast stores of video and photo collections that are sitting out there, and growing each day,” she told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. “There’s tons of video … [and] that information is at the state that hard copy, books and journals were 25 years ago: They’re not accessible to anybody, they’re not accessible in any meaningful way at this point.”

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3rd i QC Announces 4K/UHD Capablities at Their Culver City Facility

August 25, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

3rd i QC is pleased to announce the establishment of Master-Level Source QC rooms at their facilities in Culver City, California. These new rooms are equipped to handle source material of all resolutions, up to and including 4K/UHD. Anchoring the technology in these rooms is the Rohde & Schwarz Clipster Generation 5.

“After exploring all options, we concluded the Clipster is the best solution for real-time playout of 4K/Ultra High Definition material,” states CTO Ramón Bretón. “Additionally, we’ve secured delivery of the Generation 6 Clipster as soon as it becomes available early next year, which will give us the flexibility to handle literally any file format and resolution. We are excited about the Clipster’s ability to work with IMF files, as this capability will align with where the industry is heading.”

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Analysts Split on Who’s Got the Edge in Disney-Amazon Spat

August 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Richard Saintvilus, with investment research news company Wall Street Playbook, looks at the ongoing spat between Amazon and Disney, and wonders if Amazon has bitten off more than it can chew.

“Retailers don’t often go out of their way to hurt themselves by cutting off revenue opportunities,” he told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. “The fact that [Amazon CEO and founder Jeff] Bezos doesn’t care will come as a sign of confidence to Amazon shareholders. It’s the whole ‘survival of the fittest’ mantra at its best [and] Bezos is not going to blink first in these negotiations.”

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Google’s Varian to Keynote HITS Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit

August 13, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The marketing departments of media and entertainment companies have so much consumer data today, the numbers can influence productions, change plotlines and the story arc of characters, and tell companies who’s going to watch, and how.

How marketing and IT departments are collaborating (and the results of those collaborations) will be shared Sept. 24 in Beverly Hills, Calif. during the HITS Digital Marketing and Analytics Summit (HITS DM&A). Presented by the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance and Variety, the 2013 installment of the DM&A Summit drew approximately 280 marketing, IT and business executives from studios and the service providers and technology companies behind the entertainment industry.

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DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg Headlines BoxWorks Confab

August 12, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The tagline for the 2014 edition of the BoxWorks cloud conference — set for Sept. 2-4 in San Francisco — is “How Tomorrow Works.” It’s an apt title, considering the speakers Box has lined up for the annual cloud-centric tech conference.

Among all the experts speaking at BoxWorks, one name stands out: DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who’ll sit down with Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie on stage for a one-on-one discussion Sept. 3 at 9 a.m.

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T3Media CTO on Simplifying the Digital Supply Chain

August 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

All those worries about security and using the cloud to move content around aren’t unfounded, according to Mark Lemmons, CTO for Denver-based T3Media. They just may be overblown compared to the advantages.

“Content owners care about security for obvious reasons, and we’re living in this hyper-connected, digitally accessible world, where programming release windows have significantly truncated, if not collapsed, largely due to security concerns,” Lemmons said. “You don’t want a pirate to download your content, you want your platform partners to deliver it. Security goes hand in hand with content immediacy. Along with security, you need to have capability to distribute content globally.”

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Lionsgate Sues ‘Expendables 3’ Pirates

August 1, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Jeff Hyatt and Chris Tribbey

Lionsgate has filed a lawsuit against 10 anonymous individuals the studio alleges were responsible for illegally sharing a high-quality copy of “The Expendables 3,″ two weeks before the film was set to hit theaters.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that those who shared the film “may be found in this district and/or a substantial part of the acts of infringement complained of herein occurred in this district,” according to the July 31 filing.

“Lionsgate … believes and on that basis alleges that only a single digital file containing the film was stolen, and that every copy of the film alleged in this complaint (and every copy available anywhere on the Internet) originated from and is a reproduction of that single original digital file,” the suit reads.

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Experts: Metadata More Important Than Ever

July 31, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Matt Turner, CTO of media and publishing for San Carlos, Calif.-based NoSQL database company MarkLogic, relayed a story where he visited a studio, spending six weeks investigating how the company was using metadata across dozens of systems, covering the entire lifecycle of the company’s workflows.

What he found was inefficiencies, liabilities and the potential for more revenue if metadata was better handled.

“It shouldn’t come as any surprise that metadata impacts all aspects of the business,” Turner said July 30, speaking during “Metadata is the New Gold,” a Webinar produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance and the Hollywood IT Society. “People think of metadata being associated with just digital assets, but it leverages all the data related to the title, the product, marketing information.”

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MarkLogic to Host Metadata Webinar with Condé Nast, Avalon Consulting

July 29, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In the media and entertainment space, metadata has become an increasingly crucial component when it comes to monetizing digital assets. How studios and other media and entertainment companies are streamlining their businesses with metadata solutions will be the topic of discussion July 30, when San Carlos, Calif.-based NoSQL database company MarkLogic hosts a unique Webinar: “Metadata is the New Gold.”

The Webinar — produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance and the Hollywood IT Society — will be held at 11 a.m. Pacific on July 30. To register, click here.

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The Stars — and Lines — Come Out for Comic-Con

July 25, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The stars (Matthew McConaughey, Kiefer Sutherland, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch, etc.) were out in full force for the kick-off of the San Diego Comic-Con. And so were the lines.

Everywhere one looks at this annual pop culture confab there’s a line, especially for the major studio presentations in the infamous 6,500 Hall H, where people were camped overnight for Friday’s presentations.

Here’s a look at what to expect as the convention hits its full stride this weekend:

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One on One with SAS

July 22, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

SAS is among the largest in business analytics software and services, with more than 70,000 business, government and university customers in 135 countries. Nearly 14,000 employees helped SAS generate worldwide company revenue north of $3 billion in 2013.

The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) sat down with Suzanne Clayton, senior product marketing manager of media and entertainment for SAS, to talk about big data, analytics and forecasting.

MESA: “Big Data” and “analytics” have become buzz words thrown around a lot today, but speak to just how important they are for media and entertainment companies?

Clayton: Media companies want deeper engagement with consumers; better customization, personalization and differentiation of their message; and greater competitive advantage.

With the growing volumes of data media and entertainment companies collect, they need to be able to extract the kinds of insights that can help them better serve customers, users and readers. And make smarter decisions faster by applying advanced analytics to large, complex data sets so they can spot previously unknown patterns, identify key relationships and uncover acumens that would otherwise stay hidden.

We look to help companies harness the power of big data with capabilities for data management (automate the process for unifying large diverse data sources including web analytics logs, social media, set top boxes, audience measurement, etc.); advanced analytics & data visualization (explore and analyze huge volumes of data in seconds with no subsetting or sampling); and flexible deployment (in the cloud with SAS or another provider, on a dedicated appliance or within your existing IT infrastructure).

MESA: DirecTV’s SAS use case seems to be the most obvious example of an M&E company that found real-world revenue savings. Can you elaborate on how DirecTV used SAS’s solutions, and can you offer other examples where M&E companies have leveraged SAS technology?

Clayton: For DirecTV the best way to share info is to point you to what is on our external Web site: www.sas.com/en_us/customers/directv.html.

DirecTV is continuing to expand their usage of SAS into the realm of Audience Intelligence, to help better understand viewership data to know who is watching what, when and how. This helps them with programming negations, marketing and content delivery.

MESA: SAS puts a huge emphasis on data visualization. Can you speak to the importance of not just gathering data, but relaying it in a way that makes sense for clients?

Clayton: Our data visualization capabilities have built-in analytics and are extremely easy to deploy and use. You can explore all of your big data using a drag-and-drop interface, analyze it and share visualized results easily via web reports and mobile devices. The solution helps you perform forecasting, identify patterns, trends, and relationships in data.

Whether you’re a business user with limited technical skills, a statistician or a data scientist, powerful analytics are at your fingertips. Anyone — regardless of analytic background — can understand and benefit from complex data, because sophisticated analytics have been seamlessly integrated with features such as on-the-fly forecasting and scenario analysis, auto-charting, and drag-and-drop capabilities.

Some media use cases of SAS data visualization and predictive analytics include the ability to: discover insights into audience mood state to better understand audience responses, feelings about content, and predict future behavior; mine Nielsen’s All-Minute Respondent Level Data to analyze audience segments and their viewing behavior, track viewership by segment and changes in viewing behavior; and  analyzing both structured and unstructured data from multiple sources across all platforms to better understand individual consumers

MESA: How has SAS approached supply chain forecasting, and how can M&E companies take advantage of those SAS solutions?

Clayton: I love this question. SAS’ bread and butter is advanced analytics, which includes supply chain forecasting. In fact we have an entire practice around this area and have worked with numerous manufacturing and CPG companies to solve their supply chain issues. We have also worked with a few of the studios over the years on DVD forecasting, but we see the digital supply chain as different from physical goods.

