Fragmentation, Content Discovery Key Topics for Speakers at EnTech Fest

Fragmentation in the digital marketplace and strategies to make finding content easier were key topics for speakers at the Feb. 7 EnTech Fest in Los Angeles, presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

During the conference, which DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith said drew 750 attendees, panel moderator Mark Finer of Communication Research unveiled a study conducted with Screen Engine that found nearly half of consumers want to access all of their content in one place.

LG Electronics’ Matt Durgin (left) and Communication Research’s Mark Finer on an EnTech Fest panel Feb. 7.

Smart TV home pages are a key entry point to finding content.

“The home page is where we’re impacting changes to the entertainment space, so it’s a big responsibility to manage these home pages,” said Matt Durgin of LG Electronics. That entry point often looks similar among manufacturers, he said.

“Look at everyone’s home page,” he said. “It’s FAST. It’s everyone’s service, and probably an ad.”

Still, manufacturers are trying to group content so that consumers can more easily find what they want to watch, speakers said.

For instance, Roku’s Jason Weber pointed to his company’s “Sports Zone” category, which aggregates all live and upcoming sports.

“We work with our partners to leverage metadata that they provide,” said Google TV’s Tom Gorke. Google TV’s home page surfaces “continue watching” content for the consumer, no matter where that content resides. Google TV also has a “live” tab to show available live content.

“We understand what services a user subscribes to, and we can then provide them with recommendations from those services,” he said, noting that for instance a Max title can appear right next to one from Paramount+.

Evolving personalization is “a core goal of ours,” he said.

Vizio’s Madhu Somasundaram (left) and Roku’s Vicki Liao on an EnTech Fest panel Feb. 7.

Vizio’s Madhu Somasundaram noted his company leverages automatic content recognition (ACR) data, which collects viewing data on Vizio TVs, “to see what consumers want.”

Fandango’s Cameron Douglas noted that the company’s Vudu digital transactional service has 25,000 AVOD titles, mostly independent films — part of a vast library of more the 250,000 titles.

“It’s easy for stuff to get lost,” he said. “The industry needs to get better at personalization. It amazes me how much stuff is found just through search.”

Paramount Streaming’s Will Gurman said the company links brands to boost the overall business and drive consumers to content they might like. For instance, the company used viewings of the Paramount hit show “Yellowstone” as a “hook” to drive audiences to other Westerns on Pluto TV. He said Paramount Streaming uses a mix of human curation and data to match consumers with content.

“We’re trying to lean in to hyperfocus on categories where we think audiences will cluster,” he said.

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In helping consumers find content, “we’re really trying to emulate an experience similar to a rabbit hole” using “robust machine learning,” said Tubi’s Sam Harowitz. The AVOD company — which Harowitz said sees VOD (rather than linear FAST) as the future of streaming — last year mounted a Super Bowl ad in which a comedically aggressive rabbit pushes consumers down a “rabbit hole” of content, exhorting viewers to “find rabbit holes you didn’t know you were looking for.”

As FAST channels have exploded, Roku’s Vicki Liao said, “We have become more focused on selecting channels to fill where there’s an audience or genre need.”

She added, “We’re always looking at things that can be improved with product features or even human curation.”

Panels on Indie Content and AVOD, Digital Supply Chain Slated for Feb. 7 EnTech Fest

Panels on indie content on AVOD platforms and the future of the digital supply chain are on tap at the upcoming EnTech Fest, to be presented Feb. 7 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The “Role of Indie Content on Major AVOD Platforms” panel (10:05-10:40 a.m.) will discuss programming AVOD platforms, how certain content attracts advertisers, viewership versus SVOD, licensing, collaboration between platforms and rights holders, promotion, and growth. Speakers include Sam Harowitz, VP, content acquisitions and partnerships, at Tubi; Vicki Liao, director, content acquisition, at Roku; Julie Dansker, SVP, streaming and content strategy, at Shout! Studios; Will Gurman, VP, global partnerships and content strategy, at Paramount Streaming; and Madhu Somasundaram, director of programming and operations, at Vizio.

The “10 Principles of 2030 Vision for Distribution” panel (3:45-4:30 p.m.) will discuss use cases and practical applications of the 2030 vision for digital entertainment distribution supply chain strategy and operations. Panelists will discuss the opportunities and challenges from the content owners’, distribution partners’ and service providers’ perspectives. Speakers include Eric Iverson, director of product strategy at Amazon MGM Studios; Scott Levine, senior product manager at Skywalker Sound; Greg Geier, SPV, digital media supply chain strategy and operations, at Sony Pictures Entertainment; Craig Seidel, CTO at Pixelogic; and Mark Turner, project director, production technology, at MovieLabs.

Also among the planned presentations are research sessions from Circana, Bango and Omdia and keynotes from Matt Strauss, NBCUniversal chairman, direct-to-consumer and international, and Keith LeGoy, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman, worldwide distribution and networks.

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EnTech Fest is an event for content distribution and marketing executives, platform partners, technology enablers, trend trackers, connected device and display developers, and all innovators across the digital entertainment ecosystem, including DEG member studios and platforms. The one-day event includes exhibits, conference programming, and the DEG’s annual reception.

Focus exhibit categories include Emerging Technology, Consumer Experience, Immersive Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Content Delivery.

EnTech Fest 2024 is free for DEG members. Register here.

Research Presentations From Circana, Bango and Omdia Among Sessions at Feb. 7 EnTech Fest

Research sessions from Circana, Bango and Omdia are among the presentations at the upcoming EnTech Fest, presented Feb. 7 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Giles Tongue

Bango VP of marketing Giles Tongue will present “The Subscriber Strikes Back.” The presentation will explore the impact of content hubs, flexible tiered subscriptions, and the rising demand for transparent costs.

It will cover how content providers are leveraging super bundling to achieve better reach, increased acquisition and retention to remain competitive in the ever-changing media and entertainment landscape.

John Buffone

Circana VP and industry advisor John Buffone will present “Unbundling the Compete Consumer Trend.” The inflationary environment is driving pricing and product mix shifts, consumer trade-off decisions and a challenging retail environment.

This session will explore the risks and opportunities for streaming amidst consumer’s shifting $3.2 trillion retail spending.

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Sarah Henschel

Sarah Henschel, Omdia principal analyst, media and entertainment, will present “Media and Entertainment Trends Shaping 2024.” The presentation will examine key trends that will shape the global media and entertainment industry in 2024, analyzing the characteristics of each of the trends and their impacts on the market. Profitability looms on the horizon for D2C streaming services and sports, AI and bundling continue to adapt the online streaming experience.

As previously announced, Matt Strauss, NBCUniversal chairman, direct-to-consumer and international, and Keith LeGoy, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman, worldwide distribution and networks, will keynote EnTech Fest.

EnTech Fest is an event for content distribution and marketing executives, platform partners, technology enablers, trend trackers, connected device and display developers, and all innovators across the digital entertainment ecosystem, including DEG member studios and platforms. The one-day event includes exhibits, conference programming, and the DEG’s annual reception.

Focus exhibit categories include Emerging Technology, Consumer Experience, Immersive Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Content Delivery.

EnTech Fest 2024 is free for DEG members. Register here.

Peacock’s Matt Strauss and Sony Pictures’ Keith LeGoy to Keynote DEG’s EnTech Fest Feb. 7

Matt Strauss, NBCUniversal chairman, direct-to-consumer and international, and Keith LeGoy, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman, worldwide distribution and networks, will keynote EnTech Fest, taking place Feb. 7 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. 

The event is presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Strauss oversees NBCUniversal’s direct-to-consumer and international portfolio, which includes streaming service Peacock, online movie ticketing service Fandango, movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, and the International Networks division that services 176 territories across the world. Strauss will cover the state of the streaming industry as it enters a new era and reflect on lessons learned from launching and growing Peacock.

LeGoy co-leads the studio’s combined television and home entertainment distribution and marketing businesses. Le Goy also oversees Sony Pictures Television’s international networks operations, programming and strategy group, as well as the Crunchyroll anime business. LeGoy will discuss Sony Pictures’ approach to the distribution of film and television content and the innovative ways it connects with consumers.

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EnTech Fest is an event for content distribution and marketing executives, platform partners, technology enablers, trend trackers, connected device and display developers, and all innovators across the digital entertainment ecosystem, including DEG member studios and platforms. The one-day event includes exhibits, conference programming, and the DEG’s annual reception.

Focus exhibit categories include: 
 
  • Emerging Technology
  • Consumer Experience
  • Immersive Storytelling 
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Advanced Content Delivery

 

EnTech Fest 2024 is free for DEG members. Register here.

Box Office Gains Led to Second Consecutive Rise in Quarterly Digital Movie Purchases, Rentals

The box office recovery once again lifted the traditional, transactional home entertainment business in the third quarter of this year.

Digital sales of movies and shows rose 8.8% from the third quarter of last year, to $664.6 million, while digital rentals were up 2.7% to $354.6 million, according to the latest estimates from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

That’s on top of second-quarter gains of 17.4% for digital sellthrough, and nearly 4% for digital rentals, or video-on-demand (VOD).

The two robust quarters followed a weak start to the year, when combined digital movie sales and rental spending in the first quarter were down about 12% from the previous year.

As of mid-November, domestic box office spending has already surpassed the spending total for all of 2023, $7.78 billion to $7.36 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.

DEG notes that during the quarter, consumer spending on digital purchases of theatrical titles was up 13%. “Theatrical new releases are historically a key driver of home entertainment spending,” the trade group noted. “Because of this, announced delays in upcoming theatrical releases due to the Hollywood strikes may have an adverse impact in the next few
quarters.”

Total consumer spending on home entertainment during the quarter ended Sept. 30 came in at an estimated $10.7 billion, up 16.8% from the same quarter last year, according to DEG.

As usual, the primary driver was subscription streaming, a home entertainment category in which spending rose 20.7% to $9.3 billion, DEG said, citing Omdia data.  “Targeted and general entertainment services continued to add subscribers with new content, pricing options and ad-supported tiers,” DEG noted.

In the quarter, SVOD accounted for 87.1% of total home entertainment consumer spending.

In the first nine months of 2023, consumer spending climbed more than 15%, to an estimated $31 billion, from the first nine months of 2022.

On the physical media front, consumer spending continued to fall, with combined disc purchases and rentals generating just $363.2 million in the third quarter, down 25.1% from the third quarter of 2022. For the year, through Sept. 30, consumer spending on discs was down 27.1% to an estimated $1.12 billion.

4K UHD Blu-ray was the only segment of the physical disc business to experience growth, with spending in the quarter up nearly 6% — driven by such high-profile new releases as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
(Sony Pictures) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney), both of which saw more than 25% of sales come from the premium format.

In all, physical media (sales plus rentals) accounted for just 3.4% of the Q3 home entertainment market. Total transactional revenue (disc sales and rentals combined with digital sellthrough and VOD rentals) was down 4% in the quarter.

Taking SVOD out of the equation, disc still accounts for 31.3% of the sellthrough market, according to Media Play News research estimates.

Amazon’s Ellen Goodridge Presented With Hall of Fame Award in DEG’s EnTech Awards

Ellen Goodridge of Amazon Studios received top honors at the rebranded EnTech Awards, presented Oct. 12 by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Ellen Goodridge

Goodridge, who as head of World Media Management and Distribution is responsible for global distribution of Amazon Originals content for Prime Video and Freevee, was presented with the Hall of Fame Award. She was traveling internationally, but sent a video expressing her gratitude for the recognition.

DEG presented a total of 17 awards for innovation in the digital entertainment supply chain at the awards ceremony, held for the second year at the Sound Space in Los Angeles and attended by more than 200 executives. The awards were launched in 2021 and were previously known as the TechOps Awards. Some awards could have up to three winners — one content owner, one retailer/platform, and one vendor.

SEE OUR PHOTO GALLERY HERE!

The Technology Leadership Award went to George Rausch of Blu Digital Group and Intel, NBCUniversal and COSM for the world’s first immersive 8K VR livestream of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games. The award honors an individual or team for demonstrating leadership and implementing something technically that had an impact on the business as a whole (extending to the industry beyond their specific company).

The Localization Trailblazer Award went to Silviu Epure of Blu Digital Group and Deepdub.ai. This award honors trailblazing companies, teams, or individuals who exemplify excellence in overseeing quality, localized content under tight deadlines using creative and operational groundbreaking strategies. 

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The Multi-Company Collaboration Award went to Blu Digital Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment. This award honors cross-industry teams that demonstrate excellence in collaboration, communication, and technical execution with an impact on operational efficiencies in order to achieve a common goal. 

The Technology Innovation Award was shared by Harvey Landy and Brandon Lasner of NBCUniversal, the XL8 engineering team, and the Dynamic Ad Break Slugs on Disney+. The award honors an individual or a team for identifying a problem and creating a novel solution, e.g. engineering lab or infrastructure. 

