Top creators and platform execs will discuss the ways that technology and innovation are transforming Hollywood during Variety’s annual Entertainment Summit at CES, set for Jan. 8 during the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, CBS Interactive CEO Marc Debevoise, Imax president Megan Colligan, Fox Entertainment’s SideCar Content Accelerator chair Gail Berman and Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, are among the speakers scheduled for the Jan. 8 event at the Aria Resort & Casino. Many of the sessions will attempt to make sense of the exploding number of content platforms as more and more companies enter the streaming fray, pitching content directly to consumers.
“We’re in an exciting period of evolution for the media business, and making a direct connection with your customer has never been more important,” says Sean Kisker, exec VP and chief strategy officer of Otter Media and WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, who will speak at the summit panel on building fandom around projects and products. “We expect to share our perspectives on how various businesses understand this challenge, and how each thinks about the concept of fandom as a driver to their model.”
Oren Katzeff, Conde Nast president; Shay Mitchell, “Dollface” star and founder of Beis Travel; George Barrios, co-president of WWE; and Jessica Burns, head of brand and marketing at Grubhub will join Kisker on the panel.
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The summit kicks off with “Peak 2.0 — The Future of the Content Industry,” a panel directly examining the future of the seemingly limitless content landscape; Colligan and Berman will appear on the panel.
Another session will examine zeitgeist storytelling and who’s using it best in the digital age, with Suzanna Makkos, exec VP of comedy and animation at HBO Max among those weighing in on the topic.
“Clearly, we need to aspire to the same standard of excellence as HBO, but are branching out beyond their core demo to reach all audiences,” Makkos says. “For example, we’re working with 18-year-old Zelda Barnes on a dramedy series called ‘Generation,’ which follows a group of high school students in their exploration of modern sexuality within a conservative community and features a diverse cast of people of color and sexual orientation.”
“At a time when it feels like a new streaming service is always becoming available, it’s important to prioritize your audience and understand why they are watching your content,” says
Fellow panelist Rebecca Glashow, co-chief of AwesomenessTV. “I’m excited to share our learnings about Gen Z and share how this digitally native audience helps us create and identify compelling storytelling.”
Andrew Wallenstein, Variety co-editor-in-chief. will interview Cuban in the day’s first headliner conversation. Best known as one of the “sharks” on ABC’s long-running business reality competition series “Shark Tank,” Cuban is co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, whose holdings include Magnolia Pictures.
John Harrison, global sector leader and partner of EY, and John Curbishley, Viacom exec VP of distribution strategy, will examine the evolution of media and entertainment, while another panel will tackle the challenge of finding the most-wanted young audiences.
The tech breakthroughs that will drive the next level of engagement, including artificial intelligence, voice activation, AR/VR and more, will be scrutinized, while Heather Dumford, senior VP of MediaLink, leads a look into creating personal brand engagement across platforms in another of the summit’s panels.
Additional conversations are set with Debevoise, chief digital officer of CBSViacom in addition to CEO of CBS Interactive; NBCU’s Yaccarino; Matt Derella, Twitter global VP of revenue and content partnerships; Guru Gowrappan, exec VP and group CEO of Verizon Media; Dawn Ostroff, Spotify chief content officer; creator Lele Pons; and Farhad Massoudi, Tubi CEO. He plans on talking about the growth in ad-supported video on demand during his session.
What: Variety’s Entertainment Summit at CES
When: Jan. 8
Where: Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas