NAB Concludes Four-Day Run With Flat Attendance, Spike in Exhibits, and AI All Over

LAS VEGAS — NAB Show 2024 concluded its annual four-day run April 17 with more than 61,100 attendees, down slightly from 65,013 at NAB Show 2023.

But the number of exhibitors rose to nearly 1,300, a healthy 30% spike from last year. 

More than half of this year’s attendees were newcomers, NAB said. 

Over a quarter of attendees (27%, up 2% from last year) were international, representing 163 countries and including 34 delegation buying groups from across the world. Ten first-time delegations attended from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Oceana and Central Asia. Additionally, the NAB Show presented its first-ever all-Spanish-language session, “A Case Study of Caliente TV’s Studio Build and the Latin America Broadcast Market.” The show also hosted five international pavilions, with exhibitors from Germany, France, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Korea, and Belgium. 

“We’re blown away to see over half of our attendees this year experiencing NAB Show for the first time,” said Karen Chupka, incoming EVP and managing director of NAB Global Connections and Events. “This, and the strong international attendance, proves that NAB Show is where global storytellers come to find the tools and technologies needed to create, distribute and monetize content.”

Exhibitors came from 41 countries. About 200 exhibitors were first-timers. Nearly 200 exhibitors displayed AI/machine learning tools and technology, according to NAB, while more than 150 sessions featured AI. The “Create” space featured hundreds of new exhibitors and included a new show floor area dedicated to the creator economy, as well as nearly 100 sessions about the creator economy.  

The conference program included a two-day Streaming Summit with nearly 40 sessions. In total, more than 1,050 speakers participated in more than 750 sessions that explored the future of storytelling, the rise of streaming platforms, and generative AI and its impact on the industry and the evolving media landscape. Speakers included Frances Berwick, chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment; Terry Crews, “America’s Got Talent” host; Jennifer Hudson, host of “The Jennifer Hudson Show”; and Phil Wiser, EVP, CTO and head of multiplatform operations at Paramount Global. 

In response to the booming creator economy, the NAB Show launched the Creator Lab, sponsored by Blackmagic Design, and expanded show programming to include more pioneering creators — including Sean Evans, host and co-creator of “Hot Ones”; Mark Hustvedt, president of MrBeast YouTube; Casey Neistat, YouTube personality, filmmaker, digital creator and co-founder of Beme; and Sean Sotaridona, creator of SeanDoesMagic.

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Planning is now underway for NAB Show New York Oct. 9-10, and next year’s NAB Show April 5-9, 2025,  in Las Vegas.

Streamers Gather at NAB Show 2024

With 20% of the show’s 1,300 exhibitors having some connection to streaming, it’s no surprise that the NAB Show 2024 in Las Vegas was the scene of several parties aimed not at broadcasters but at content distributors, researchers and technologists involved in the alphabet soup of OTT: SVOD, AVOD, TVOD and FAST. Whip Media on the evening of April 14 got together with Cineverse, Amagi and Fortinet to host “Conversations, Connections & Cocktails” at Bar Zazu at Resorts World. The next night, there was a Streaming Summit Happy Hour at the convention center, while Premiere Digital hosted a cocktail party at the Venetian’s Flight Club. And early in the morning of April 16, streaming trade association OTT.X held its annual breakfast at the Stirling Club — CEO Mark Fisher’s last stand as the organization’s president. (Photos by Media Play News staff)

Paramount CTO Likens Present State of AI to Early Days of Internet

LAS VEGAS — Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a product or a service but, rather, a technology that is part of a larger platform, Streaming Summit chair Dan Rayburn noted April 14 during his welcome remarks at NAB Show 2024 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“AI is important,” he said, “However, what’s important is seeing actual practical use cases today. For any of the vendors running around the show floor saying they’re selling AI, they’re wrong. You can’t buy AI. You can buy a platform that has AI functionality in it.”

The topic of AI, as it pertains to entertainment, Hollywood and streaming, was discussed further in a “fireside chat” with Phil Wiser, EV, CTO and head of multiplatform operations at Paramount Global.

“People get a little confused about whether this is hype or whether this is reality, so let me pull back a little bit,” Wiser said. “Let’s look at this the way we always look at technology trends, which is when is it going to impact our business, when is it going to impact my company, and how much hype versus reality is there in the market.

“We did this for blockchain, we did this for NFT a couple of years ago, and that clearly doesn’t have utility other than for people who still believe in buying numbers.”

But AI is different, Wiser maintains. He said he’s been following AI his entire career, from his early days working in a neurosystems lab, “focused on encoding and understanding how the brain processes media … and watching the progression over that time frame, and then now, looking at the level of investment, this is very, very real. When I look at other similar technology trends, I look back to the internet, and the reality is, 30 years ago, when Netscape launched, that Web 1.0 is kind of where we’re at right now. So all the companies out there saying they’re AI-based, 90% of them will be gone. But after that there’s this rationalization of the market, and if you look out the 10-year window, it’s going to fundamentally change the way we operate.”

Wiser said AI is currently studied mostly for how it will be used in production, “and that’s the area where people get very concerned.”

But he sees AI as more of “a very interesting tool” rather than a substitute, and ultimate replacement, for human creativity. AI, for example, could be used for text-based functions such as script analysis, helping executives weed through the thousands of scripts they receive, instead of actually writing a script.

“We’ve done experiments with that, with AI writing the next episode of this show versus with what we can do with our writing team, and it’s very boring,” Wiser said. “So I think you have to be very sensible about what it can create from scratch.”

Wiser sees a bigger potential for AI in marketing, including image creation. “Marketing is a huge opportunity,” he said. “A media company’s two big investments are content and marketing. And marketing is based on derivative works, which AI is really good at — ‘take this image and turn it into a video’ or ‘take this video and cut it down to a section that’s 30 seconds and has these characteristics.'”

Wiser notes that AI already is being used to personalize recommendations, “based on what it knows about you.”

Asked whether the personalization capabilities of AI could be stretched to the point where the technology could be used to create custom episodes of series, based what the viewer likes and doesn’t like, Wiser said he doubts it will ever get to that point. 

Down the road, Wiser said, he could see AI and AR (augmented reality) work together, noting that  AR is becoming increasingly popular.

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“It’s now showing up on many screens,” he said. “If you look at what we did with the Super Bowl and Nickelodeon, we went in and replaced the sportscasters with SpongeBob and other characters, and we just had a lot of things going on in the stadium.

“I think that’s going to continue to advance, and when you add that with AI and what AI can do to naturally put other scenes on top of it — we’ve seen what it can do with deep fakes, although there are a lot of concerns with that in this election year — I think they’re going to merge a little bit and AR and AI will create new experiences.”

NAB Show Streaming Summit: Industry Could Use a Reality Check

LAS VEGAS — NAB Streaming Summit chair Dan Rayburn delivered a sharp rebuke to streaming media executives April 14, urging them to focus on financial and economic matters and taking aim at the lack of accurate information around viewership numbers and the hype about free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST).

