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Shapiro: Hollywood, Consumer Electronics Industry 'Need Each Other'

28 Mar, 2013

Gary Shapiro (left) and Paul Gluckman at the Entertainment Supply Chain Academy (ESCA) Digital conference March 28 in L.A.

LOS ANGELES — Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, freely admits that the relationship between Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry “has not always been smooth.”

“But we need each other,” he said, speaking during an early session of the Entertainment Supply Chain Academy (ESCA) Digital conference March 28.

Shapiro pointed out that consumer electronics and Hollywood have had a long history of conflict, from the long-ago war over the VCR to today’s battle over ad-skipping DVRs. But the two are also becoming more and more reliant on each other. Consider the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, when Shapiro stood on stage with five home entertainment studio presidents to announce a cross-industry UltraViolet partnership.

And Shapiro’s comments were reminiscent of those regularly made by his counterpart in the movie industry, former Senator Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, who’s often called for cooperation between the content and tech sectors.

However, even with consumer electronics and entertainment joined at the hip today, Shapiro made no apologies for the problems consumer electronics sometimes cause Hollywood.

“In our industry, by definition, everything we do in consumer electronics is disrupting the business model of somebody else, whether it’s broadcasting, cable, satellite, Hollywood or the music industries,” he said. “Preserving the status quo is never a winning business model. You’re going to end up losing.”

Shapiro also used his time at ESCA to speak about the next big thing for the consumer electronics industry: Ultra HD sets. Also known as 4K, Ultra HD denotes a screen resolution four times that of today’s 1920x1080 HDTVs.

“Ultra HD I think will be huge, and I don’t think it’s going to need that much promotion,” he said. “It will sell itself.”

He called the push for 3DTVs “overhyped,” revolving around “one big movie [Avatar],” and said both the CE industry and Hollywood “collectively made mistakes” with 3D in the home.

But he sees the industry learning from mistakes that may have been made with 3DTV, and making Ultra HD — once screen prices come down — the next must-have for the living room.

“[And] the content will come when the screens are there,” he added.

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