Paramount’s Dan Cohen New Chair of DEG; Warner’s Jim Wuthrich Becomes Chair Emeritus

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on Aug. 12 unveiled its new board of directors, with Paramount Global chief content licensing officer Dan Cohen elected chair and prior chair Jim Wuthrich, president of content distribution at Warner Bros. Discovery, moving to chair emeritus.

Jonathan Zepp

Jonathan Zepp, head of media and entertainment global partnerships at Google, is the home entertainment trade association’s new vice chair.

DEG is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and says it aims to drive membership “that reflects the diverse, global and fluid digital entertainment marketplace.”

The new officers of the DEG board were elected to two-year terms and will serve through July 2024.

Andrea Downing, president of PBS Distribution, returns as CFO, with Rick Hack, head of media and entertainment partnerships at Intel Corp., re-elected secretary.

Returning DEG member Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), a new DEG member company, are each represented with new DEG board directors: Jason Spivak, EVP of distribution for North America at SPE, and Chris Blandy, global leader of strategy and business development, media and entertainment at AWS.

Andrea Downing

A+E Networks and Fandango/Vudu are longstanding members returning to the board. They are represented, respectively, by Mark Garner, EVP of content licensing and business development, and Mark Young, SVP of strategy, business and corporate development for Fandango and Vudu and GM of Rotten Tomatoes.

The new DEG board also includes two seats representing DEG’s two alliances, the D2C Alliance (D2CA) and the Advanced Content Delivery Alliance (ACDA), which the trade group says “play increasingly important roles in focusing DEG membership for the future and broadening the organization’s membership.”

The D2CA director is Adam Lewinson of Tubi. The ACDA director is Bill Neighbors of Xperi Holding Corp. Both Lewinson and Neighbors serve as chief content officer of their respective companies.

DEG directors also appointed Robin Tarufelli of Deloitte as a special board advisor for the 2022-23 term, a role “intended to provide diversity of input from membership sectors and companies that might not otherwise be represented on the board,” the DEG announced.

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Rick Hack

DEG arrives at its quarter-century mark with an expanding global membership that includes 81 member companies encompassing all areas of digital entertainment, with diverse business segments and from a wide range of geographical locations. Examples include Israel’s Deepdub, a localization service provider; Argentina’s BB Media, a data science company specializing in media and entertainment; South Korea’s Blintn, a global content marketplace; and U.S.-based TreeTrunk, which introduces a new standard for NFTs that enables blockchain royalty collection and distribution.

“I’m delighted that DEG membership is evolving to reflect the increasingly global nature of the digital entertainment ecosystem,” new board chair Cohen said in a statement. “The new board is committed to serving all DEG members and to providing the membership even more opportunities for collaboration, education and networking across industry sectors and across borders.”

“We welcome all of our new DEG board directors and are thrilled about our expanding base of companies based outside the U.S.,” said Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO. “I’m grateful that they see the value of membership in DEG, which is committed to continuing to deliver high return on investment for members evolving into global providers of direct-to-consumer entertainment.”

NASCAR Partners With Amazon for Cloud-Based Archival Video

NASCAR June 4 announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), that will help the 70-year-old stock car racing organization archive its racing video footage online in the cloud.

Video footage includes historical moments, photo-finishes, classic passes, wrecks and championship-clinching races.

“NASCAR is utilizing the breadth and depth of our cloud services to enhance the way people experience the sport and deliver even more impactful content to fans,” Mike Clayville, VP, worldwide commercial sales at AWS, said in a statement.

The archived footage will be featured on NASCAR.com and titled, “This Moment in NASCAR History powered by AWS.”

Each week, AWS and NASCAR.com will stream a historical moment from the upcoming track’s past for fans.

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“This Moment in NASCAR History” debuts this week and will feature Ernie Irvan’s 1997 comeback win at Michigan International Speedway.

“This relationship underscores our commitment to accelerate innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technology across our sport,” said Jon Tuck, chief revenue officer at NASCAR.

The auto racing organization will leverage “Amazon Rekognition” — an AWS service that adds image and video analysis to applications — to automatically tag specific video frames with metadata, such as driver, car, race, lap, time, and sponsors so the industry can easily search those tags to surface the most iconic moments from past races.

By using AWS, NASCAR expects to save thousands of hours of manual search time each year, and will be able to easily surface flashbacks like Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s 1987 “Pass in the Grass” or Denny Hamlin’s 2016 Daytona 500 photo finish, and quickly deliver these to fans via video clips on NASCAR.com and social media channels.

“Speed and efficiency are key in racing and business which is why we chose AWS — the cloud with unmatched performance, the most comprehensive set of services, and the fastest pace of innovation — to accelerate our migration to the cloud,” said Craig Neeb, EVP of innovation and development, NASCAR.

Report: Amazon Eyeing Boost Mobile Pre-Paid Wireless Service

Amazon reportedly is considering acquiring Boost Mobile, the prepaid cellphone service owned by Sprint Corp.

Sprint, which is attempting to merge with T-Mobile to become “New T-Mobile” for $26 billion, is spinning off Boost in an effort to appease federal regulators.

Reuters, which first reported the story citing sources familiar with the situation, said Amazon’s interest revolves around the ability to use T-Mobile’s wireless network and access wireless spectrum for six years as part of any transaction.

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Wireless spectrum enables the flow of digital data, including sound and video. Spectrum helps deliver voice and video between cell phones, television shows from broadcasters and online information between computers.

In addition to e-commerce, SVOD and digital books and music, Amazon has become one of the world’s largest cloud-based services through its AWS (Amazon Web Services) subsidiary.