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EMA Honors Vubiquity's Edelman and Fandango's Yanover, Awards 2017 Scholarship

20 May, 2017 By: Stephanie Prange

Scholarship winner Ben Thomson (left) is congratulated by EMA president and CEO Mark Fisher.

Plaudits abounded May 19 as the Entertainment Merchants Association announced the winner of its 2017 college scholarship and recognized two industry leaders, Vubiquity’s Michele Edelman and Fandango’s Paul Yanover, at a luncheon in Universal City, Calif.

Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis feted Edelman, the company’s EVP of marketing and content strategy, for her community service to the organization GLAAD and to the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island.

In accepting the EMA award, Edelman recalled watching her mother get ready for evening events as a child.

“She would leave for a few hours to attend meetings,” Edelman said. “I couldn’t understand why she wanted to leave us — leave me!”

She later came to appreciate the service her mother had been contributing to the community and a “heritage of giving back.”

Recalling her younger self, Edelman said, “Mother was just sending a message and leading by example. So, mom, message heard loud and clear, and I’d like to dedicate this award to her.”

Yanover, president of Fandango, was honored for his leadership in the entertainment industry, creating an integrated digital network that serves consumers throughout the movie lifecycle, including Fandango’s premium on-demand video service, FandangoNOW.

Fandango’s Cameron Douglas, EMA treasurer, helped introduce Yanover, saying at Fandango “home entertainment [is] a central part of its simple vision to uniquely super-serve movie and TV fans.”

Fandango correspondent Nikki Novak hailed Yanover as a visionary, “a person who is thinking of or planning the future with imagination and wisdom.”

In accepting his award, Yanover noted Fandango, long a site for accessing movie tickets, is “a newbie” in home entertainment, adding, “We truly believe there’s a massive opportunity.”

“What you’ll find from us is a pretty unabashed desire to take risks, to be creative, to listen to the consumer,” he said, adding that home entertainment has “a bright future” if the industry is unafraid.

Scholarship winner Ben Thomson, whose father, Mike Thomson, works for EMA member company BBC Worldwide, accepted his award via a video presentation. He plans to attend the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey after he graduates next month from Valley Stream North High School in Long Island, N.Y., where he has a 99.6 grade point average. He said he intends to study electrical engineering and to use his degree to “follow my passion of blending technology and entertainment.”

The EMA annually awards one scholarship of $4,000 per year for up to four years of undergraduate or graduate education. The luncheon helps raise funds for the scholarship. Since the Scholarship Foundation was established in 1987, it has helped more than 240 students with scholarship grants totaling more than $1 million.

“This is the 30th anniversary of our scholarship foundation,” noted comScore’s Marty Graham, who also serves as EMA chair. Taking a step back in time, he noted that among the original companies that offered seed money for the scholarship were Rentrak (now part of comScore), JD Store equipment (which provided shelving to video stores) and MCA/Universal (now not part of MCA but of Comcast). EMA at the time was called the Video Software Dealers Association or VSDA, he noted.

“I was at Rentrak when we made the decision to make that contribution, so it really dates me,” Graham joked.

Google’s Jonathan Zepp said the EMA with its scholarship award sought to  “find someone that represents the interest of our industry and our association,” noting Thomson’s interest in combining technology and entertainment.

About the Author: Stephanie Prange

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