DEG’s EnTech Fest Features New Tech — and the Traditional Industry Reception — in L.A.

The DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s new event EnTech Fest 2022, held May 3-4 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, combined the old and the new.

The event replaced, and expanded upon, the annual DEG reception at CES, which was not held this year for the first time in the group’s 25-year history. It also showcased new content distribution and display technology and an in-car entertainment gallery.

The DEG reception took place the evening of May 3 and was attended by a crowd of industry members eager to greet each other in person after pandemic restrictions.

The following day, May 4, EnTech featured an exhibitor space with new tech from piracy protection to data analytics to 3D imaging and translation solutions.

Among the exhibitors:

  • Intel showcased its groundbreaking 8K broadcast technology used for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • Blu Digital Group showcased its cloud-based solutions for digital workflows as well as end-to-end services such as mastering, localization, quality control, packaging and delivery.
  • Ctrolmovie highlighted its choose-your-own-adventure interactive content technology. The company has a deal with Paramount for up to 10 films, according to a representative.
  • DeepMedia showcased its dubbing technology that is AI-powered and can make speakers sound like themselves despite being dubbed in different languages.
  • Looper Insights touted its service that helps content owners track how effectively their IP is getting to the consumer.
  • Premiere Digital showcased its capability in providing media services, distribution and SaaS tools to simplify supply chain and technical operations.
  • Whip Media showcased its suite of solutions that connect and scale data, processes and teams across licensing, content planning and financial operations. The company also highlighted CMV Insights, a content intelligence solution powered by a large panel of TV and film enthusiasts. CMV Insights continuously captures viewing intent, engagement and affinity data for content.
  • Synamedia touted its security offerings, as well as data analysis solutions.
  • EnTech Fest also featured an in-car demonstration area in which, among other exhibitors, Dolby demonstrated the extension of Dolby Atmos immersive audio to the car.

Streaming Facing Headwinds, Say Speakers at DEG’s EnTech Fest

The boom in streaming is hitting some headwinds, according to speakers at a May 4 research presentation during DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s EnTech Fest 2022 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.

“SVOD was really the winner of the pandemic period,” said the NPD’s Elizabeth Lafontaine. In-home entertainment “drove the entertainment industry over the past few years,” she noted.

“As we’ve gotten into 2022 many of these industries have started to soften, as experiences come back online,” she said.

Consumers are getting out and going to theme parks, traveling, seeing live shows, etc. — spending more on experiential entertainment. Experiential spending has returned to about 95% of what it was during the pre-pandemic period, she said.

“Experiential offerings are typically much more expensive, so it is going to eat into some of the other entertainment demand,” she noted.

As they get out, consumers are not engaging as much with SVOD, but “we’re still seeing engagement levels higher than the pre-pandemic period,” she said.

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Consumers reported spending on about four SVOD services (3.9 on average) in October 2021, which is down about one service from that time in 2020 (5.2). “But we’re still above that pre-pandemic period,” she said.

For streaming companies, the question is how to be one of those four services consumers choose.

In the past year, services increasingly turned to original programming, especially with licensed content being clawed back by studios’ direct-to-consumer services. In 2021, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu saw lower inventory throughout the year as this licensed content was pulled. But in response Netflix, for instance, by the end of 2021 grew original movie offerings by 22% and original series by 24%.

“Netflix has committed to spending about $17 billion annually on original content,” she said.

Also, with increased competition in the space for consumers’ time and money, “bundling and ad-supported is giving subscribers who may not have subscribed before a new point of entry to these services,” she said.

Another way consumers are economizing on subscriptions is through churn, noted Deloitte’s Kevin Downs. A recent Deloitte survey found the U.S. paid streaming service churn rate averaged 37%. “It’s high,” he said.

The churn rate was even higher among Gen Z and Millennials, with more than half of those respondents either canceling or canceling and adding paid services in the past six months. While access to original content (39%) and a broad range of content (38%) were the top two reasons U.S. consumers said they were subscribing to paid SVOD services, U.S. subscribers said they’re canceling paid SVOD services due to cost (41%), price increases (30%) and lack of new content (30%).

A majority (60%) of consumers would prefer to have reduced cost, ad-supported options, Downs noted.

Significant majorities of consumers also said they were frustrated with finding content and having to subscribe to so many services to find it.

In addition to cost and content concerns, services also have to compete with time spent on video games — a pursuit younger generations in particular may find more appealing than watching TV or movie content, he said.

Whip Media’s Vince Muscarella and Kortney Kesses noted that, aware of the appeal of games, streaming services are targeting gaming fans by creating content from game franchise IP.

They pointed out that “The Last of Us,” a series based on the game scheduled for HBO Max sometime in 2023, is already gaining some traction among fans, reaching 16,000 interested followers on their tracking service well ahead of other big titles this far ahead of release.

“It’s probably going to be HBO Max’s biggest release to date,” said Muscarella, who admitted he is one of those eager fans.

“Other companies are going to start paying attention to video game IP for content,” he said.

EnTech Fest 2022

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group this year moved its annual reception from CES in January to the Skirball Center on May 3. The event, which attracted upwards of 600 attendees, kicked off the home entertainment trade association’s EnTech Fest, which showcases new content distribution and display technology. (All photos by Media Play News staff)

DEG’s EnTech Fest Moves to May 3-4

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s new event EnTech Fest, previously scheduled to take place Feb. 15-16, has been moved to May 3-4 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The event replaces, and expands upon, the annual DEG reception at CES, which was not held this year for the first time in the group’s 25-year history.

The EnTech event will showcase new content distribution and display technology. There will be an in-car entertainment gallery, and a “Startup Alley” will highlight new companies with products and services in entertainment technology.

The event is open to all DEG members.

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