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MPAA CEO: Hollywood Must Get ‘Connected’

24 Apr, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Hollywood studios must embrace younger moviegoers on their turf — through connected devices and social media — former Sen. Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, told an industry gathering.

Speaking April 24 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Dodd said that with today’s younger consumer having access to multiple screen sizes to watch movies — notably tablet computers — studios have to accept evolving technology while at the same time educating the value of the traditional movie-going experience.

“Our business has become much more than simply making a great movie and inviting our customers to a theater,” Dodd said. “This new age of the connected consumer is here, and so we must adapt.”

The longest serving senator in the state of Delaware, Dodd applauded the National Association of Theater Operators (NATO) for incorporating social networking and digital technology to entice consumers to the theater.

The CEO said that through April 19, domestic box office revenue was up 17% from the same period in 2011 — despite the fact a third of the public in the United States and in Canada no longer goes to the movies.

“We need to bring them back,” Dodd said.

Meanwhile, the former presidential candidate said he wanted dispel the notion that in order to protect movies from piracy, Hollywood must be at war with the technology industry.

Dodd was referring to separate derailed legislative efforts, including the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), both of which have been shelved indefinitely after several Web giants orchestrated 24-hour blackouts in protest and Google held a petition drive that attracted more than 7 million participants, according to Fox News.

The CEO said he talked with media technologists at a TED confab in Long Beach, Calif., and on a panel at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. He said there is common ground among the tech community and media owners that content theft is a serious problem.

“I am told that the number of illegal [tapings] of movies in theaters is down 50% since 2007,” Dodd said.

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