The economy has thrown streamers into a bit of a tizzy, with investment hampered by an inability to get credit and expected interest rate cuts not materializing, at least not yet, he said. As a result, the industry is going through a protracted cash crunch, which has led to layoffs and talk of mergers.

“The most important thing is we have to be realistic about what’s going on in the market,” Rayburn said. “The balance sheet drives our industry. If you think it’s anything else, sorry, but you’re wrong.  So everyone has been resetting the bar over the last 18 months. Getting to free cash flow — that’s the initial goal. Getting to profitability, that’s the second goal. Free cash flow and profitability are not the same thing. Getting to free cash flow is key; profitability, that’s like the gold standard. That’s why we’ve seen so many layoffs over the last 18 months — and we’re still going to go through this for the rest of the year.”

Because of the tight credit market and a series of delays in expected interest rate cuts, he said, growth constraints will remain at least through the end of 2024, or “until money starts flowing again, and that impacts all of us.”

On the positive side, Rayburn contends, media companies have become more focused with their products and services, their go-to-market approach, content bundling and cost cuts.

“We’ve already seen a lot of vendors, in particular, refocus who they are and what they do,” he said. “Focus is key. We’ve gotten through the toughest point, so when we have interest rates come down again, when companies start getting money again, companies will start growing again.”

Rayburn took issue with what he considers a record amount of disinformation about revenue, subscribers and viewers, which is frequently spread and amplified through social media. He called out an eMarketer report that claimed Hulu+Live TV had 11.4 million subscribers, even though Disney itself says the total is more like 4.6 million, as well as news reports that erroneously said Netflix’s ad-supported tier reaches 23 million subscribers rather than users, which he says is a big difference.

“This is happening every single day in our industry,” he said. “People share information without checking the source, and then reshare it with others. It’s incredible how often this happens.”

When Peacock reported that its live stream of an NFL Wild Card game was the biggest live-streamed event in U.S. history, Rayburn said, an analyst “purposely removed the word U.S. Why? So now they can make a big issue of it on LinkedIn.” And Nielsen, the big research house, has yet to disclose how exactly it defines a viewer.

Rayburn also called for a reality check in regard to FAST.

“There’s far too much FAST hype out there,” he said. “FAST growth, FAST this, FAST that. Popularity without productivity is not a business model. There are companies that can make an investment in FAST and wait for it to payoff 10 years from now, but how many companies can do that? Google, Apple, Microsoft — it’s only a handful.

“Vizio is the only company that gives out any information about the amount of advertising revenue it gets from its FAST channels. It’s right there in its regulatory reports. There isn’t any other company that provides any financial information about FAST — not Pluto, not Xumo, not Tubi.  Every once in a while you get a cryptic, ‘We will get profitable by the end of the year, probably.’

“‘FAST is growing.’ Thanks, we know that. ‘There’s a lot of channels.’ Yeah, we know that. ‘There’s content overload.’ Yes, we know that, too. So where is FAST actually making money? No one will say. No one’s talking about it.”

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Streaming to Once Again Take Center Stage at April 13-17 NAB Show in Las Vegas

The National Association of Broadcasters is once again spotlighting streaming at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, which runs April 13 through 17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More than 260 of the show’s nearly 1,300 exhibitors consider themselves part of the streaming spectrum, according to a keyword search, while the show’s conference program includes almost 40 sessions devoted to streaming.  

Most of them will be part of the third annual Streaming Summit, produced by Dan Rayburn, who is considered one of the leading authorities, speakers, and writers on streaming media technology, content, and business models.

The Streaming Summit will be held April 15 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Rooms 106 and 107 in the convention center’s West Hall.

“It’s crucial to separate hype from reality, and it’s vital to keep up with tools that can make the tech stack more efficient, offer better personalization and help deliver a better user experience with fewer bits,” Rayburn told Media Play News. “Streaming Summit is the OTT event of the year because it brings into one room the major platforms, tech providers and content creators. We have the top names in the space sharing actionable information on how to deliver quality streams at scale, reduce churn and maximize revenue opportunities.”

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This year’s Streaming Summit, as always, kicks off with a welcome from conference chair Rayburn, who will present some of the latest numbers related to profitability, subscriber growth, and viewership. According to the presentation preview, he also will discuss “the turmoil in the video business around content licensing, bundling, cord-cutting, rising costs, and churn and retention within OTT services. Hear where he sees an opportunity for growth and consolidation in the industry, the key financial metrics everyone should be tracking and who the winners and losers will be across the broadcast, pay TV, MVPD and OTT markets.”

The welcome will be followed by a half-hour “fireside chat” with Phil Wiser, EVP, CTO, and Head of Multiplatform Operations for Paramount Global, focused on the opportunities and challenges presented by AI.

Other conference highlights include “The Business of FAST: Ad Dollars, Viewer Measurement and Content Saturation,” which takes a look at the present state, and future, of free ad-supported streaming TV; “Combating Churn with Better Packaging and Distribution Strategies,” which will focus on what consumers want from OTT services and the impact of their choices on OTT business models; and “FAST, AVOD and SVOD, Defining the New Pay TV Bundle,” which takes a look ahead at the next generation of streamers as server their offerings with multiple tiers and differing price points, combine advertising with subscriptions, and develop innovative new packages and bundles.

Several other Streaming Summit sessions will focus on live sports streaming, which has lately been generation lots of buzz in the streaming world. Day two (April 16) begins with another 9 a.m. Rayburn welcome in which he will detail facts, figures and news tied to the sports streaming market, including the latest live event viewership numbers, his thoughts on the upcoming JV service between Disney, Fox and WBD, and his thoughts on why rising content licensing costs and platform fragmentation is the key reason why pay TV still accounts for around 85% of total viewing hours for live sports. Live Sports Streaming: Where Content Rights and Streaming Technology Collide (April 15, 4-5 p.m.) will have panelists discussing how OTT platforms are optimizing their sports licensing bundles and technology stacks to maximize engagement, create revenue predictability, increase customer lifetime value, and mitigate rights costs.

Other live sports sessions include “Sports Streaming’s Place in Fan Engagement and Monetization,” “Live Sports Streaming: Where Content Rights and Streaming Technology Collide,” and two case studies, “How The NFL Delivers a Great Video Experience” and “NBCU and AWS: A Deep Dive Into the Tech Behind Peacock’s Record-Breaking NFL Wild Card Exclusive.”

The Streaming Summit debuted at the April 2018 NAB Show as a one-day event. 

Unlike last year, there will not be a dedicated OTT section of the show floor, according to an NAB spokesperson, with streaming exhibitors now integrated across the exhibit hall.

Virgil Hosts Special Screening of ‘7 Yards: A Chris Norton Story’ Documentary

Virgil Films recently held a special screening of its new documentary 7 Yards: A Chris Norton Story at the historic Newtown Theatre in Newtown, Penn. Chris Norton came out to the theater to share his story with the audience after the film, along with the film’s executive producer, Joe Amodei.

The film was streamed last year on Netflix and is now available for digital purchase and rent on Fandango at Home (formerly Vudu), Prime Video and other digital transactional platforms.

7 Yards explores the resilience and perspective of Norton, who in 2010, at the age of 18, suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury during a college football game. Doctors gave him just a 3% chance of ever again moving his body below the neck. Miraculously, he defied the odds, walking across the stage during college graduation and seven yards down the aisle at his wedding.

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But that was only the beginning of his story. In the ensuing years, Norton has made it his mission to spread a message of empowerment in the face of adversity of all types. Today, he is a keynote speaker, an author, head of his own nonprofit, and a foster and adoptive dad. His story has appeared in some of the world’s largest media outlets, and he was named one of ITA Group’s “hottest keynote speakers.” He travels across the country to inspire people from all walks of life and demonstrates how to unlock our abilities within.

7 Yards features powerful interviews, emotional reenactments, and real footage from Norton’s 2018 wedding.

“Releasing this film and working with Chris has been a humbling experience for all of us at Virgil,” Amodei said. “He makes us stronger human beings. Chris and I have further projects in development we are hoping to bring audiences to in the future that educate, entertain and most importantly inspire.”

The event was sponsored by Michael Meister of JAMM Films.

Entire ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ TV Series Now Available for Digital Purchase; DVD Release to Follow Oct. 8

Just as the press is flooded with stories about the finale of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment has announced the entire 12-season series is available today (April 8) for digital purchase on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, Google Play and other digital retailers.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Series also will be issued on DVD on Oct. 8. The DVD collection, with a suggested retail price of $119.99, includes all 120 episodes of the Larry David-starring sitcom, along with all previously released special features including “The Seinfeld Reunion: It Could Only Happen on Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Also available today for digital purchase, and on Oct. 8 on DVD, is Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Twelfth and Final Season.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” stars “Seinfeld” mastermind Larry David as an over-the-top version of himself. The comedy series, which has just concluded its run with a much-ballyhooed finale with a brief appearance by Bruce Springsteen, shows how seemingly trivial details of one’s day-to-day life can precipitate a catastrophic chain of events. The series also stars Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Cheryl Hines, J.B. Smoove, the late Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, Vince Vaughn and Tracey Ullman.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” has received much critical acclaim, winning 51 Emmy nominations and two wins; five Golden Globe nominations and one win;  and multiple nominations and wins across the various guilds, including SAG, DGA and WGA.

In Season 12, Larry accidentally champions an important political cause, takes part in a country club controversy, and attempts to restore his public image.

The finale, which aired April 7, picked up after Larry’s image as a liberal hero was shot because he gave Bruce Springsteen COVID. In the episode, titled “No Lessons Learned,” Larry stood trial for giving a bottle of water to Auntie Rae (Ellia English) while standing in line at a poll, in violation of a controversial new Georgia voting law.

Home Video Veteran Stan Meyers, Key Sound Video Unlimited and Baker & Taylor Exec, Dies at 93

Stan Meyers, a veteran of the early days of the home video industry, died April 1 at the age of 93.

Stan Meyers

Meyers is best remembered as a key executive at Baker & Taylor, which during the heyday of the rental-priced videocassette was the second-largest distributor in the country, behind Ingram Entertainment.

He had joined Baker & Taylor in 1986 through its acquisition of Sound Video Unlimited, another big wholesaler.

Previously, Meyers had worked in sales at London Records, where he rose to manager of the British label’s Midwest branch.

He joined what was then Sound Unlimited, a Chicago-area electronics store and audio wholesaler, in the summer of 1977 as sales manager. Working closely with company founder Noel Gimbel, he helped expand the firm into the then-new home video business, a move that proved so lucrative that the company soon changed its named to Sound Video Unlimited.

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At Sound Video Unlimited, Meyers rose through the sales ranks to the SVP rank. He was frequently quoted in stories on home video in the trade press, including Billboard, where in 1982 he commented that accessories could be a good source of incremental revenue for the many video rental stores that at the time kept popping up all over the country.

As the home video industry grew, Meyers became a regular at the annual convention of the National Association of Video Distributors (NAVD). He maintained what colleagues remember as a “larger than life presence” there after Sound Video Unlimited was acquired by Baker & Taylor and Meyers assumed a series of executive roles with the acquiring company. Meyers ultimately rose to EVP of Baker & Taylor and helped grow the company well into the 1990s. In 1997 he was quoted in a New York Times story on the VHS success of Paramount’s Titanic, telling a reporter, “Nothing approaches it.”

Meyers was inducted into the home video Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Stan was an icon and a pioneer of the home entertainment industry,” said Marty Jorgensen, a key executive with Video Productions Distributors Inc., another of the big wholesalers in the heyday of the rental videocassette. “His contributions and personality were loved and respected by all who knew and worked with him,” Jorgensen said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Meyers was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 6, 1930 to Sam and Ida Meyers. He grew up in Brooklyn and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict prior to beginning his civilian career.

Meyers is survived by his wife, Judith Ginzburg-Meyers; daughters Diana (Rick) Friedman and Julie (James Burgdorfer) Newman; and three grandchildren, Josh Friedman, Samantha Friedman and Daniel Newman. He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Harriet, who passed away in early 2006.

Services will be held Friday, April 5, at noon at The Chapel, 195 North Buffalo Grove Road, in Buffalo Grove, Ill. The services will be livestreamed on his webpage at the Goldman Funeral Group. Interment will be at Shalom Memorial Park. The family says contributions would be appreciated to the Northbrook Community Synagogue.

John Waters’ Classic ‘Cry-Baby,’ With Johnny Depp, to Make 4K Ultra HD Debut May 28

Kino Lorber has announced the May 28 release of director John Waters’ groundbreaking 1990 musical comedy Cry-Baby, starring Johnny Depp, in a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Disc combo pack.

The film, which has never before been available in 4K Ultra HD, is being issued as part of Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line.

The release includes numerous bonus features, among them a new audio commentary by director Waters, new interviews with the cast and the crew, the “Bringing Up Baby” featurette, the 1990 documentary It Came From … Baltimore!, deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer.

Depp stars as 1950s teen rebel Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, who falls in love with a society girl. The film features a large ensemble cast that includes Amy Locane, Susan Tyrrell, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, and Polly Bergen, with appearances by Troy Donahue, Mink Stole, Joe Dallesandro, Joey Heatherton, David Nelson, Patricia Hearst, and Willem Dafoe.

The combo presents both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut, which is seven minutes longer. The 4K Ultra HD has the theatrical cut from a new HDR/Dolby Vision master, made from a 4K Scan of the 35mm original camera negative, on a triple-layered UHD100 disc. The Blu-ray Disc features the director’s cut from a new HD master, made from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative of the theatrical cut and a 4K scan of the director’s cut interpositive and an uprez of the SD master for the additional missing parts.

Cry-Baby will also be released separately on Blu-ray Disc.