In broad digital distribution systems, Studios need to be broad and optimize systems. Systems need to be transparent and update quickly. They need to predict which content and how it will be consumed. Certain countries have certain titles that sell well here. Need to make sure content goes out to the market correctly, e.g. dubs or subs? This is dependent on market. SAS sees this as a digital network optimization issue that can be solved with advanced analytics.

One solution that closely matches the studio supply chain is SAS Demand-Driven Planning & Optimization (DDPO) solution suite. SAS DDPO drives the development of the consensus forecast in conjunction with the sales and operations planning (S&OP) process. Combining the power of automation, analytics and workflow, it generates an unbiased and accurate consensus forecast on a large-scale basis. It also has a new module where studios can incorporate social media data into the forecast to predict how a show or movie will perform or is performing.

MESA: What are the advantages for each analytic deployment option (cloud vs. dedicated appliance vs. existing IT infrastructure)?

Clayton: A cloud deployment allows companies to choose the best method for accessing technology to meet their business analytics requirements — and move rapidly to analytics deployment.

Our cloud tools and technologies are available in private and public clouds or through the hosted SAS cloud environment. SAS programmers, data scientists, business analysts and web developers can work together in an agile SAS Cloud development platform to collaborate on analytics projects.

And we can expand technology to meet future demands. The data processing and storage that companies need today will grow as time goes on. Cloud technologies give companies the flexibility to add computing power or capacity as needed. And automated software updates are available whenever we publish a new version.

SAS On Premise is the traditional way SAS has deployed our software. And has been doing since we were founded on 1976. Many companies prefer to install SAS on site and have their own IT, data scientists and analysts run and manage their SAS applications giving them 100% control over their SAS infrastructure. While there are definite benefits to cloud analytics, we do not discourage customers from doing on premise installs.

Hollywood China Investment Group Joins MESA

July 15, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) has added Hong Kong’s Hollywood China Investment Group (HCIG) to its ranks, the groups announced July 15.

HCIG’s main goal is to open unique theme parks (centered around animation franchises from both the U.S. and China) in heavily populated Chinese areas (Xiangyang, Hubei province; Guangzhou, Guangdong province; Qian’an, Hebei province; and Yiyang, Hunan province, among others).

While the investment group looks to open in China attractions similar to what Hollywood studios have long done with theme parks here in the U.S., HCIG is also aiming to finance a full-fledged production base for creative animation film companies. “An incubator base for creative … animation talent,” the group announced. A new training area for animation directors, writers and producers is the goal, HCIG said.

The partnership opens up opportunities for MESA’s member companies in an increasingly lucrative Chinese market, according to MESA co-founder and chief strategist Devendra Mishra.

Front Row (sitting. l to r): Sussy Huang, Executive Director, Hollywood China Investment Group (HCIG); Devendra Mishra, Chief Strategist of Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA)
Back Row (standing. l to r): Richard Spinoza, Director, Los Angeles County; Becky Cheng, Director, US Congress District 27; Dr. Lin Chuangyi, Director, Royal Business Bank; Yoursung Yang, Director, HCIG

“This partnership will help foster the mission of MESA, advancing technology and services supporting media and entertainment overseas in China,” Mishra said.

“This enterprise will enable MESA’s service and technology providers to pursue cooperation with companies in China engaged in building the infrastructure and capabilities required to support the emerging entertainment industry.”

Sussy Huang, founder and executive director of HCIG, said that her organization is aiming for a new kind of entertainment tourism destination in China, and that MESA members can help with that goal.

“We are looking forward to being an active member of MESA, [in order to] build a bridge between the mature entertainment industry of Hollywood, and the aspiring and emerging companies of China,” she said.

China’s desire for Hollywood content can’t be understated: during the first half of 2014, the country’s box office grew more than 20%, compared to the first half of 2013, according to Shanghai-based tracking firm Artisan Gateway.

Of the top-10 grossing films at the Chinese box office through June 30, four movies were made in China, while the other six (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) came from Hollywood studios.

Dr. Demos Vardiabasis, MESA’s chair of entertainment and technology alliance- China/USA (ETA-CU), was instrumental in facilitating the MESA-HCIG agreement. Vardiabasis is a professor of international business and chair of the Presidential Key Executive MBA program at Pepperdine University. He also served as the chairman of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commission on Economic Development when he spearheaded the first ever California Entertainment and Tourism Advisory Committee.

