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Content Takes Center Stage at 2016 CES

16 Nov, 2015 By: Chris Tribbey

Tablets, 4K, 8K and connected TVs, new hardware advances in virtual reality, even a Blu-ray Disc player or five will likely make news at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.

But increasingly it’s the content ruling the discussion at the annual technology conference, and it’s already proving especially true with less than two months to go before the event, according to Karen Chupka, SVP of CES and corporate business strategy for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association).

“There’s a reason CES cares about Hollywood and the entertainment industry, because it’s such an exciting time for the collision of technology and content,” she said. “It’s not just about TVs and tablets. It’s about content.”

Of the more than 230 panel sessions during the show, approximately 50 deal with the entertainment industry and content delivery. Variety’s ever-growing Entertainment Matters CES program is expected to attract more than 25,000 senior level entertainment executives and influencers, with exhibits, keynotes and quite a few parties (a Hulu cocktail party, the Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards, a MediaLink kick-off party). C-Space — the CES area for brands, ad agencies, publishers and social networks — will be twice the size as the 2015 CES, Chupka noted.

Need further proof Hollywood has made CES its home? Look at the line-up of keynote speakers, where nearly half are coming from the content side: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl and NBC Universal CEO Stephen Burke. Hastings will have top billing at the event, with his presentation immediately following the CTA state of the industry speech from Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, on opening day.

“These are exciting industry leaders who are changing the way content is consumed and seen,” Chupka said of the speakers. And who did CTA tap to be its Entertainment Matters Ambassadors for CES 2016? A pair of YouTube vloggers (Justine Ezarik, a.k.a. iJustine, and Joey Graceffa) who combine for more than 10 million subscribers and 1.4 billion video views. “Both are thriving examples that can attest to the plethora of opportunities available when the technology and content communities collide,” Chupka said.

And sure, at the Nov. 10 CES Unveiled event in New York there were drones and virtual reality headsets to be had, but the big newsmaker was Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, with the unveiling of retail packaging for the next-gen home entertainment format, set for an early 2016 debut. DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and CTA will partner to get the message out about 4K Blu-ray’s benefits, the groups announced.

Also of note at the 2016 CES:

• CTA is expanding its Gaming & Virtual Reality Marketplace at CES by more than 75%, and creating a specific area for augmented reality. Oculus VR, Virtuix, Sphero and approximately 40 other companies dealing in the virtual reality business will share the latest gains in gaming hardware, software and accessories.

“Developments in virtual and augmented reality have made significant strides to allow us to engage in a 360-degree gaming experience, explore the inside of foreign landmarks, treat phobias, better train medical professionals, virtually attend an event and much more,” Chupka said. CTA expects VR headset sales to increase by 500% in 2016, with 1.2 million units sold, and revenues of $540 million.

• CTA will debut a new eCommerce Marketplace highlighting advances in mobile payment apps, shopping platforms and cloud solutions.

“The e-commerce industry is transforming the way companies do business and interact with consumers,” Shapiro said in a statement. “The innovations in this industry are next-level and the possibilities are endless.”

• DEG will hold its annual CES invite-only party Jan. 6 at the XS Nightclub in the Encore.

Among the content and hardware conference sessions of note:

• On Jan. 5 at 9 a.m., representatives from EMC/Isilon, ICM Partners, SnagFilms and TiVo will tackle the changing face of TV consumption in the panel “The Internet, Media and the Hollywood Connection” (LVCC, North Hall, Room N264).

• In the Jan. 5, 10:15 a.m. session “Multi-Screen Strategies for Connected TV Technology and Content,” executives from Dish, Mobilactive Media and Verizon will look at what makes the multiscreen universe go round (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• Also Jan. 5 at 10:15 a.m., executives from Nielsen, IBM and more will look at the expansion of content across tablets, laptops and smartphones in the panel “Merging Content with New Technologies” (LVCC, North Hall, Room N264).

• “The 2015 Holiday Season” at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 5 has Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis for The NPD Group, sharing the consumer electronics results from the 2015 holiday season (LVCC, North Hall, Room N258).