Top Indie Power Players 2024: The Heavyweights of Independent Film Distribution

Welcome to Media Play News’ third annual Top Indie Power Players list, our annual salute to the key movers and shakers in independent film distribution.

Actress Charlize Theron once said, “I feel 100% sure that I have the career that I have today because of independent filmmaking.” Undoubtedly, many other actors feel the same way, since so many of them got their start in independent film. Independent filmmakers care less about box office success than they do about telling a compelling story, and while they turn to festivals and limited theatrical showings to drum up awareness, their core audiences have always been in the home. And thanks to the proliferation of digital distribution, particularly streaming and niche FAST channels, the options for delivering films directly to consumers have never been greater.

We launched this project in 2022 because we felt the distribution side of the independent film world wasn’t getting nearly as much attention as it deserved. We knew there were all sorts of awards and honors on the creative side, but very little attention on the acquisition and distribution executives responsible for bringing this great content to the public.

As we did last year, we are profiling what our judges consider the top 30 power players in independent film distribution. The process was simple: We solicited nominations through our website, and then had a panel of distribution executives, creatives and entertainment journalists narrow down the nominees to 30.

And by independent film, we’re not just talking about newly made movies. Over the 100-year-plus history of cinema, independent productions have steadfastly held their own among the big Hollywood tentpoles, and some of our honorees are focused on bringing to the home market vintage indies that have either achieved cult status or been all but forgotten.

The envelope, please …

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Nick Savva

Nick Savva is the GM of Giant Pictures, a New York- and Los Angeles-based independent movie company he co-founded in 2017. The company has quickly established itself as a key player in U.S. digital distribution. The coming year will see the launch of Tribeca Films, a new co-venture between Giant Pictures and the Tribeca Festival, which plans on acquiring upwards of 25 movies per year for streaming platforms. Savva has also expanded Giant’s theatrical releasing capabilities via its majority stake in genre distributor Drafthouse Films, where he also serves as CEO. With more than 1,000 titles under management from client labels such as Participant Media, Sony Music, Red Bull Studios and Yellow Veil Pictures, Giant Pictures under Savva’s leadership is fueling new Preferred Partner deals with YouTube Free Primetime Content (Google’s licensed AVOD offering) as well as The Roku Channel. Savva is also investing in the direct-to-consumer segment, having launched FAST channels with Tribeca and Baby Einstein, a beloved children’s brand. Recent Giant Pictures releases include Oliver Stone’s climate documentary Nuclear Now, Alex Winter’s The YouTube Effect and the 4K restoration of Robert De Niro’s 1993 crime thriller classic A Bronx Tale.

Garson Foos

Garson Foos is CEO and co-founder of Shout! Studios, which over the past 20 years has expanded its business activities through various media platforms, multiple streaming channels, and extensive content libraries — including cult classics (movies and TV), new films, family friendly content, animation and anime. Shout! also boasts a solid slate of original productions. Another key area is content licensing and distribution, particularly in the realm of digital media and streaming. Shout! has been recognized by the industry for revitalizing cult and class film and TV series on various viewing platforms, including DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 4K UHD, and digital streaming. Today, digital streaming — TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and FAST — has become a well-established business for Shout!, especially for cult and classic film and TV. In recent years, Shout! has also emerged as a leading distributor of top anime and animation content. Through its partnership with GKIDS, Shout! distributes 22 Studio Ghibli classics. In addition, Shout! has ventured into original content development and productions for feature films and series including new seasons of the cult TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” remakes of select Roger Corman films from the New Horizons Pictures library, and the Shout! original movie Old Henry, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Julie Dansker

Julie Dansker is SVP of streaming and content strategy at Shout! Studios. A seasoned entertainment executive with longstanding relationships with content creators, content buyers, digital and streaming platforms, studios, and networks, Dansker oversees the licensing and streaming sales team, leading the streaming and content distribution strategy for Shout! Studios. She drives the monetization for all film and series content across global SVOD, AVOD channel partners and broadcasters, executing licensing deals, managing portfolios of AVOD channel partners and pitching and launching FAST channels. Utilizing data-driven analytics, her team monitors performance and optimizes engagement across partners. Dansker also collaborates with the acquisitions team to identify and acquire elevated new releases and is on the Shout! Studios team developing original content across television, feature films and podcasts, actively pitching and setting up original productions. The most-notable recent films include Shekhar Kapur’s What’s Love Got to Do With It?; the award-winning Western Old Henry, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival; Linoleum, starring Jim Gaffigan and Rhea Seehorn; and Drugstore June, on which she served as executive producer. Promoted into her present position in October 2022, Dansker joined Shout! in November 2020 from The Orchard, where she was VP of sales and marketing.

Chris McGurk

Chris McGurk is chairman and CEO of Cine-verse, a publicly traded entertainment company with dual headquarters in Los Angeles and New York. The company distributes content across all windows, from theatrical to TVOD/DVD/Blu-ray Disc and streaming: SVOD, AVOD and FAST. Cineverse’s network of fan channels includes Dog Whisperer, with Cesar Milan, and iconic children’s entertainers Sid & Marty Krofft, as well as Screambox, RetroCrush, the Dove Channel, and the company’s flagship service, Cineverse. McGurk has enjoyed a long and transformative executive career in the film, TV and streaming content industries. Cineverse’s proprietary, next-generation streaming technology solution, Matchpoint, powers the distribution of more than 71,000 film, TV and podcast titles, with 1.4 million total SVOD subscribers and 4 billion minutes streamed. Matchpoint’s suite of AI tools are now offered as an SaaS solution — supporting media companies, platforms and OEMs. Before joining Cineverse in 2011, McGurk was the founder and CEO of Overture Films and CEO of Anchor Bay Entertainment. McGurk also served as vice chairman of the board and COO of MGM Studios. Earlier in his career McGurk served in various executive capacities at Universal Pictures and several senior executive roles at The Walt Disney Studios, including Studios CFO and president of The Walt Disney Motion Picture Group.

Erick Opeka

Erick Opeka is president and chief strategy officer at Cineverse. He oversees the company’s efforts in streaming, distribution and technology, as well as corporate strategy and M&A initiatives. Additionally, Opeka oversees the company’s portfolio of three-dozen streaming services and FAST channels that reach more than 80 million connected-TV viewers each month. These networks include the company’s recently launched flagship streaming service Cineverse, as well as Fandor (indie film), Screambox (horror), Docurama (documentaries), CONtv (fandom), Dove Channel (family), RetroCrush (anime), AsianCrush (pan-Asian) and others. In addition, the company operates and manages streaming channels for more than a dozen strategic partners, including Red Bird Capital’s All3Media, American Public Media, Nacelle, Real Madrid and more. Opeka’s strategic growth approach, including the completion of eight M&A transactions over the past four years, led to triple-digit growth in Cineverse’s streaming business. Before joining Cineverse, Opeka co-founded and led New Video Digital, eventually transforming it into the world’s largest independent film and TV aggregator. He began his career at Madstone Entertainment, a pioneer in digital exhibition and distribution. A U.S. Army veteran, Opeka is vice chair at streaming trade association OTT.X and is a board member at streaming producer Roundtable Entertainment. He is also a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy.

Richard Lorber

Richard Lorber is the chairman and CEO of Kino Lorber Media Group, a specialty film and television distributor that each year releases more than 40 films theatrically and brings more than 350 titles annually to the home entertainment market through physical and digital releases. The company specializes in international, documentary, independent and classic cinema and has recently expanded its episodic releases with the acquisition of the two leading international TV streamers, MHz Choice and Topic. This year Lorber also launched his own subscription streamer, Kino Film Collection, in partnership with Amazon, featuring more than 400 titles, including the company’s newest theatrical releases and films from its 2,000-title library. Recent 4K UHD releases include such Hollywood classics as To Live and Die in L.A. and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Boxed set releases include Cinema’s First Nasty Women, the Francois Truffaut Collection, A French Village from MHz Choice and classic Nordic noirs “The Bridge” and “The Killing.” The company also launched its Kino Cult line of genre favorites in numbered Blu-ray Disc editions. An industry pioneer, Lorber co-founded and served as the head of Fox Lorber for 20 years. He later spent six years as president of Koch Lorber Films. He acquired Kino International in 2009 to form Kino Lorber.

Danny Fisher

Danny Fisher is CEO of FilmRise, a New York-based film and television studio that is one of the world’s largest providers of content in the AVOD/FAST space. Fisher has guided the company from a startup in the basement of his Brooklyn residence in 2012 to one of the largest third-party providers of content to streaming platforms, with tens of thousands of FilmRise titles currently streaming all over the world. Fisher also created the FilmRise Streaming Network, one of the world’s largest independently owned portfolios of ad-supported streaming apps and FAST channels. Fisher has recently steered FilmRise into several new directions, including stitching short-form creator content, primarily from YouTube, into 23-minute segments and licensing them as half-hour episodes to AVOD networks, FAST channels, and even some SVOD services and regular television networks. Successful shows include “Unspeakable” and “PrestonPlayz.” FilmRise offers movies and television shows across all genres, from Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and its own “Bloodline Detectives,” hosted by Nancy Grace, to films such as Sprinter, the 2018 sports drama executive produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Driveways, a 2019 drama that had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Before co-founding FilmRise, Fisher was founder and CEO of City Lights Media Group, which created and produced Food Networks’ popular series “Chopped.”

Kent Sanderson

Kent Sanderson is president of acquisitions and ancillary distribution at Bleecker Street, a position he has held since the company’s inception in 2014. He also serves as co-president of Decal, the home entertainment joint venture he co-founded in 2021 and runs with his Neon counterpart, Andrew Brown. Over the past 10 years, Sanderson has managed a slate of acquisitions and co-productions that is now more than 70 titles deep and has included a wide array of independent and commercial-facing projects, from the 100% Rotten Tomatoes-rated Leave No Trace, the acclaimed workplace thriller The Assistant, and Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy Logan Lucky, to this year’s Academy Award-nominated Golda, starring Helen Mirren. Sanderson also oversees all of Bleecker’s revenue streams outside theatrical, including streaming, VOD, physical media, non-theatrical and international partnerships. He signed first pay-TV output deals with Amazon’s Prime Video, Hulu and Paramount+ with Showtime, and has completed an array of second-window and beyond sales with every major streaming platform. Previously, Sanderson worked at GoDigital, and during a six-year run at Focus Features built a digital distribution arm before moving into acquisitions. He began his career in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency.

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown is president of digital distribution at Neon as well as co-president of Decal, which he co-founded in 2021 and runs with Bleecker Street’s Kent Sanderson. Brown’s roles extend to all digital distribution and physical media channels for Neon’s library and the direct-to-consumer digital and merchandising portal Neon Cinema. Neon is best known for such films as Spencer; I, Tonya; Parasite; and recent Oscar winner Anatomy of a Fall. At Decal, Brown oversees the home entertainment rights for Neon, Bleecker Street and XYZ, with a collective output that includes the comedy Ride the Eagle, starring Jake Johnson, J.K. Simmons and Susan Sarandon; the horror film The Offering, directed by Oliver Park; and the romantic comedy Which Brings Me To You, starring Lucy Hale and Nat Wolff. During his more than 20 years in the film and TV industry, Brown has been at the forefront of the digital video business, starting with Rainbow Media (now Altice) and InDemand. Starting in 2006, he took over the expansion and development of Time Warner Cable’s VOD service, making it into one of the nation’s largest streaming video platforms. After Time Warner Cable’s acquisition by Charter in 2016, Brown joined Neon as the SVP of digital marketing, strategy and distribution.

Ben Means

Ben Means is president of Distribution Solutions and Mill Creek Entertainment, divisions of Alliance Entertainment, a leading independent film and TV content distributor. He joined Distribution Solutions when it was founded in 2015 as the third-party home entertainment division of Sony Pictures. Three years later he negotiated the company’s sale to Alliance and since has driven its growth into a leading partner of choice for the licensing and distribution of films from both major and independent studios. Distribution Solutions currently has more than 40 label partners,
8,300 active DVD/Blu-ray Disc SKUs, and 3,200 hours of digital content. In 2019 Means was instrumental in Alliance’s acquisition of Mill Creek Entertainment, which expanded the home entertainment business under his purview even further. Means has more than two decades of entertainment industry management experience. Prior to joining Distribution Solutions, he served as VP of North American operations for the Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment and EVP of worldwide operations at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment — the youngest person to hold those positions. He implemented the first VMI systems at both Disney and Fox, the first and second studios to go direct with retailers, and has won 13 “Vendor of the Year” awards, including five at Walmart.

Jeff Hayne

Jeff Hayne is SVP of acquisitions and productions at Mill Creek Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance Entertainment. With direct sales pipelines to all primary retail and online partners, Mill Creek Entertainment licenses, produces, markets and distributes a growing array of film and television content to more than 100 digital platforms, 30,000 retail stores and hundreds of online retailers. Since taking over licensing and production activities at Mill Creek in 2007, Hayne has driven the company’s evolution from a boutique indie label into one of the biggest full-service licensing companies in North America. Mill Creek’s library includes Oscar-winning theatrical features, Emmy-winning classic and contemporary TV series, original documentaries and pop-culture favorites. Upcoming releases include 47 Days With Jesus, from Pinnacle Peak; Icons Unearthed: Star Wars, from Nacelle; and the complete series of 1960s sitcom “Bewitched.” Licensing partners include all the major studios and TV networks as well as hundreds of independent filmmakers and library owners. Hayne has successfully licensed and released more than 5,000 DVD and Blu-ray Disc products and is nearing that same number on digital platforms. Hayne and Mill Creek have also produced and released more than 85 new productions, mostly documentaries, which have found a home on such streaming platforms as Netflix, Starz, Hulu and Prime Video.