To see the full news release from MESA, click here.

Women In Technology: Hollywood (WITH) To Launch July 16 At Networking Luncheon

July 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

LOS ANGELES: Representatives from the leading Hollywood studios have announced the launch of a new industry group designed to facilitate business networking among women executives with technology roles including management, analysis and coding, across divisions of film, television and home entertainment.

Women in Technology: Hollywood (WITH) will officially launch with its first networking luncheon on July 16 at the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard.

Produced by MESA in cooperation with the Hollywood IT Society, the event is sponsored by Quantum and Zaszou and will feature a panel discussion of senior-level women entertainment executives who will discuss the career advice they’ve received that actually helped them achieve success in their field.

1-WITH Plenary Meeting 5-22-14-2

WITH Plenary Meeting.

This cross-industry organization is being built off the success of a similar group within Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is under the direction of Nadya Ichinomiya, Director, IT, Television and Rachel Souder-Arguedas, Project Manager, IT, Home Entertainment.

Both executives will serve as co-chairs of the new organization, which will be managed by the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) and Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA).

“There is a unique need for women who have combined careers in media, entertainment and technology to network and learn from each other about how to advance their careers as well as use new technologies in their enterprises,” says Ichinomiya.

“WITH will provide us with the communications platform we need and will ultimately help recognize the important role that women are playing in the digital transformation of film, television and all forms of entertainment.”

Studio representatives who have attended WITH plenary meetings included: Nancy Baca, Director Information Technology, Walt Disney Studios; Angela Barto, Associate Director, Enterprise Data Management, 20th Century Fox; Lindsay Caputo, Director Content Protection & Technology Research, Disney/ABC Television Group; Tina Carranza, Manager Content Management, NBCUniversal;  Susan Cheng, Vice President Supply Chain Planning & Data Governance, Warner Bros. Entertainment; Shahrezad McNeil, Director IT, Lionsgate Entertainment; Lara Michalak, Title Management Analyst, NBCUniversal; Payal Shah, Manager Business Process and Analysis, Warner Bros.; LeTisha Shaw, Senior Manager Piracy Management, Walt Disney Studios; and Cheri Strelow, Senior Vice President, CRM Supply Chain, MIS, Warner Home Entertainment.

Admission to the inaugural WITH luncheon is complimentary to all content holders and MESA Advisory Board members.

To learn more details about the schedule and panel discussion for the WITH Luncheon click here.

To register click here.

To find out how you can participate in WITH contact MESA Executive Director Guy Finley at guy@MESAlliance.org — or by calling: (917) 513-5963.

AMA L.A., USC CTM Partner on Internet of Things Event

July 9, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Asset tracking, smart homes, wearable devices and location-based services: the explosion of connected devices is behind the concept of the Internet of Things, according to Jay Tucker, chief marketing officer and head of programs for the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Marshall School of Business. “The idea of devices communicating with each other — but without a human in-between — drives a continued evolution of the digital network, and challenges service providers to improve speed and functionality to meet new demands,” he said.

The USC Institute for Communication Technology Management (USC CTM), along with the American Marketing Association Los Angeles (AMA L.A.) and eSage Group, will hold an L.A. Learning Lounge at Cross Camp in Santa Monica, Calif. July 24, to tackle the implications and opportunities of the Internet of Things business.

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IGATE: M&E Solutions on a Global Level

June 30, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

With more than 31,000 employees worldwide, Bridgewater, N.J. based IGATE offers integrated technology and operations solutions for a broad range of industries, from finance and banking to healthcare to manufacturing to energy and utilities, as well media and entertainment.

“We’re a global technology and solutions company, with offices and delivery centers in the US, Europe, Australia and Asia,” said Larry Rupp, Head of North American Services BU. “We are a recognized leader in providing integrated technology and operations-based solutions worldwide.”

In the media and entertainment space, the company has a simple outlook: digital has changed everything. Today’s IT ecosystem must incorporate the cloud, social media, mobile and big data analytics for linear, digital and theatrical distribution as well as home entertainment. It’s all file-based in cinema and broadcast today, and IGATE is addressing the digital supply chain on a global basis.

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ISE Wants Hackers to Attack Routers … Seriously

June 23, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Normally technology vulnerability testing company Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) is working to prevent cyber attacks, but this time around they want hackers to do their thing.

ISE and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Aug. 7-10 will hold a hacking competition during the annual DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas, with hackers encouraged to do everything they can to expose security vulnerabilities in wireless routers.

