The Future of Entertainment – Merging Technology and Content

by John McCoskey 12/18/2013 10:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The close relationship between creative content companies and technology was reaffirmed during a recent Variety Dealmaker’s Breakfast when Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and Nancy Tellem, Microsoft’s President of Entertainment and Digital Media, discussed each industry’s growing reliance on the other in the digital age.  Tellum acknowledged the value movies, TV and other creative content represent to a technology company like Microsoft whose users are now utilizing their game consoles for watching content more than playing video games. And that’s why starting next year Microsoft will produce and distribute its own unique content for the 78 million Xbox consoles being used worldwide, including a project with Steven Spielberg based on the extremely popular Halo series. 

“We’re in this amazing time where these two worlds (of Hollywood and technology) are coming together,” she said.  And there is no better example of that than the smartphones and mobile devices used by millions around the world every day whose ability to access content “can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy” because audiences today want to be able to watch whatever content they want, whenever they want to watch it.

Both agreed that content creators needs to embrace technology or risk losing a younger generation of consumers who are relying more on the digital space for their content.  Fortunately, movie and TV companies are adopting an ever growing variety of methods for consumers to access their content in recent years. 

In the United States alone, there are now more than 95 online services for streaming and downloading legal content that are available to consumers like Itunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and Flixster. A list of these services can be found at WhereToWatch.org.

Microsoft’s upcoming foray into the world of content creation is just the latest example of the growing interconnectedness of these two great industries as they continue “getting comfortable with each other.” And in the days ahead, the sight of leaders like Alan Horn and Nancy Tellem engaging in a conversation about the future of these two industries will become a regular occurrence as we work together to continue creating and delivering the great content that consumers around the world expect from us in new and innovative ways.

Notes on the Revolutionary Expansion in Digital Content Availability

by John McCoskey 10/31/2013 08:14 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

A revolution in digital content is sweeping the globe, forever changing how we create and consume the content we all love – from films and TV shows, to literature, music, video games, art and photographs. It’s a very exciting time for creators and makers, and all of us who work with them in the content industry and beyond.  The innovation at the core of this revolution is only going to continue.  

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to join representatives of Google Play, the National Music Publishers Association and the Digital Media Association on a panel hosted by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) to discuss the impact that the surge in available content is having on both consumers and creators, and how this space has evolved in recent years. A link to a webcast of the panel discussion is available here.

One thing that’s clear is that quality content has never been more influential to the growth of the Internet than it is today.  If you want to attract visitors to your website, subscribers to your service, or eyeballs to your advertisements, your content needs to be compelling. That’s why players like Amazon and Netflix have begun producing their own original programming, and that is just as true for Hollywood studios who continue to be on the cutting-edge of the digital content revolution.

With services like HBOGo, Crackle, and Hulu that stream films and TV shows, to search engines like CanIStream.it, Fan.tv, GoWatchIt and others like iTunes, Vudu, and Target Ticket for purchasing movies and TV, companies are working every day to create innovative ways of delivering content to consumers when, where and how they want it.  At this moment there are 95 services in the U.S. providing access to online legal film and TV content, and all of them can be found on the MPAA’s recently launched website - wheretowatch.org.

These efforts show that we have a very competitive marketplace for developing compelling content, distributing it in new ways, and experimenting with new business models in order to meet consumer demand. And that is great news for everyone.

As my fellow panelist, Zahavah Levine, head of content partnerships at Google Play, said, “the market is working….” and we have “more legal digital content options than ever before.”

But even with all of these new innovations, the problem of piracy remains. A recently study by NetNames concluded that the amount of bandwidth used for infringing content represents nearly a quarter of the total bandwidth used by all Internet users.

It’s going to take all stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem collaborating in good faith in order to make a meaningful reduction in that number. But it can be done.  Voluntary initiatives like the Copyright Alert System (CAS) – a partnership between the major ISPs and the movie and music industries, which alerts consumers when they have accessed illegal content and helps guide them to other legal sources for accessing that content – are perfect examples of how we can create a safe, secure and sustainable Internet for consumers and creators by working together and ushering the next big innovation in digital content.

Categories: Innovation, Technology

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Advancing Innovation Through Technology

by John McCoskey 09/19/2013 06:44 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

I am excited to begin my work as the MPAA’s new Chief Technology Officer. Our six studios produce some of the world’s most captivating and imaginative stories, and have done so for decades. As technology advances, so do the ways these stories are created and viewed by audiences all over the world. Through constant innovation, the creative community is relentlessly working to dazzle moviegoers with new acquisition, production and distribution technologies.

But other companies have a role to play too. From the consumer perspective, there have never been more ways to watch your favorite movie or TV show, over 400 worldwide in fact, many of which are featured on MPAA’s www.wheretowatch.org. In addition to the many online platforms created by our studios, we have partnered with many other distributors, from Youtube to Netflix to Roku to Amazon- to safely deliver great content to screens of every size.

As MPAA CTO, I look forward to further building our relationships with all of the companies and organizations in the media and entertainment ecosystem to advance our shared interests. As Senator Dodd said last year to our Silicon Valley colleagues, “We call them audiences, you call them users…but in the end we all report to the same people.” Working together, I am confident that we can bring our content to consumers everywhere while protecting the hard work of our industry’s creators and makers, and fostering an Internet that works for everyone.  


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