MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd, addressing CinemaCon 2012 – The Official Convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) in Las Vegas – has underscored the importance of protecting creative content, and emphasised that all parties, in both the creative and tech communities, must work together to find a shared solution. He also suggested that the movie industry needed to adapt to the age of the ‘connected consumer’.
He described the issue of protecting the creative content of the film industry as not only the lifeblood of the movie production industry, but also the lifeblood of the exhibition (cinema) industry as well. “As such, you are helping even more to redouble our efforts, joining many others beyond the audio/visual industries whose intellectual property is at risk,” he noted.
“At the outset, I want to dispense with the conventional wisdom that in order to protect our content we must be at war with the technology industry. In fact, our two industries, content and technology, have far more in common than some have argued,” he declared. “The truth is that neither the content nor the technology industries could survive without strong protections for intellectual property.”
He suggested that the ability to give birth to an idea and convert it into economic success, whether it is the content of a film or the technology of the internet, depended on copyright and patent protection.
“We are a nation of ideas with an economy of creators and producers. But this will not continue if creators and makers cannot protect the ownership of their creations and production – whether a movie or a smartphone app. If protecting intellectual property results in an uninformed brawl between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, both sides will suffer – but more importantly, so will millions of Americans who rely on these intellectual property industries for their jobs, and on the consumers whose lives have been enriched by their efforts,” he warned, adding that he was committed to doing all he could to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the protection of intellectual property. “But, more importantly, the leaders of the content industry are committed as well – and I am confident many in the tech community are similarly prepared to do their part as well.”
He noted that the National Association of Theatre Owners had been a strong ally in protecting films, with the number of illegal video camcords of movies in theatres down 50 per cent since 2007.
“Almost all of this is due to your vigilance,” he observed. “I urge you to continue to be a part of a thoughtful and rational solution to protecting intellectual property,” he said. “Together we can protect our product, the jobs our industry supports, and the consumers who never cease to delight in the experience we together provide them.”
In terms of meeting the challenges posed by new methods of movie consumption, he drew delegates’ attention to a recent survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value, which said: “The much heralded ‘connected consumer era’ is no longer on the way; it has arrived. Today’s connected consumers are empowered, demanding instant access to personalised content on their own terms”.
“This new age of the connected consumer is here, and so we must adapt. Our business has become much more than simply making a great movie and inviting our customers to a theatre. We need to make the case – both to the new, younger ‘connected consumers’, and to others who wonder if the movie-going experience remains something special, something to be savoured and enjoyed, something so innovative and creative that it cannot be duplicated at home no matter how many boxes they have,” he suggested.