The Emerging Technology Award also had three winners: Bob Dillon from Xperi/DTS for DTS AutoStage; Reelgood; and Josh Pine of XL8 for the MediaCAT AI-driven suit of media localization services. The award honors a company that created a new technology that could positively affect the future of digital entertainment distribution. 

The Technology Achievement Award went to the Reelgood Product Team and the VOD Monitor Engineering and Product Team at SSIMWAVE, an IMAX company. The award honors recipients who have demonstrated technical achievement and significantly contributed to the realization of technological advancements in their organization. 

The Rising Star Award went to Joel Moreno of BB Media and Jen Hashida of NBCUniversal. This award honors an individual with no more than seven years of entertainment technology experience who demonstrates an attitude of excellence and performs well above their experience level.

And the Smart OS Award, a new category this year, went to Samsung Tizen OS. This award recognizes the best overall operating system performance in each of the product categories – Smart TV, dongle, and set-top boxes (cable, satellite, gaming consoles).

The awards ceremony was emceed by rapper Edward “Special Ed” Archer, who also is the founder of Special Ed Arts and Literary, a nonprofit that aims to change the lives of young people through self-expression, hip-hop and education.

 

 

DEG Members to Participate in Live Sports Streaming Panel at CEDIA

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group members will participate in a panel on live sports streaming at CEDIA Expo 2023, taking place Sept. 7-9 in Denver.

The DEG’s Live Sports Council members Rob Stecklow, SVP of marketing, sports and news at Paramount+, and Brian Gilmore, VP of Peacock and digital programming at NBC Sports, will join Walt Zerbe of CEDIA, Tom Doherty of HTSA, and the DEG’s Marc Finer for the panel — “Understanding the Live Sports Streaming Platforms and their Potential Opportunities for the CI Channel.” The conversation will cover the latest in sports streaming, DEG Live Sports Council initiatives, and potential opportunities in the sports space for custom integrators.

The panel takes place Sept. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Colorado Convention Center’s Mile High Ballroom 4C.

To confirm attendance, contact Jean Levicki, jean@degonline.org.

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The 8K Association will also present the panel “8K: Understanding the Content Perspective” Sept. 8 from 10:50 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. on the CEDIA Smart Stage. The session features industry experts Joel Korpi, head of product, Amazon Prime Video; Dominic Glynn, senior scientist, Pixar; and Greg Ciaccio, senior director, post-production original content and image capture at IMAX. It will be moderated by Mike Fidler, executive director of the 8K Association. Attendees will get an overview of the current 8K content ecosystem and its potential to elevate the creative experience in the future.

Theatrical Comeback Gives Digital Transactional Home Entertainment Business a Q2 Bump

The theatrical resurgence is paying off for the transactional home entertainment business, at least in the digital segment.

Consumer spending on digital movie sales, or electronic sellthrough (EST), rose 17.4% in the second quarter of 2023 to an estimated $695.1 million, up from $592.1 million in the second quarter of 2022, according to the latest quarterly estimates from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Spending on video-on-demand (VOD), or digital rentals, rose nearly 4% to an estimated $480.5 million in the quarter that ended June 30, up from $462.2 million in the comparable quarter last year.

The DEG reports digital sellthrough spending on theatrical titles was up 26.5%, while VOD spending on theatrical titles rose 6.4%.

Spending in the first quarter of this year was down in both categories by 12.3% (EST) and 11.5% (VOD), respectively.

For the first half, consumers spent an estimated $1.26 billion on EST and $924 million on VOD, up 1.9% and down 4%, respectively, from spending in the first half of 2022.

“The first quarter decline and second quarter gain were driven in large part by release schedules and windowing, with several large titles releasing in the very last week of the first quarter, including Avatar: The Way of Water and Creed III,” according to the DEG.

Top transactional films in the first half of the year include 65 (Sony); 80 for Brady (Paramount); Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (Disney); Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney); Creed III (MGM); Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount); Evil Dead Rise (Warner Bros. Discovery); John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate); A Man Called Otto (Sony); Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal); Shazam! Fury of the Gods (Warner); and The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal).

Combining EST and VOD, total transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) was down 12% in Q1, but up 11.5% in Q2, finishing the first half down just 0.7%.

