Seventh Annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit Opens Tomorrow

The seventh annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit opens tomorrow (Tuesday, July 16) with a focus on independent product, both physical and digital, as well as the booming OTT marketplace.

The trade show, produced by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), runs for two days at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, Calif.

The 2018 Los Angeles Entertainment Summit is centered on one-on-one business meetings between independent content providers and retailers and streaming services, the EMA said back in May, when the event’s dates were announced.

The summit also features the  first-ever OTT Channels conference – a day of research presentations, sessions with industry thought leaders, and an exploration of opportunities in subscription video on demand and ad-supported video on demand.

LAES continues to provide an opportunity for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) to raise funds.

The event opens July 17 with a morning welcome session, featuring a CFF update from LAES co-chair Mark Horak and an EMA update from Mark Fisher, the association’s president and CEO.

Then comes a research super-session moderated by Media Play News publisher Thomas K. Arnold, featuring research presentations by GfK Entertainment, IHS Markit, Nielsen and the NPD Group.

Next is a spotlight presentation from Tobias Queesser, cofounder of Cinelytic.

Bill Sondheim, president of the Cinedigm Entertainment Group, will deliver the keynote address at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Independent Studio Home Entertainment Awards.

The OTT Channels conference will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a lineup of speakers and panelists assembled by conference chair Erick Opeka, EVP of digital networks at Cinedigm Corp.

And from 4 to 6 p.m., the Digital EMA Forum will bring together digital retailers, studios, independent content providers, and service providers to hear the latest research on digital home entertainment and discover how retailers and content providers are streamlining the digital supply chain through common practices.

The day ends with a cocktail party sponsored by FandangoNOW.

Day two of LAES, Wednesday, July 18, is devoted to business meetings and a networking lunch.

7th Annual LAES to Focus on Indie Product, OTT

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has revamped this year’s Los Angeles Entertainment Summit (LAES) to focus on independent product, both physical and digital, as well as the booming OTT marketplace.

The seventh annual LAES will be held July 17-18 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, Calif.

The 2018 Los Angeles Entertainment Summit will feature two days of one-on-one business-to-business meetings between independent content providers and retailers and streaming services, the EMA announced May 9.

Supplementing that will be the first-ever OTT Channels conference – a day of research presentations, sessions with industry thought leaders, and an exploration of opportunities in subscription video on demand and ad-supported video on demand.

“And, as always, LAES will provide plenty of networking and socializing opportunities,” the EMA said.

In conjunction with LAES, Digital EMA will present a Digital EMA Forum focused on streaming video.

LAES will continue to provide an opportunity for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to raise funds.

“In discussions with a number of industry executives, it became clear to us that there was a longing for an opportunity for independent product to gain greater exposure and for a forum for SVOD and AVOD OTT channel executives to gather and share knowledge,”said Mark Fisher, president CEO of EMA. “So we decided to focus this year’s LAES on those areas and help grow these important segments of our industry.”

Video Industry Reunion Planned for June 11

Jodie LeVitus Francisco, former Western advertising director and national video manager for Billboard Magazine, has organized the Video Industry Reunion 2 for June 11  from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Sagebrush Cantina, 23527 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas, California.

“Following last year’s successful Video Industry Reunion, Video Industry Reunion 2 will bring together friends and colleagues—distributors, manufacturers, members of the media, publicists, replication and packaging execs and other icons who shaped the home video business and helped change the landscape of the film, television and music industries, for an evening of reminiscing, networking and laughs, as well as a recognizing those who passed away, but whose memory and contributions to the industry can never be forgotten,” according to a press release.

All past and current members of the home entertainment industry are cordially invited and encouraged to attend, according to the release.

“Last year I had an idea. Get a bunch of people from the video industry together for a reunion in Los Angeles,” Francisco said in a statement. “The impetus was that we aren’t getting any younger and we are starting to lose some industry icons. Many of us have scattered far and wide from the business. In the beginning, it was like the Wild West—anything went, we could sell anything and we had no rules. Then it became a viable business and all of sudden they were hiring executives from Proctor and Gamble who sold soap! We were selling entertainment and I don’t think anyone in the beginning ever forgot that.

“Last year’s event drew close to 100 people, including folks from San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York, with all avenues of the industry represented. We also raised money for our own Entertainment Aids Alliance. We expect an even bigger turnout this year.”

For more information, please visit:



The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) had a strong presence at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas. The trade association hosted a Digital EMA Forum on April 10 that was attended by more than 80 leaders in OTT video. The forum focused on the benefits and challenges of adoption of specifications for exchanging information in the digital supply chain.  Amazon Video’s Erol Kalafat; Darcy Antonellis, CEO of Vubiquity; Jason Pena of Google Play; and Craig Seidel of MovieLabs addressed the group.

EMA Expands Supply Chain Efforts with Hire of Former Microsoft Exec

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) on Feb. 13 announced that Eric Hanson has been named VP, industry leadership for the home entertainment trade association.

Hanson will manage all of EMA’s industry and supply chain support for both the home video and video game segments, including workgroups, committees, and councils. Hanson, who had been providing project management to the association since January 2017, assumed his new duties earlier this month.

“Over the past year, Eric has done an incredible job in driving industry consensus on digital supply chain best practices and promoting adoption of them,” said Mark Fisher, EMA’s president and CEO. “I’m really excited to bring Eric on-board on a full-time basis, as this allows EMA to invest even more deeply in promoting efficiencies in the digital video supply chain and other important industry initiatives.”

“I appreciate this opportunity, as full-fledged member of the EMA team, to stimulate industry collaboration that addresses operational friction points, help grow the home entertainment industry, enable innovation, and promote incredible consumer experiences,” said Hanson.

Prior to joining EMA, Hanson was involved in in strategic planning, operations, and process engineering work with Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., and Amazon. He was responsible for building and leading the content operation function for Xbox Live Video from its launch in 2006 until 2012 and for build-out and management of the content operations function for Intel’s OnCue service.

Hanson has been active in industry engagement and standards since 2001, when he led the planning process for Microsoft’s media standards engagement. He later oversaw Xbox’s representation in industry and standards groups, including EMA’s digital supply chain initiatives.

EMA also announced additional staff changes:

Carrie Dieterich, SVP, strategic initiatives, will retire in May. Dieterich has 24 years of experience with the trade group, most recently overseeing EMA’s research efforts and events, including the Los Angeles Entertainment Summit, Independent Product Market, Digital Media Pipeline, and Digital EMA Salons.

Jennifer Lane Burnell has been promoted to VP, marketing and events. She will assume responsibility for planning, promoting, and managing EMA’s events and continue her current duties in brand and event marketing and creative services.

Steve Apple has been given the new title of VP, industry sales. Apple is responsible for membership growth and maintaining relationships with companies involved in digital delivery of content, as well as soliciting sponsorship of EMA events.

EMA Honors FilmTrack CEO for Charity Work

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) on Feb. 13 announced that Jason Kassin, CEO of FilmTrack, will receive a 2018 EMA Scholarship Foundation Honors Award for his service to the community. The award will be presented at the annual EMA Scholarship Foundation luncheon on May 18 at the Hilton Universal City in Universal City, Calif.

Kassin is being recognized for his work on behalf of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

“Jason Kassin inspires us with his commitment to finding a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and helping to improve the quality of life of those affected by these conditions,” said Mark Fisher, president and CEO of EMA. “Jason has accomplished much in his professional life, including building one of the most important rights management ecosystems for the film entertainment industry, but he realizes that success is not living well but rather a life well lived, and that service to the greater community is part of that.”

Kassin and his wife, Sasha, became involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in 2011, a few months after their son Conrad (then 8 years old) was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Their son’s gastroenterologist referred them to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s website. The organization offered valuable information about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and, as importantly, a community.