ISE and EFF are holding the competition — dubbed “SOHOpelessly Broken” — after a series of studies in 2013 discovered a security epidemic plaguing small office/home office (SOHO) WiFi routers, allowing an attacker to take control of the device and intercept and modify network traffic. ISE is of the mind that router manufacturers have done little to address the issues.

“By demonstrating that the issues persist and that consumers are still exposed, pressure will be applied to the manufacturers to take the necessary action to better protect their customers who are currently not empowered to protect themselves,” said Steve Bono, founder of ISE.

For the event EFF is developing a router that allows to access an open WiFi channel that provides Internet access to guest users, without compromising security, privacy or the online experience. EFF is also behind a related initiative: the Open Wireless Movement.

“The outcome of this event will be two-fold,” said EFF’s Ranga Krishnan. “First, we will prove that routers are still vulnerable. Second, we will galvanize a community of technologists to demand remediation by manufacturers.”

The competition will be held at the Rio Hotel and Casino, and will include contest multiple talk tracks, “Capture the Flag,” zero-day vulnerability discovery, and more. To register or sign on as a judge for the competition, go here.

One on One with DirecTV’s Tom Hagopian

June 19, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

The Interactive Television Alliance (ITA) is carrying out a series of one-on-one interviews with its members. First up here is a discussion with Tom Hagopian, VP of advanced ad sales for DirecTV.

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‘Game of Thrones,’ Piracy and HBO

June 18, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

About a year ago, during a Time Warner quarterly financial call, company CEO Jeff Bewkes was asked how the company would tackle the rampant, record-setting rates of piracy for episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Bewkes’ response was, to the say the least, unexpected.

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Mediamorph’s Newest Deal Harkens Back to Company’s Roots

June 11, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The latest partnership announced by software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Mediamorph doesn’t mark any major changes in the company’s focus, according to Michael Sid, Mediamorph’s co-founder and CEO. It’s simply an advantageous expansion.

On June 10, Vubiquity — the world’s largest provider of multiplatform video services — announced it would use Mediamorph and its rights management solution for video service providers and digital retailers (Mediamorph Connect) as a component vendor for the Vubiquity AnyVU Cloud platform.

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Surveys Say: Digital is Money

June 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

In quick succession this week, several reports concerning the state of the media and entertainment industry hit the wire, and they all had a similar theme: consumption of digital media is skyrocketing, and there’s money to be made.

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), Adobe and Conviva all made noise with their research, but most prevalent among the reports was PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report, which offered a five-year look at global consumer spending and ad revenues, related to entertainment and media content.

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Digital Execs Talk Content Challenges

May 23, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The post-theatrical roadmap for moving content to consumers used to be pretty simple. Defined windows. A handful of physical retailers. Few formats. “Easy to plan and easy to deal with,” noted one studio spokesperson, speaking May 22 at the annual Entertainment Supply Chain Academy (ESCA) Digital event.

Digital has changed everything, and the industry still has work to do to accommodate — and profit off of — that reality, according to Thomas Stilling, VP of product and promotion management for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. “I view the digital supply chain as a never-ending road going through peaks and valleys,” Stilling said. “With technology changing so much, you have to create a distribution system with an eye toward the future. And you have to be flexible.”

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EY Offers Insight from M&E Executives

May 20, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

New research from Ernst & Young (EY) sees executives in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry much more upbeat about the financial state of their industry. Nearly two-thirds of M&E executives surveyed in its “10th Capital Confidence Barometer: Media & Entertainment” report look at the global economy and see opportunity, up from 59% a year ago, and a third (33%) said they’re more confident in the likelihood of closing deals (up from 23% a year ago).

In just the last year, EY has seen a “sea change” difference in the attitudes of M&E executives, according to Tom Connolly, EY’s head of global M&E transaction advisory services.

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HuffPost Live Creator: Social Video is Key

May 16, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Roy Sekoff, president and co-creator of HuffPost Live — the online streaming network run by “The Huffington Post” — will use his June 3 morning keynote presentation at the 5th annual BroadbandTV Show to relay one simple fact: “People don’t want to be talked at anymore. They want to be talked with.”

Sekoff, a founding editor of the Huffington Post and former writer and on-air correspondent for Michael Moore’s “TV Nation,” will share with BroadbandTV Show attendees how HuffPost Live has turned the idea of come one, come all social media into a live-streaming network that has, to date, more than 1.1 billion video views.

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Cinram Acquires JVC America

May 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Cinram has acquired JVC America, the games software division of JVC Americas Corp., a subsidiary of JVC Kenwood. Cinram expects to close the sale in the next 30 days. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

JVC America operates an optical disc replication and packaging plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as well as a packaging and fulfillment facility in Kennesaw, Ga., providing manufacturing and fulfillment of gaming software for major gaming publishers.

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ISE: M&E Companies Can Learn From Target Breach

May 12, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Ted Harrington, executive partner with Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), looks at last year’s credit card breach at Target, and sees lessons to be learned for media and entertainment companies.

“The anatomy of the attack against Target is identical to what would be successful against the M&E digital supply chain,” Harrington said in an interview with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. “And the financial ramifications are quantifiable and staggering.”

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Music Experts Debate Man vs. Machine for Curation

May 7, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Algorithms vs. humans was the topic of debate May 6 when experts from several music media companies discussed which does a better job curating and recommending music.

“With algorithms the idea there is to create channels that are the most interesting to consumers, and includes new music, not just the most popular,” Peter Siciliano, SVP of music technology for online music service Beatport, said during the Music Metadata Summit, part of the Music Biz 2014 conference.

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Target CEO Doesn’t Survive Data Breach Fallout

May 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned May 5, the latest casualty of the massive, late-2013 security breach that compromised millions of Target customers’ credit card information.

The security breach — and Steinhafel’s resignation — will be a point of discussion May 7 when Richard Atkinson, global director of piracy conversion for Adobe and chairman of the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), hosts an hour-long Webinar: Cyber-Security = Job Security. Produced in association with the Hollywood IT Society, the CDSA Webinar will tackle the increasingly difficult security landscape, as well as the impacts companies and individuals can expect after a breach.

To register for the event, click here.

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Music Metadata Event Set for May 6

May 1, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) — formerly the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) and DigitalMusic.org — is bringing back its successful Music Metadata Summit May 6, as part of the Music Biz 2014 confab.

Last year’s summit drew more than 250 music industry executives, all discussing the digital data issues facing the music industry, and more are expected this year. To register, or for more information, click here.

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Cable Show Keynote: Content is ‘Essential’

April 30, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), used his opening keynote at the annual The Cable Show in Los Angeles to tout how far the Internet has come. But with the FCC currently debating new net neutrality regulations, Powell cautioned against too much government regulation of the Internet.

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Akamai Shares Internet Concerns … and Optimism

April 24, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Hans Cathcart, senior enterprise security architect for Akamai, had a funny story to share during this week’s Hollywood IT Summit. A family member, seeking help to access a sensitive account, actually called the first Internet search result he found for “Google tech support.” Before handing over any personal information, the family member — wisely — called Cathcart, who set him straight.

The story was funny. The implications are no laughing matter.

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Hollywood IT Summit Keynote: A Method to Facebook’s Acquisition Madness

April 23, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

When Facebook closed its mobile division late last year, it was because mobile was no longer a niche part of the company’s business, according to Cory Ondrejka, VP of mobile engineering for the company. “Anything that is more than half of your business can’t be a specialized section in the corner,” he said April 22, speaking during a keynote presentation at the Hollywood IT Summit. “We view it as the most important project we can take on: How do we connect more people? Smartphones are the answer.”

By 2017 an estimated 5 billion people will be using smartphones, according to Statista.

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CIO Panel Discusses Tech Challenges at HITS Summit

April 22, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

TV used to be a pretty easy technology frontier for content creators. Create the content, broadcast it, and you were done. Alex Grimwade, SVP of TV production information technology at 20th Century Fox Television, isn’t pining for the good old days, but she is stressing how technology has put stress on TV content creators and distributors, creating a “sheer workload” that has to cover online, broadcast, cable and over the top distribution, for more screens every day.

“The shift hasn’t moved away from home entertainment, but the definition of home entertainment has changed,” she said April 22, speaking at the Hollywood IT Summit. “Day and date wasn’t something we were used to in television.”

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Studio CTO, CIO Panels Highlight Hollywood IT Summit

April 15, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A keynote conversation with professor Jonathan Taplin, director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, is just one highlight of the Hollywood IT Summit, coming up April 22 in Los Angeles.

Tackling hardware and software platforms, big data and data analytics, vendor management, network connectivity, software as a service (SaaS) and more, Hollywood IT Summit panelists include the top chief information officers and chief technology officers from the major Hollywood studios.

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FCC Chairman: Broadcast Needs to Catch Up

April 9, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 
By Chris Tribbey

A day after slamming the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] for treating the broadband industry as more important than broadcast, Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, extended an olive branch of sorts April 8 to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.

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NAB President: Future of Broadcast, Broadband a ‘Game Changer’

April 8, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith called on broadband companies and broadcasters to work more closely together, and chastised the federal government for treating broadcasters like “dinosaurs,” during his keynote address April 7 on the opening day of the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show.

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Content Rules at NAB

April 3, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

More than 93,000 attendees and more than 1,500 exhibitors will be attending the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show next week in Las Vegas, and every one will have one thing on their minds: content.

Centered around the development, management and delivery of content across every medium, the keynote speakers and panels at NAB have a constant theme of delivering content beyond traditional broadcasting, and monetizing that content across every device.

“Consumers expect the content they consume to be delivered in crisp, rich resolution, regardless of device,” said Chris Brown, EVP for conventions and business operations for NAB. “The advent of new standards bring new challenges: capturing 4K-quality content, editing and archiving resource-intensive footage, and distributing a final product across mediums.”

Among the notable panels and NAB exhibitor news…

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AACS LA Marks Legal Victory vs. SlySoft

April 2, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In February the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA) — the industry consortium that licenses copy protection used on Blu-ray Discs — won a legal judgment against a long-time foe.

On Feb. 21, a court in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, found Giancarlo Bettini, owner and founder of DRM-circumvention software company SlySoft, guilty of violating the nation’s copyright law.

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Archivists, Preservationists Talk Metadata

March 31, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Linda Tadic, executive director of the Audiovisual Archive Network, a nonprofit digital preservation service, doesn’t see the various standards for metadata collection as a problem in and of itself. It’s that those standards don’t talk to each other, she said March 25, speaking at the Metadata Madness event.

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Rovi VP Explores Advancement of TV Metadata

March 27, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

When TV first came out in the 1950s, so too did TV Guide. And thus began the evolution of TV discovery metadata.

“If you think about TV Guide from that good old magazine to a totally digital experience, that’s an example of the evolution of metadata,” said David Yon, VP of data solutions for Rovi Corp., speaking at the recent Metadata Madness event, created by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Experts Tackle Metadata Madness

March 26, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — Last December in Tampa, Fla., families waiting to watch Disney’s PG animation Frozen were reportedly shown a trailer for the NC-17-rated film Nymphomaniac.

That’s a disaster for everyone involved, from filmmaker to distributor. And it’s something that probably could have been avoided with better metadata, according to Craig Seidel, VP of distribution technology for studio-funded tech research company MovieLabs.

“The system, the process for dealing with metadata, wasn’t there,” said Seidel, speaking March 25 at the inaugural Metadata Madness conference. “The [projectionist], who’s probably 19, looking at it, didn’t have the information in front of him.”

Seidel — who’s been working with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the Entertainment Merchants Association and other groups on establishing metadata standards for digital content — was one of more than two dozen metadata experts who tackled what’s become both an opportunity and a problem for the entertainment industry.

Better metadata means better marketing opportunities, speakers agreed. It also means a major investment in resources.

The concept of comprehensive metadata for entertainment content seems simple, yet the execution is difficult, Metadata Madness speakers agreed. Offering every bit of information for every piece of content sounds great in concept. But who’s responsible for adding that data? The production team? The distributor?

“When we look at what it means to be a data-driven studio, it’s looking at data during the entire lifecycle [of content],” said J.R. Yasgur, SVP of global data strategy and operations for Sony Pictures Entertainment. That means keeping metadata in mind from the moment a project gets the green light to years after it’s lived out its initial home entertainment life, she said.

But that may not be possible, according to Alex Grimwade, SVP of TV production information technology for 20th Century Fox Television.

“There’s little effort put into metadata during production [of content],” he said. So much initial effort — both traditionally and today — is put into getting content out the door, that adding metadata detail of the content isn’t on the radar. And while locking down metadata during production is akin to hitting “a moving target,” that needs to change, Grimwade said: “We need to capture information at the front door.”

“You can’t collect enough metadata,” agreed Todd Burke, principal solutions engineer for Adobe. “And you never know how you’re going to use it.”

Don Dulchinos, executive director of the Entertainment Identifier Registry (the nonprofit industry group tasked with assigning unique, digital IDs for movies and TV programs) noted that part of the difficulty in locking down relevant metadata is the constantly changing landscape of distribution. Because there isn’t a universal standard, it’s hard for stakeholders to know what — and when — metadata should be addressed.

With or without an industry standard on what to do with content information and how to share it, MovieLabs’ Seidel has a simple suggestion for content owners: address every data possibility early on with every project, despite the hassle.

“Metadata is the silent piece that hides behind [content],” Seidel said. “[Metadata results in] better marketing by knowing what’s in a media file.”

As serious as metadata may be for the future of the media and entertainment industry, the Metadata Madness event struck a light-hearted tone, centered around a March Madness college basketball theme. Presenters were introduced as coaches, panelists as players. Every presentation (“Technical Time-Outs,” One-on-Ones,” “Nothing but Net”) had an NCAA theme. Each speaker was given a Gatorade bottle instead of a glass of water.

Guy Finley, executive director of MESA, opened the conference singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” (with attendees dutifully standing up and joining in). Whistles were blown and buzzers sounded when a panel’s time was up. During the “halftime” break, a basketball-shooting contest was held, and Hollywood’s best and brightest were encouraged to grab a pretzel and a beer.

Metadata Madness Kicks Off Tomorrow

March 24, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Representatives from Hollywood’s biggest studios and every major industry coalition will be in one spot March 25, tackling one of the media and entertainment industry’s newest challenges: metadata.

Beginning at 1 p.m. at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, the one-day Metadata Madness event brings together the top experts in the entertainment metadata world.

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The TV Hardware Industry: The Good, the Bad and the UHD

March 13, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

It’s been a mixed week of news for the TV hardware industry.

First, the good: new data from firm Leichtman Research Group has 77% of American households with at least one HDTVs, 46% with multiple HDTV sets. That’s up sharply from 2008 (34% and 11%, respectively.

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Adstream: Helping Clients Adapt to Digital Challenges

March 11, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Founded in 2001, Adstream has maintained a single-minded focus on developing and delivering solutions and services that help streamline the media delivery process.

Over the past five years the London-based company has seen demand for its services increase exponentially. Adstream now delivers millions of assets to 40,000 media owners in over 110 countries for more than 5,000 clients. Most recently, Adstream has seen demand for its services growing amongst the major Hollywood studios and duly responded by opening an office in Los Angeles in December last year.

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Nielsen Report: TV, Online Ad Convergence Coming Slowly

March 7, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

With more consumers watching more video online, Nielsen brought together executives across the TV and online video industries and asked the question: how quickly will the industry see total convergence of TV and online advertising?

The answer: Not right away.

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Rovi CFO Discusses Company Revamp

March 6, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

During the two years Peter Halt has been chief financial officer for Rovi Corp., he’s seen the company divest assets, take on companywide reorganization, and undergo a major portfolio overhaul.

All the changes have made Rovi a better company, and a better bet for investors, Halt said March 5, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. “It’s been a very busy two years,” he said. “We inherited a company that, candidly, needed to get its focus back. We had gotten into some businesses that were outside of our core DNA.”

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EVS: Best Known for Sports, But Proving a Digital Powerhouse for TV Production

March 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Live production workflow for NBC Olympics’ 2014 Olympic winter games in Sochi, Russia? 4K Ultra HD zooming and live production capabilities for Fox Sports’ Super Bowl 2014 broadcast? Transcoding, archiving, multi-camera control of clips and playlist management for the World Series?

Say hello to Belgium-based EVS Broadcast Equipment.

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Warner, Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, ITV & BBC all to participate at HITS Europe

March 4, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Following the announcement of HITS Europe the response from the content community has been overwhelming. Four of the world’s leading studio groups and two of Europe’s largest broadcasters have already signed up to participate in the event, with more expected to join later this week. Confirmation is also awaited from a number of independent video groups and participants from the music and games industries.

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Analysts Mostly Optimistic on Redbox’s Future

March 3, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

At its recent analysts day, executives with Redbox and parent company Outerwall shared that despite having a 50% market share in the physical disc rental market, and despite being nearly built-out with kiosks in the United States, there’s still room for the rental company to grow.

Eric Wold, analyst with B. Riley & Co., said he believes that growth will have to come with an inevitable price increase.

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Metadata Madness Event Set for March 25

February 28, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Basketball, drinks and … Metadata? That’s the plan March 25 in Los Angeles, when the Media and Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) partners with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) to put on the one-day Metadata Madness event.

Dedicated to the ever-changing effort of defining and aligning the fields of data, which helps automate creative, production, distribution and business processes for the digital entertainment age, the event will bring together the top experts in the entertainment metadata world.

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