Industry Gatherings Vital to Keep Ideas Flowing28 Jul, 2017 By: Thomas K. Arnold
The sixth annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit underscored the importance of our home entertainment industry leaders getting together in person every once in a while for face-to-face meetings.
And what made LAES so special was its inclusiveness. Not since the demise of the annual Entertainment Merchants Association’s annual convention and trade show in Las Vegas nearly a decade ago has there been a single event that draws participants from the entire food chain, if you will — studios, distributors, technologists, marketers, retailers and, yes, members of the press.
Every one of those groups plays a key role in moving this business forward, and while we can do all right flying solo in our silos and occasionally attending carefully curated conferences, big industry-wide events certainly still have a compelling draw.
And my hat goes off to Mark Fisher, head of the Entertainment Merchants Association, and Mark Horak, the former Warner Home Video and Redbox executive who is now focused on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (two of his three daughters have the disease). Through their hard work, perseverance and tenacity, they have grown the event into a respectable and viable successor to the fabled old VSDA convention, with the good sense of always having it take place in Los Angeles, the epicenter of our business.
The exchange of ideas spilled out far beyond the curated meetings between home entertainment and video game content producers and retailers that most consider the heart of the two-day event.
Intense conversations permeated the opening night cocktail party at the Loews Hollywood Hotel and the following night’s “Classic Hollywood Soirée” at the NeueHouse Hollywood, located in the landmark CBS Radio Building where the first live “I Love Lucy” telecasts were filmed.
Executives bonded at the golf tournament and chatted informally about their kids, their latest home remodels, and their vacations in the lobby bar.
And the Knowledge Exchange and Digital EMA Forum provided valuable industry insights — much like, say, Digital Hollywood, but with a broader and yet much more targeted audience.
It was, once again, a good event — and, for many studio executives in attendance, a warm-up of sorts for Comic-Con International, held later the same week in San Diego.
I went to both events and saw many of the same faces. But at Comic-Con, the focus is on sizzle and glitz — bringing out the stars to dazzle consumers, constructing elaborate show-floor booths and, of course, throwing elaborate parties like the wonderful Omnia bash organized by our friends at Fandango, and featuring a stellar performance by singer Elle King, one of my personal favorites (yeah, I was the old guy hanging out in front of stage during the whole show, taking pictures).
At LAES, on the other hand, the focus was on us, and on our business — and what we can do to make it better.