Ed Seaman

Ed Seaman is CEO of MVD Entertainment Group, a full-service movie and music distribution firm that exclusively represents a vast catalog of audio and visual products for DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD, CD, vinyl and digital rights, worldwide. MVD exclusively represents such video labels as Arrow Films, Severin, Synapse, Blue Underground, 88 Films, VCI and Troma, along with in-house label MVD Rewind. Recently MVD signed Random Media for digital distribution, along with the U.K.’s Eureka Entertainment. Additionally, MVD is consistently sourcing independent and archival films for home video and digital release. MVD finds opportunity in serving the collector market with cult and genre films on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD, with high demand despite reduced retail shelf space and studio offerings. Digital distribution, meanwhile, is growing dramatically. “Serving Artists and Audiences” is MVD’s purpose statement and has served as a guiding light for Seaman throughout his career. Founded by industry veteran Tom Seaman in 1987, MVD remains an independent family owned and operated business. MVD’s customer base consists of major retail chains and digital platforms, along with independent retailers and digital sites. MVD continues to grow and in 2023 posted another banner year.

Eric Wilkinson

Eric Wilkinson is the director of acquisitions at MVD Entertainment Group. He oversees the company’s two boutique labels, MVD Rewind Collection and MVD Marquee Collection, which he launched in 2017 as a curated selection of Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray special-editions of cult movies that pay homage to VHS releases from the video rental store era, many of which have never been released on any optical disc format. Each title is numbered and comes in a slipcover that looks like a weathered VHS box. Early releases include Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, the 1978 sci-fi horror film about a group of scientists who band together to save the world from mutated killer tomatoes, and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Lionheart and Black Eagle. Recent releases include Best Picture Academy Award winner Rain Man, starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman; Wes Craven’s take on the DC superhero Swamp Thing; and the cult classic Ghoulies. Wilkinson joined MVD in 2015. Previously, his career path took him through MGM Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Kino Lorber. He began his career in home entertainment in 1989 as a clerk at the independent New Jersey video store chain Hometown Video and as a brand manager for 20th Century Fox Home Video at Star Video in 1998.

Joe Amodei

Joseph Amodei is president and CEO of Virgil Films & Entertainment, which he founded in 2003 to develop, acquire, market, distribute and produce movies in the narrative feature film, documentary, episodic television and special-interest categories. Amodei has enjoyed a career in the film industry for nearly 30 years. Under Amodei’s leadership the company has released such award-winning hits as the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary Ruth; We Are Columbine, in which four survivors of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history return to Columbine High School 20 years later to share their experiences and journeys toward healing; and Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s notorious takedown of fast-food convenience. Amodei’s personal love for independent films and documentaries made its way into his business life when he became president of USA Home Entertainment in 2000. There, he shepherded such films as Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich and Robert Altman’s Gosford Park into the home entertainment world. Amodei has recently begun producing, beginning with Who Do I Think I Am?, the Clarence Clemons documentary. He has also worked as executive producer on the Netflix documentary series “Happy Jail,” which earned him a Telly Award. Amodei won a New York Emmy for his work on The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life.

Andreas Olavarria

Andreas Olavarria is president and CEO of Level 33 Entertainment, a global film sales and distribution company he founded in 2010. Level 33 distributes and sells content across all media platforms including theatrical, VOD, DVD and streaming. Olavarria has overseen the acquisition, marketing and distribution of more than 150 independent feature films, including the recent theatrical and day-and-date home releases Double Down South, from Tom Schulman; the icy thriller Cold Meat, starring Allen Leech and Nina Bergman; and the SXSW sci-fi rom-com Molli and Max in the Future, starring Zosia Mamet and Aristotle Anthari. In 2024 Level 33 will continue to build upon the theatrical distribution footprint for select independent films, its relationships with a growing list of key VOD partners, and strategic international partnerships for monetizing content overseas. Olavarria produces and executive produces a handful of original feature films each year, and this year will be announcing a partnership with a new entertainment venture founded by an active NBA all-star and future hall of famer. He has more than 25 years of experience in the development, production and distribution of motion pictures, having worked as an executive at both 20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Studios, as well as in the world of independent film.

Doug Schwab

Doug Schwab is founder and president of Maverick Entertainment Group, a Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based company that for nearly 30 years has been a trailblazer in the distribution of Black cinema and other niche indie films. Maverick has released more than 1,500 films and boasts the world’s largest library of Black cinema. Dedicated to both acquiring and producing content, Maverick releases more than 100 titles annually, distributed across physical and digital platforms worldwide. Maverick provides content to such major digital platforms as Tubi, Peacock, Roku and Vizio. Maverick films are also available on demand on Freevee, Samsung and Vudu, as well as on streaming platforms such as FilmRise, Xumo, Fawesome and Crackle. Additionally, the Maverick Black Cinema app, available on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Comcast, offers audiences a curated selection of premium content. Maverick Black Cinema FAST channels can be found on Tubi, Freevee, Sling, The Roku Channel and Plex, and built into Samsung, Vizio, LG, Google, TCL and Hisense smart televisions. This past year Maverick premiered several original productions, including The Comeback, Boxed In 2, Dope Boy Magic and A Christmas Family Secret. A native of New Orleans, Schwab has more than 40 years of experience in the home entertainment industry and leveraged the expertise he gained as a Blockbuster buyer to lay the foundation for Maverick’s inception and growth.

Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill is CEO of Indican Pictures, an independent film studio that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Under Hill’s leadership, Indican has partnered with industry leaders such as Lionsgate, Giant Pictures, Criterion and Magnolia to release upwards of 30 films per year and more than 450 to date. Indican’s recent releases include Hounds, a crime drama that premiered at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard 2023; the acclaimed documentary Green City Life, which calls to action revolutionary initiatives on sustainable re-vegetation and bio-waste recovery; Native American films The Windigo and The Heart Stays; and the international fantasy actioner The Phantom Warrior, with Dean Cain. Indican films have won NAACP, Spirit, Image and Prism awards for impactful stories that engage audiences worldwide, and can be viewed on Apple TV, Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, Max, Netflix, Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Spectrum, Showtime, Starz, Tubi, Xumo and Vudu, as well as worldwide airlines and educational institutions. Hill co-founded the company with Randolph Kent. She serves as an advisory board member for the University of Riverside and a judge for UCLA’s Masters screenwriting program. She happily champions the next generation of filmmakers and has her first TV series coming out in 2024.