• For “Hollywood and Media: Platforms and Brands” (11:30 a.m. Jan. 5) executives from Epix, The Story Lab, Huge LA and Starz will share their thoughts on what entertainment brands are doing right and wrong when it comes to getting the message across on mobile (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “The State of Displays: What to Expect for 2016” (Jan. 5, 2:15 p.m.) has consumer electronics experts talking high-dynamic range, smart TVs and content consumption trends for the upcoming year (LVCC, North Hall, Room N258).

• On Jan. 6 at 10:15 a.m. representatives from Deloitte LLP, Needham & Company, LLC, Starz and NBC Universal will take part in the panel “Future of TV: From Primetime to Multi-Platforms” (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “Cord-Cutting Brings New Content Opportunities” (Jan. 6 10:15 a.m.) has representatives from WWE and Sling TV talking about the right tactics for capturing cord-cutters.

• At 11:30 a.m. Jan. 6, in the panel “Video Anytime Anywhere: Understanding the Value Proposition,” reps from Starz, Epix and Scripps Networks Interactive will tackle how crucial it is to target consumers with not only TV, but also the Internet and mobile (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “Hollywood and the Digital Consumer: The Entertainment Experience” (Jan. 6 1 p.m.) sees speakers from Public Broadcasting Service, Havas Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Epix, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and IBM look at how technology and content are converging today (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• A “2016 Preview: FCC and FTC Commissioner Roundtable” (2:15 p.m. Jan. 6) sees FCC and FTC commissioners, along with the CTA, look at everything from privacy to spectrum allocation, and how policy and regulatory issues are going to shape up in 2016 (LVCC, North Hall, Room N254).

• “Virtual Reality: Hollywood Does Cutting Edge” (Jan. 6 2:15 p.m.) has reps from 20th Century Fox, Mirada, Lionsgate Interactive Ventures and Games and The VR Company looking at the future of Hollywood and VR (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• At 9 a.m. Jan. 7, reps from The Envisioneering Group, Home Media Magazine, ARRIS, IBM and NAGRA will take part in the panel discussion “Ultimate TV: The OTT-Multiscreen Experience” (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “HDR: The 2016 Hollywood Playbook” (10:15 a.m. Jan. 7) has speakers from Hollywood Reporter, Dolby, DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox look at the importance of high dynamic range for content owners (LVCC, North Hall, Room N256).

• On Jan. 7 at noon, Oculus VR’s Mary Lou Jepsen will share an update on how VR is headed to the home in the presentation “Oculus Rift: The Family Friend” (Venetian, Level 4, Lando 4301).

• “Video Everywhere: Next Generation of OTT” (Jan. 7 1 p.m.) sees reps from The Allant Group, Ooyala and Beamr tackle the advantages and pitfalls of delivering content anywhere, anytime (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• In the panel “Hybrid TV: Delivering the Ultimate TV Experience” (2:15 p.m., Jan. 7) reps from Siemens, EchoStar, Adobe, Entone, NeuLion and Ericsson TV Platforms will look at the bundles that are proving most attractive to consumers, and will discuss why (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “Completing the HDR Viewing Experience” (2:15 p.m. Jan. 7) has reps from CTA,
HDMI Licensing, Quantum Data, and Panasonic looking at the standards behind HDR (LVCC, North Hall, Room N261).

• “What's Next for 4K Ultra HD?” (Jan. 7 3:30 p.m.) sees consumer electronics experts tackling everything from 4K content development to retail sales solutions for UHD TVs (LVCC, North Hall, Room N253).

• The panel “Over-the-Top TV — Content and Platforms” (3:30 p.m. Jan. 7) has reps from The Vertere Group, NBC Universal and SVOD service TAPP looking at how broadcast and cable has been permanently affected by OTT (LVCC, North Hall, Room N262).

• “The Future of Storytelling” (Jan. 7 4:30 p.m.) will see top creative from Sony and other studios share how technology increasingly plays a hand in how the stories themselves are told (LVCC, North Hall, Room N258).

• “New TV Technology: More Than Pixels” (10:15 a.m. Jan. 8) has reps from AVS Forum, 20th Century Fox, Joe Kane Productions and Samsung looking at the benefits of HDR, wider color gamut and more (LVCC, North Hall, Room N259).

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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