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Dunn: CE, Content Industries Need a Better Connection

21 Oct, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

CENTURY CITY, Calif. — Whether it’s with the hardware in consumers’ living rooms, or how people respond to content, or the way the consumer electronics and content industries work together, the entertainment business is all about connections, according to Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

“The physical connections your devices promote, and the emotional connections that our movies and TV shows create, have changed the way people engage with our entertainment and with each other,” Dunn said, speaking Oct. 21 during a keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) Industry Forum.

“Yet sometimes it feels like we’re only tapping one side of our collective brain power at a time,” he continued. “If we worked together more, combined our thinking at the front end of innovation, we could deliver something even more powerful for consumers.”

To show Fox’s commitment to bridging the consumer electronics and content industries, Dunn announced the 2014 launch of the Fox Innovation Lab, “a digital petri dish” endeavor that aims to establish a commercial relationship between the studio and consumer electronics and technology companies.

“This connection between our industries is critical,” Dunn said. “We are the beginning of a renaissance defined by connectivity and fueled by technology. Now is the time for us to work together, to collaborate and push our industries even further.”

Part of the lab’s mission would be to build a “digital bridge” between content and consumer electronics, and Dunn relayed a concept Blu-ray Disc player that would do just that, one that would have Ultra HD playback capability and enough storage to play one’s entire Blu-ray collection (with a built-in or external, multi-terabyte hard drive).

“Consumers would have the ability to copy their physical discs, and store and manage their entire digital library in one centralized location,” he said. “Consumers could move their digital files around seamlessly to any device and to their portable devices from the cloud.

“It’s an entertainment hub that bridges consumer behavior into the digital future,” Dunn added.

On the content side, the emergence of new platforms and devices have resulted in the demand for more premium content, Dunn said, and that’s where the studio’s Digital HD initiative comes in. With the anywhere, anytime, all-high-def service, Fox offers early access to new releases for $14.99, cloud storage of purchased films and access to the studio’s library of content.

“Consumers are adopting Digital HD at the same rapid pace [as] DVD,” Dunn said. “Fox titles alone are outperforming comparable titles from a year ago by over 200%. This strong growth in digital consumption proves there is an appetite for this with consumers.”

He pointed out that for Christmas 2012, Fox released Taken 2 via Digital HD — which offers films four weeks before disc — to take advantage of the estimated 17 million Internet-connected devices unwrapped that day. The Digital HD release “outperformed comparable titles from the previous year by 241%,” Dunn said.

Dunn made note of how far and how quickly entertainment has evolved, from solely the movie theater to “anywhere and everywhere.” He shared research showing the average American spending 4.5 hours a day watching TV, and tablet users spending nearly 60% of their video hours with long-form content. In 2015 there will be 874 million Internet-connected devices, up from 558 million today.

“We’ll have more devices with more sophistication, which all create more opportunity for the consumer electronics and content ecosystem,” he said.

Dunn also scoffed at the suggestion that Hollywood isn’t doing enough to make its content available in the ways people want.

“Well, we have our product in nearly 50,000 physical locations, and on all major digital platforms,” he said. “You can buy in the store, over the Internet, with the click of your remote, by mail or a [from] a kiosk outside of a drugstore.”

Before Dunn’s presentation, the CEA brought together several technology experts to discuss technology trends to look out for in 2014, one of them being Ultra HD 4K video and the debut of new video curators.

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