David Gregory

David Gregory is co-founder, president and CEO of Severin Films, an independent distributor of what it calls “entertainment with sharp edges” for physical media and digital platforms. The company’s catalog includes projects by such filmmakers as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roman Polanski, Dario Argento, Paul Morrissey, Mike Leigh, Peter Greenaway, and Patrice Leconte; classic “exploitation” films; landmark American indies; horror from Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, the Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, Poland, Indonesia and the Soviet Union; a formidable collection of Italian gialli, cannibal movies, zombie movies, erotic thrillers and 1980s action hits; and Gregory’s own documentary features. Founded in 2006, Severin Films has also become a major player in the production of bonus features for disc releases, creating international materials for Criterion, Warner Bros., Paramount, Arrow, Kino Lorber, and Shout! Factory. Gregory began his career as a filmmaker and in 1997 co-founded the U.K. label Blue Underground. He later worked at Anchor Bay Entertainment, producing special features for such films as Heathers, The Wicker Man and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Over the past year, Gregory has overseen Severin’s production and release of such Blu-ray collections as Danza Macabra: The Italian Gothic Collection Vol. 2, The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle, Cushing Curiosities and Game of Clones: The Bruceploitation Collection.

Bill Vergos

Bill Vergos is head of digital film distribution at Byron Allen’s Freestyle Digital Media, a multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, satellite, digital and streaming platforms. He joined the company when it was established in 2010 and set up its robust distribution footprint, which now consists of a library of more than 500 titles and upwards of 100 releases annually across all media platforms, including theatrical, pay-TV, TVOD, DVD, SVOD and AVOD, which also includes Local Now, an American over-the-top internet television service owned by The Weather Group LLC, also a subsidiary of Allen Media Group. Recent releases include the 2023 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize winner Waiting for the Light to Change; The Road Dog, starring comedian Doug Stanhope; the adventure drama Survive, directed by Mark Pellington; the music documentary Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughn: Brothers in Blues; and Dear Zoe, starring Sadie Sink. Vergos also heads up film sales to all cable/satellite transactional platforms, DVD retailers and other non-theatrical outlets. Vergos is a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry. Prior to joining Freestyle he was director of product management and production at VDI Entertainment. He has more than 30 commercial, feature film and music video credits.

Mitch Mallon

Mitch Mallon is the founder and CEO of Stadium Media, a global digital distribution company established in 2015 that supplies programs to more than 150 countries around the world. The company has brought to market such indie films as the Christina Grimmie-starring romantic comedy The Matchbreaker; Bad Grandmas, a comedy with Pam Grier and Florence Henderson about four grandmothers who accidentally kill a conman; American Satan, a supernatural musical thriller film directed by Ash Avildsen; and stand-up comedy performances from Matt Rife, Lewis Black, Ralphie May, Craig Shoemaker and Rhys Darby. The company also has an extensive live music catalog, with the recently released 5 Seconds of Summer Live at the Royal Albert Hall. Mallon has enjoyed a more than 30-year run in the home entertainment business. In the early 2000s, he was a key player in the launch of one of the industry’s first digital content companies, Egami Media, a subsidiary of Image Entertainment. Mallon built relationships with such digital platforms as iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Google YouTube. Mallon has also spoken and mentored at a variety of festivals, including the Asia TV Forum & Market in Singapore, the St. Petersburg International Media Forum, and the Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia.

Eric Doctorow

Eric Doctorow is the CEO of Random Media, an independent film distribution company he founded 10 years ago that distributes independent films on a worldwide basis. Doctorow is a highly respected media executive who is well known for his leadership in the home entertainment market for more than 40 years. He held senior management positions at Paramount Pictures for 20 years, rising to president of Paramount’s worldwide home entertainment division. He also oversaw the distribution of other home entertainment franchises including MTV, Nickelodeon and CBS properties. Doctorow is known for establishing many marketing and distribution strategies now standard in the industry. He led Paramount’s entry into the DVD business and was responsible for distributing Titanic, the most successful domestic home video release of all time. After Paramount, Doctorow was chosen to lead MGM’s worldwide home entertainment business, managing MGM’s joint venture with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. While at MGM, Doctorow pioneered a long-tail content distribution model now used throughout the industry. This model, called Manufacturing On Demand (MOD), allowed MGM to create more value for its vast library than previously thought possible. Doctorow is a founding member of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and a past inductee into the video industry’s Hall of Fame.

Rich Wolff

Rich Wolff is CEO of Breaking Glass Pictures, a Philadelphia-based film distribution company providing worldwide content in the TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and DVD/Blu-ray Disc space. Wolff acquires and aggregates more than 100 films per year, representing a wide swath of genres, including actioners, documentaries, dramas, horror films, LGBTQ+ films, thrillers and foreign-language movies. Recent releases include Girls on Film, about the toxic relationship between a cam girl and a lonely, disturbed heiress; Barrio Boy, a cross-cultural LGBTQ+ romance between a Nuyorican barber and an Irishman; and Scalper, in which a psychic is confronted with a nightmarish reality as everyone around her falls victim to the sadistic reign of terror unleashed by “The Scalper.” In addition to acquiring films for home release, Wolff produces around 12 films a year, with his newest title, Conjuring the Cult, which is in the early stages of production. During his more than 20-year career in the entertainment industry, Wolff has licensed more than 500 films for distribution. He has been a regular attendee of the Cannes Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the American Film Market, and others. Before launching Breaking Glass Pictures in 2009, Wolff was a financial founder of the TLA Entertainment Group, which operated theaters, video stores and film-based mail-order catalogs. Wolff began his career as a punk-rock concert promoter.

Robert Blair

Robert Blair is president and CEO of VCI Entertainment, a pioneer in the made-for-video film market and the oldest continually operated home video company. The company specializes in bringing to DVD and Blu-ray Disc classic and cult films, such as the recently released Horrors of the Black Museum, a 1959 British thriller; the 1918 silent film Stella Maris, with Mary Pickford; and the 1970 crime drama The Gamblers, starring Suzy Kendall. VCI also has a new ad-free streaming service, VCI Classics, available on Roku, FireTV and Chromecast, which serves up an eclectic menu of films such as The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, which takes a look at what would have happened had President John F. Kennedy’s assassin lived; the 1941 comedy Road Show, directed by Hal Roach; the eerie 1953 film noir The Hitch-Hiker, written and directed by Ida Lupino; and vintage “Dick Tracy” serials. VCI, which currently has a library of more than 6,000 titles, was established in 1976 by Blair’s father, Bill. Robert, who had begun his career as a teenager working at a 16mm film distributor and laboratory, was initially in charge of sales and marketing just as the home video industry was still embroiled in a VHS vs. Betamax format war.

Bill Sondheim

Bill Sondheim is CEO of Greenfield Media LLC, a content management company that helps independent filmmakers secure financing, assists in production setup, and secures global distribution deals. Greenfield also acts as a consultant, helping to devise and execute distribution strategies for various established independent film companies, including Giant Pictures, Neon Pictures, Bleecker Street, and ReelWorks Studios. Greenfield is also advising on the content and rollout plans for several iconic Hollywood classics that Giant Pictures recently restored to 4K UHD, including A Bronx Tale and Caligula. In addition, Greenfield is working with Allied Vaughn and its MOD offerings to ensure an orderly phase-down of physical goods with major studios and leading independents. Sondheim has been promoting independent film for more than two decades. He was president of PolyGram Video, where he brought to market such films as Fargo, The Usual Suspects, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Big Lebowski. He later was president of GoodTimes Entertainment, oversaw the development of Sony Music Entertainment’s dual-disc technology initiative, and headed entertainment and worldwide distribution for Gaiam, later Gaiam Vivendi. In 2013 he began a six-year run as president of Cinedigm, where he oversaw the company’s expansion into OTT and China.