Disc sales and rentals, in contrast, continued to free fall, with spending in the second quarter coming in at just $392.4 million, down 26.3% from the second quarter of 2022. The estimated first-half consumer spending total was just $753.9 million, down 28% from spending in the first half of 2022.

Combining all sources of transactional home entertainment (physical disc sales and rentals, EST and VOD), the segment narrowed declines from 17.53% in Q1 to 1.17% in Q2, finishing the first half down 9.5%

Overall, home entertainment spending rose 14.8% to an estimated $10.4 billion in the second quarter and 14.7% to $20.5 billion in the first half, the DEG reported — driven, as usual, by double-digit gains in subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) spending.

Despite reports of subscription fatigue and sub losses at the major streamers, the DEG, citing Omdia data, maintains consumer spending on SVOD rose 18.1% in the second quarter to $8.8 billion and 20% in the first half to $17.5 billion. If those estimates are accurate, subscription streaming now accounts for about 85% of all consumer home entertainment spending.

Based on Media Play News research estimates of physical media sales (DEG no longer separates physical sales and rentals), sellthrough transactions account for about 9% of the home entertainment market, and rentals about 5.3%. Physical media still accounts for about 25% of all transactional revenue, and around 30% of sellthrough. Disc as a whole, compared with streaming, accounts for under 4% of the home entertainment market.

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Ad-supported premium AVOD and FAST content generated estimated advertising revenue of $4.2 billion in the second quarter of 2023, according to Omdia, as more major streamers added cheaper subscription plans with ads. Omdia estimates ad revenue grew 10.5% in the second quarter and 6.8% in the first half, to nearly $8.2 billion.

DEG Elects New Board for 2023-24, Adds New Members

Members of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the digital media trade association supporting home entertainment, have elected a new board.

The DEG’s voting member companies elected the new board of directors to serve for the 2023-24 fiscal year (Aug. 1 – July 31). AMC Networks is newly represented on the DEG Board, while Amazon Prime, LG Electronics, Microsoft and Dolby Laboratories are longtime members returning to the board. AMC Networks is represented by Mike Pears; Amazon Prime is represented by Ron Lamprecht; Dolby is represented by Ron Geller; LG Electronics is represented by Matt Durgin, who also chairs the TV and Connected Devices committee in the DEG’s D2C Alliance; and Microsoft is represented by Pedro E. Gutierrez Jr.

Dan Cohen

The leaders of the DEG Board were elected to a two-year term in 2022 and will serve through July 2024. Officers include chair Dan Cohen of Paramount Global; vice chair Jonathan Zepp of Google; CFO Andrea Downing of PBS Distribution; secretary Rick Hack of Intel; and chair emeritus Jim Wuthrich.

The DEG, which was founded in 1997, moves past the quarter-century mark with an expanding global membership that includes almost 90 member companies encompassing all areas of the digital entertainment ecosystem. New members in 2023 include 360 Solutions, Deep Media, Edg.io, Fox Entertainment Global, IMAX, NexSpec, Play Anywhere, Shout! Studios and VSYN+.

“It’s exciting to see the DEG membership expanding to include even more platforms, content owners and technology partners that are committed to industry innovation and highly engaged in new ways to deliver premium entertainment experiences to consumers,” Cohen, chief content licensing officer at Paramount Global, and president of Republic Pictures, said in a statement. “DEG’s new Board is committed to serving the membership with opportunities for creative and results-driven collaboration across industry sectors.”

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“We welcome all of our new DEG board directors and are thrilled to have Amazon Prime, Dolby, LG and Microsoft return to the board,” Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO, said in a statement. “I’m grateful that companies across the digital entertainment landscape see the value of working together within DEG to bring consumers the best possible digital entertainment experience, delivering quality, value and convenience.”

DEG Board of Directors, Officers of the Board (2023-24):

CHAIR
Dan Cohen
Chief Content Licensing Officer, Paramount Global,
and President, Republic Pictures

VICE CHAIR
Jonathan Zepp
Media & Entertainment, Global Partnerships
Google

CFO
Andrea Downing
President
PBS Distribution

SECRETARY
Rick Hack
Head of Media & Entertainment Partnerships
Intel

CHAIR EMERITUS
Jim Wuthrich

DEG Board of Directors (2023-24):

Ron Lamprecht
Director, Corporate Business Development
Amazon Prime

Chris Blandy
Global Leader Strategy & Business Development, Media & Entertainment
Amazon Web Services

Michael Pears
EVP Distribution & Content Sales
AMC Network

Alisa Bowen
President
Disney+

Ron Geller
VP, Worldwide Content Relations
Dolby Laboratories

Matt Durgin
VP North America Content and Services
LG Electronics, USA

Ron Schwartz
President Global Distribution
Lionsgate

Andres Alvarez
SVP Digital Distribution – Partner Engagement & Strategy
MGM

Pedro E. Gutierrez, Jr.
Business & Marketing Category Lead for Entertainment & Advertising
Microsoft Corp.