Since then, Kassin and his family have been active volunteers for the Foundation. Kassin joined the Los Angeles Board in 2016, and Sasha followed in 2017. This past January, Sasha became the President of the Board for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

A New York native and lifelong computer engineer,  Kassin is a leading expert in rights and content management solutions for the media & entertainment sector.

Kassin co-founded FilmTrack in the late 1990s after being asked to design contract administration software for some of the oldest and most respected names in international film distribution. As the CEO, he is responsible for orchestrating the strategic development of FilmTrack products and solutions. Since FilmTrack’s inception, Kassin has evolved the company into an extensive ecosystem that encompasses content creation, distribution, rights management, and monetization. The company’s cloud-based platform streamlines the complex intellectual property lifecycle, providing the necessary tools to manage mission-critical data, including contracts, rights, financials, royalties, and related assets.

Prior to FilmTrack, Kassin built his own successful software consulting business while also appearing in films and television programs. In addition, he is a scriptwriter, musician, and comedian. Kassin obtained a degree in Film and Theater from Vassar College.

The EMA Scholarship Foundation affords member companies the opportunity to provide the potential of educational assistance for employees and their spouses and children. Since the EMA Scholarship Foundation was established in 1987, EMA has helped more than 240 students achieve higher education through scholarship grants totaling more than one million dollars.

One scholarship of $4,000 per year for up to four years of undergraduate or graduate education is awarded each year.

To be eligible, students must be high school seniors or current, full-time college undergraduate or graduate students during the academic year in which they apply, and they must be employees or principals of EMA member companies in good standing, or their spouse or child. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, financial need, and academic potential.

The EMA is the not-for-profit international trade association for the home entertainment industry. EMA-member companies operate approximately 35,000 retail outlets in the United States and 45,000 around the world that sell and/or rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, computer and console video games, and digitally distributed versions of these products. Membership comprises the full spectrum of retailers (from single-store specialists to multi-line mass merchants, and both brick and mortar and online stores), distributors, the home video divisions of major and independent motion picture studios, video game publishers, and other related businesses that constitute and support the home entertainment industry. EMA was established in April 2006 through the merger of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA).

EMA Partners on Its First International Arm, EMA Asia

LAS VEGAS — The Entertainment Merchants Association Jan. 9 announced a partnership with Singapore-based Vuulr to establish its first international arm: EMA Asia.

The agreement covers China, India, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia.

EMA Asia will advance the EMA’s digital supply chain efficiency initiatives in Asia through conferences, seminars and workshops that will create awareness and promote adoption of the EMA’s standards, specifications and best practices for online video, according to the EMA.

Vuulr, which provides digital transaction solutions, will operate EMA Asia from its offices in Singapore under an exclusive multi-year license from EMA.

“We’ve unintentionally pigeonholed ourselves domestically,” said Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the EMA. “We’ve created EMA Asia in part to support those of you here in the U.S. who have partners internationally. Our goal is to expand adoption of the EMA standards and to get feedback on how they can be improved. We believe we picked the right team to work with.”

Ian McKee, CEO of Vuulr, noted, “This is an industry that has a huge amount of disruption coming to its doorstep every day. There’s a huge amount of inefficiency.”

He added that the Vuulr office is well located to address Asia.

“Within a short flight of about five hours, we can be anywhere in the market,” he said, adding EMA Asia aims to help EMA members find out about some of the different challenges in those markets.

Increasing global utilization of the EMA’s standards, specifications and best practices for online video will open more markets to a greater diversity of content and allow more content to get online, more quickly and at a lower cost, benefitting content providers, retailers and consumers, according to the EMA. EMA’s digital supply chain standards, specifications, and best practices are developed to reduce friction points in the supply chain identified by digital video retailers and video programming distributors, the organization noted.

Members of EMA Asia will receive certain EMA member benefits and member rates for EMA conferences and events. As part of the agreement, Vuulr will also become a sponsor of Digital EMA, the EMA’s community for the online video industry, and participate in the EMA’s digital supply chain workgroup.