Dan Gurlitz

Dan Gurlitz is the founder of Soundview Media Partners and publisher of The Sound View: Independent Film Digest. Soundview Media Partners launched in 2010 as a boutique sales agency for documentarians in 2010. While documentaries remain a core focus of the agency, Soundview has expanded its genre activity over the years, placing more than 600 films into the market through a variety of channels, including the Emmy Award-winning They Survived Together, the Pozo-Seco Singers story Nobody Famous, and Leda, the re-imagined Greek myth, in 3D. Soundview also offers targeted film-marketing services to select clientele. In 2016 Soundview launched Soundview EDU, its direct non-theatrical licensing initiative. It now represents a library of more than 700 films. In February 2020 Soundview launched The Sound View, an interactive monthly digital publication featuring indie film reviews, articles and more. The publication has grown dramatically and now reaches 14,000+ subscribers. Prior to joining Soundview, Gurlitz spent 26 years in independent film distribution, first as a sales rep for a variety of film companies and then in key executive positions with Fox Lorber Associates, WinStar TV and Video (Wellspring Media), The Disinformation Company and Koch Entertainment (eOne). Additionally, Gurlitz works with MVD Entertainment, representing its vast digital library.

Michael Rosenberg

Michael Rosenberg is president of Film Movement, a New York City-based film distributor founded in 2002. The company specializes in world cinema, independent films and documentaries, and releases more than 20 new films each year. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Sergei Loznitsa, Andrzej Wajda, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Recent and upcoming releases include Jessica Hausner’s Cannes competition film Club Zero; Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s 20,000 Species of Bees, winner of three Goya Awards; the award-winning documentary In the Rearview; and Indonesian director Kamila Andini’s Yuni. In 2015 Film Movement launched the reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Chen Kaige, Lee Chang-Dong, Stanley Kwan, Marleen Gorris, King Hu, Takeshi Kitano and Peter Greenaway. Film Movement Plus, a subscription streaming service, is available at as well as on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and mobile devices, and has recently launched as an Amazon Prime Video channel. Rosenberg spent more than 25 years working for Koch Entertainment and its successor company, Entertainment One U.S. He became an owner of Film Movement in 2014. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

William Lustig

William Lustig is the founder and CEO of Blue Underground, an indie film company specializing in bringing obscure movies and exploitation cinema to home video. Lustig entered the video business as an established filmmaker himself, having directed the genre films Maniac, Vigilante, Hit List, Relentless, Uncle Sam and the “Maniac Cop” trilogy. On top of distributing many of Lustig’s past works, Blue Underground has also solidified itself as the primary home for such filmmaking luminaries as Dario Argento (Inferno, The Stendhal Syndrome, Two Evil Eyes), Lucio Fulci (Zombie, House by the Cemetery, The New York Ripper) and Jess Franco (Eugenie, Marquis De Sade’s Justine, 99 Women). Blue Underground is an industry leader in the restoration and authoring of classic cult films for 4K Ultra HD. Recent and upcoming releases include 4K restorations of The Girl From Rio, Night of the Blood Monster, Goodbye Uncle Tom and Deathdream. Lustig started his career on the creative side, beginning as an apprentice editor on the 1974 revenge thriller classic Death Wish. After a 16-year run as a film director, he went on to produce critically acclaimed special-edition DVDs for Anchor Bay Entertainment at a rate of eight releases a month, which then led to the formation of Blue Underground in 2002.

Bill Bromiley

Bill Bromiley is president of Saban Films, the film acquisition and distribution venture from Saban Capital Group that was founded in 2014. Saban Films focuses on commercial, talent-driven films, boarding projects at all stages of production and through release across multiple platforms in North America and select international territories, including a same-day theatrical/VOD release strategy. Recently acquired Saban titles include the suspense thriller Knox Goes Away, directed by and starring Michael Keaton, Al Pacino and James Marsden; the action thriller Cult Killer, starring Alice Eve and Antonio Banderas; and Butcher’s Crossing, starring Nicolas Cage, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Saban Films’ successes range from theatrical hits such as the horror reboot Wrong Turn, starring Charlotte Vega and Matthew Modine, and Brad Furman’s acclaimed City of Lies, starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker. Prior to joining Saban, Bromiley served as chief acquisitions officer of RLJ Entertainment, where he was responsible for the acquisition of all content and oversaw the development and distribution of the Image, One Village, Madacy, Amity and Slingshot film brands. Bromiley also previously served as president of First Look Home Entertainment.

Berry Meyerowitz

Berry Meyerowitz is the co-founder of Quiver Distribution, a film and TV company operating in the United States, Canada and international markets. Quiver acquires, develops, finances and produces films from established and emerging stars and filmmakers. Upcoming releases include Irena’s Vow, starring Sophie Nelisse and Dougray Scott; and Outlaw Posse, a Western directed by and starring Mario Van Peebles. The company recently produced and released the Netflix Original Happiness for Beginners, with Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes; The Wrath of Becky, the sequel to the hit 2020 film Becky; Fear the Night, starring Maggie Q; Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert and Mel Gibson; and the Walter Hill Western Dead for a Dollar with Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Brosnahan. Before launching Quiver with partner Jeff Sackman, Meyerowitz founded Phase 4 Films. Following the sale of Phase 4 Films to eOne, Meyerowitz stayed on as president of eOne’s U.S. film business. Meyerowitz has executive produced more than 30 feature films, including Mayim Bialik’s directorial debut As They Made Us, with Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen. Earlier in his career, Meyerowitz served as president of Peace Arch Home Entertainment, which he joined through the sale of his company, kaBOOM! Entertainment. Before that, he worked at 20th Century Fox as marketing director.

Steve Saltman

Steve Saltman is head of domestic sales for Electric Entertainment, a film and television sales and distribution company founded by film producer and director Dean Devlin in May 2001. Saltman has more than 30 years of entertainment industry experience, specializing in television and digital distribution as a key executive in sales, legal and business affairs, acquisitions, and development. His main focus at Electric is licensing Electric’s properties to the various outlets, channels and platforms. Recent acquisitions include Adam the First, starring David Duchovny; Exile, starring Adam Beach as a man who receives a death threat from the man whose family he killed in a drunk driving accident; and Year of the Fox, a drama about a biracial teenager navigating Aspen’s party scene while her adoptive parents go through a bitter divorce. Before joining Electric Entertainment in 2018, Saltman was SVP of worldwide television and new media at Image Entertainment. Earlier roles include executive positions at Blockbuster Entertainment, Ablaze Entertainment and Genesis Entertainment. Saltman has also worked as a consultant for such companies as Australian Broadcasting Corp., Bounce TV and New World Distribution.