Matt Strauss
Chairman Direct-to-Consumer and International
NBCUniversal Streaming Services (Peacock)

Bob Buchi
President Worldwide Home Media
Paramount Home Entertainment

Jason Spivak
EVP Distribution – North America
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Adam Lewinson
Chief Content Officer
Tubi

Michael Bonner
President Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Film Entertainment Group

David Decker
President, Content Sales
Warner Bros. Discovery

Bill Neighbors
Chief Content Officer
Xperi Inc.

DEG to Honor Google’s Shalini Govil-Pai and USC Cinema Dean Elizabeth Daley With Hedy Lamarr Awards

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present Shalini Govil-Pai, VP and GM of TV platforms at Google, with the 2023 Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

At the same time, the Hedy Lamarr Inspiration Award will be presented to Dean Elizabeth Daley of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, for her pioneering adoption of cutting-edge technology into curriculum and practice. 

In its seventh year, the Hedy Lamarr Awards recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry. 

Govil-Pai drove the creation of Google TV from the ground up, working to bring the best of Google — from Search, to Assistant, YouTube, Play and Nest — together to create a transformative experience for users, according to the DEG. She now leads a team of more than 300 engineers, product managers, UX designers, partnership managers, and others — a business within Google — and is a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially of women, as well as a respected international speaker and author on digital production trends, the DEG noted. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has called Google TV “one of the best products Google has ever made.” 

“I am thrilled that the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award for 2023 will recognize Shalini Govil-Pai of Google, who is leading the way in providing consumers with smooth, intuitive, convenient and attractive user experiences to connect with all the content they want, when and where they want it,” DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith said in a statement. “There is no more important issue to the future of in-home entertainment.” 

“I am pleased and excited to accept the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award from DEG,” Govil-Pai said in a statement. “My career has been dedicated to using technology to help storytellers connect with audiences and I am honored to accept this recognition of the role technology plays in telling our stories, and the role women play in technology.” 

Daley is the longest serving Dean at USC, where she has led the growth and technological transformation of what has been ranked as one of the most successful and important film and media arts programs in the world, according to the DEG. As part of the digital transition in the School of Cinematic Arts, Dean Daley founded the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC in the early 1990s to foster collaboration between academics, students and the media and entertainment industry. 

The Inspiration Award was created this year by the Hedy Lamarr Awards judging panel to recognize Dean Daley’s long influence on the next generation of content creators. Moving forward it will be presented only in those years when the judges encounter a candidate who demonstrates the highest level of technological leadership, generosity of talent and commitment to the growth of budding storytellers and technologists. 

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The 2023 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, honoring a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, will be presented to two students for 2023: Lily Chen, an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Mathematics with Computer Science; and Memphis Grace MacPherson, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Art, Technology, and the Business of Innovation in the Iovine Young Academy, with a minor in Themed Entertainment in the School of Cinematic Arts. Each will receive a financial award to continue her education. 

UCLA student Ingrid Lee, a Computer Science and Engineering major with a Theatre minor, is recognized as a Finalist for the Award. 

“The judging panel was just blown away by the accomplishments of Dean Daley,” Smith said in a statement. “She can only be called visionary and the influence she has exerted on decades of aspiring content creators makes her one of the very most impactful people working in entertainment technology globally. It is because of leaders like her that we have an ever-growing pool of highly qualified student applicants for the Hedy Lamarr Award. Congratulations to Dean Daley and to our 2023 student stars, Grace MacPherson, and Lily Chen, who are so talented and already well on their way to careers in entertainment technology.” 

The awards will be presented during an in-person event in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, near the anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914). 

Austrian American actor Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is used today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. 

To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital; Poppy Crum, former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories; and Paulette Pantoja, founder & CEO of Blu Digital Group. 

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted industry leaders including members of its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of senior executives representing the entertainment, technology, IT, and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: innovation, engagement and excellence.