MESA: Hollywood Innovation, Technology Center Stage at HITS Fall
October 2, 2017
By Chris Tribbey
More than 500 studio leaders and their technology partners will be on hand Oct. 18 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles for the annual HITS Fall event, to hear a progress report on the latest tools, trends and technologies that are changing how consumers engage with and experience entertainment.
“Innovating the Next Consumer Experience” will be the theme for this iteration of the IT community’s bi-annual conference, with the main stage hosting speakers from Cast & Crew, Netflix, Fox, ABC, Premiere Digital, Lionsgate, Paramount, NeuLion, DXC Technology, Verizon Digital Media Services, Sony and more.
Here’s a look at what’s on hand for the main program:
- Following opening remarks by Devendra Mishra, executive director of the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), and Eric Belcher, President and CEO of Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, Val Wright, a global leadership and innovation expert and author, will present the first keynote of the day: “Thoughtfully Ruthless is the Key to Exponential Growth,” where she’ll share her experiences working with executives from Starbucks, LinkedIn, and Google, and how focusing your time and energy on products, profits, and customers results in success.
- At 9:45 a.m., Robert Brown, associate VP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, will offer up his thoughts on how Hollywood is moving from a world of the mass-media “entertainment economy” to one centered on “the experience economy,” in the presentation: “Work Ahead: Mastering Hollywood’s Digital Future.”
- The first panel of the day, “Harnessing Technologies to Transform Hollywood For New Media,” sees entertainment execs looking at the new technologies that are enabling everything from audiences to feel empathy to computer-aided script writing to emerging VR/AR experiences. Greg Geier, SVP of production operations, global mastering and servicing for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Alex Grimwade, SVP and CIO of Twentieth Century Fox Television, Robert Schefferine, VP of production for ABC Entertainment Marketing, and Amie Tornincasa, manager of production technology for Netflix, will be on hand.
- In the 11:15 a.m. panel “Enabling New Forms of Content and Delivery: Satisfying the Emerging Demographic,” Jay Tucker, executive director of the UCLA Anderson School Center for Management of Enterprise, Entertainment and Sports, will lead a discussion on how content production, marketing and distribution, driven by technology, are changing to meet the demands of emerging consumer demographics. He’ll be joined by Sean Flynn, VP of IT infrastructure and global operations for IMAX Theaters, Amanda Kozlowski, SVP of digital marketing for Lionsgate, Wayne Peacock, VP of global insights for Blizzard, and Ted Schilowitz, futurist in residence for Paramount Pictures.
- Steve Rosenberg, chief commercial officer for Premiere Digital, will share his thoughts on how SaaS-based product lifecycle management can be applied to worldwide digital content sale, delivering inventory maximization and massive supply chain efficiency, in the presentation “SaaS Based Product Lifecycle Management to Drive Worldwide Digital Content Sales.”
- The second keynote of the day, “Data Analytics – Converting Elusive Science to Practical Business Applications,” comes from Mark Shafer, SVP of revenue management and analytics for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (following an introduction by Andrew Patterson, CTO of Cast & Crew Entertainment Services), where he’ll share how legacy-driven silos of companies are still struggling to understand the value of data analytics, and how enterprises can take better advantage of the information available to them.
- The 12:35 p.m. presentation “Solving Hollywood’s OTT Marketing Challenge” comes from Chris Wagner, EVP and co-founder of NeuLion, with Wagner looking at how viewers today are demanding higher quality entertainment services packaged in a unique, individual experience, and how Hollywood can deliver that, using tools to leverage business intelligence and make decisions that drive growth, quality of service and quality of experience.
- Following a networking luncheon, Annie Jacobsen, author of “The Pentagon’s Brains,” will deliver the afternoon keynote, “Disruptive Technology: Taking a Page Out of the Pentagon’s Playbook,” sharing how the origins of disruptive technology can be traced to the nearly 60-year-old DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
- At 2:45 p.m., Ralf Jacob, president of Verizon Digital Media Services, will illustrate how the personalization of OTT services can be a critical differentiator in a crowded marketplace, and will highlight some of the tools that are available for simultaneously delivering compelling content and relevant advertisements, in the presentation “Why OTT Tech Will Drive the Future Entertainment.”
- Steve Wong, director of business development for the media and entertainment group of DXC Technology, will look at the new methods for enabling accountability in pre-production, production, post-production, distribution, and consumption, with a secure chain of custody for Intellectual property, royalties and more, in his presentation “Blockchain & the Hollywood Supply Chain.”
- At 3:25 p.m., Guy Finley, executive director of MESA and CDSA, will moderate the panel “Blockchain’s Relevance and Impact on M&E,” which will offer an overview of where blockchain technology could be adapted to specific business needs, and examining the potential impact to talent, advertising and distribution. He’ll be joined by Eric Diehl, VP of media and content security for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Alanna Gombert, president of Gombert Consulting (and former GM of the IAB Tech Lab), and Eric Iverson, CIO for Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
The 2017 edition of HITS Fall is presented by Cast & Crew, with sponsorship by Ooyala, Sohonet, Microsoft Azure, TiVo, LiveTiles and Veritone. Produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), the event’s association partners include the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), the Smart Content Council, Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH), the Los Angeles chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), and the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA).