Opening Shots From CES 2023

CES 2023 opened Jan. 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on a rainy Thursday, and it was pretty much business as usual for the show, which due to COVID-19 was held virtually in 2021 and in a scaled-back fashion last year. Here are some shots from the pre-show Pepcom media preview party and from day one of the show. (Media Play News staff photos)

40 Most Important People in Streaming Luncheon

To celebrate the publication of “The 40 Most Important People in Streaming” in the November 2022 issue of Media Play News, we partnered with OTT.X, the streaming trade association, on a luncheon held Dec. 1 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The first-ever event was sold out and will likely grow into a much bigger cocktail party in the coming years! Kudos to honorees Paul Colichman of Here TV, Cameron Douglas of Fandango/Vudu, Danny Fisher of FilmRise, Adam Lewinson of Tubi, Gene Pao of Shout! Factory, Katherine Pond of Vizio, and Stefan Van Engen of Xumo who were on hand for the fun, along with Christy Willingham of Xperi (representing honoree Bill Neighbors), Matt Montemayor of Canela Media (representing honoree Isabel Rafferty Zavala), and Tony Huidor of Cinedigm (representing honoree Erick Opeka). (Media Play News staff photos)

2022 Hedy Lamarr Awards Reception

Blu Digital Group founder and CEO Paulette Pantoja was honored the evening of Nov. 16 as this year’s winner of the sixth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology. The award, presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry. Also feted, with the 2022 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, was Danielle Takahashi, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Media Arts and Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts. This award is given each year to a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise.

DEG TechOps Awards 2022

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group announced the winners of its second annual TechOps Awards at a ceremony in Los Angeles Oct. 12. The event was the first live awards celebration, following last year’s virtual ceremony, and drew nearly 200 people to the DTS Sound Stage on Wilshire Boulevard’s famed “Miracle Mile.”

Celebrating the 40 Under 40, Class of 2022

Media Play News teamed with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group to celebrate the 40 Under 40 with a gala cocktail party at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Aug. 23. Nearly 100 guests attended the event, which included congratulatory remarks from MPN publisher Thomas K. Arnold, DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith and Lionsgate worldwide home entertainment president Ron Schwartz. (All photos by Media Play News staff.)

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)

OTT.X Fall Summit — Finally, an In-Person Industry Event!

Trade association OTT.X held its Fall Summit in person at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles Sept. 1 and 2, holding all events outside in light of the still-surging coronavirus Delta variant. A much bigger-than-expected turnout surprised even association chief Mark Fisher, as representatives of such companies as Redbox, Xumo, Whip Media, Cinedigm, the MVD Entertainment Group, Breaking Glass Pictures, Fandango, The Africa Channel, Parrot Analytics and others jumped at the chance to once again meet and network in person at one of the first major live home entertainment industry events in more than a year.

Hollywood Sends Letter to Congress Asking for Theatrical Fiscal Relief

A movie theater group, the Motion Picture Association of America, Directors Guild of America and dozens of filmmakers have sent a joint letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives asking for leftover fiscal assistance from the CARES Act be redirected to exhibitors.

In the letter addressed to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), among others, the National Association of Theatre Owners said more than 280 million people went to the movie theater in 2019. With the coronavirus shuttering theaters worldwide in mid-March, NATO said 93% of movie theaters suffered 75% fiscal losses in the second quarter of 2020.

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Exhibitors had hoped that Warner Bros.’ Labor Day theatrical release, Tenet, would bring moviegoers back. And the movie has — internationally. But domestically, the film has sputtered since its $20.2 million opening weekend.

NATO said that if the theater closures continue, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66% of theater jobs will be lost.

“Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide,” read the letter. “Movie theaters are in dire straits,  and we urge you to redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to proposals that help businesses that  have suffered the steepest revenue drops due to the pandemic, or to enact new proposals such as the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481).”

The trade group said that absent a fiscal solution, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic.

“Please fight for our country’s beloved and essential cinemas by including relief for them in any forthcoming COVID-19 legislation,” read the letter.