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Hot on the heels of being named Vice President, Digital Business Development and Special Advisor to the Board of General Harmonics Corporation, Mitch Singer, former Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Sony Pictures Entertainment, has added another string to his bow. Verance Corporation, a global developer of technologies and solutions that protect and enhance the use of media content, has named the seasoned industry executive as Special Advisor, Industry Affairs.
The 23-year studio veteran, who became a proponent of Verance’s Cinavia content protection technology after seeing its enormous value to drive increased studio revenue during his tenure as EVP of SPE’s Digital Policy Group from 2006-14, has been involved in digital rights management from the launch of the DVD.
In addition to expanding Verance’s commercial relationships, Singer, who left the studio in March, will be supporting the continued expansion of the company’s industry standardised Cinavia content protection and consumer referral technology as it is integrated into new categories of digital media devices, including televisions, set-top boxes, tablets and mobile phones.
“Mitch has earned respect for crafting business strategies that advance the evolution to digital content of the entertainment industry,” said Verance CEO Nil Shah. “As a visionary executive on the frontlines of digital policy, Mitch’s experience will be invaluable as he works with the industry to grow a robust marketplace for filmed entertainment.”
“At Sony Pictures, I saw first-hand how the Cinavia content protection technology drives additional sales by changing consumer viewing habits from piracy to purchase,” Singer said. “As digital convergence makes both of these options available on more devices in more places, Cinavia provides a critical tool for channelling mainstream consumers to the legitimate services on which the industry’s future relies.”
According to Singer, Cinavia is the only content protection technology that can take new product platforms completely out of the piracy market. “The industry achieved this goal for Blu-ray Disc, closing the pathway to piracy on more than 100 million standalone Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and PC media players. Now, the transition to next-generation video formats presents the opportunity to secure a broader range of devices, including tablets, mobile phones and displays,” he suggested.
Using an inaudible audio watermark embedded in motion picture soundtracks and detected in consumer electronics devices, Verance’s Cinavia technology distinguishes between legitimate and unauthorised copies of content. When viewers try to play an unauthorised copy of Cinavia-protected movie, the player will detect this unauthorised use and block its playback. The recently launched Cinavia Level 3 enhancement provides blocked consumers with immediate access to legitimate copies of the content they want to watch while delivering new revenue opportunities for device manufacturers and digital content distribution services.
Cinavia was established as a standardised content protection system in 2006 to limit the use of movies pirated in pre-release, theatrical release, and optical and digital home entertainment formats. It has already been incorporated into over 100 million devices.
In collaborating with the studio’s various business units, Singer, who was Chief Digital Strategy Officer and EVP of SPE’s Digital Policy Group, helped identify digital business opportunities by exploring new products, formats and services; represented SPE in industry forums; and worked to mitigate content piracy. He focused on emerging and disruptive technologies, evaluating and developing adaptive business and new consumer usage models to stay ahead of the technological curve. He also played a central role in Sony Pictures’ worldwide anti-digital theft and digital rights management efforts, where he served as the lead negotiator in content protection technology licensing issues.
Additionally, Singer is President of Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the 75-member, cross-industry consortium behind UltraViolet, the effort to create open standards for digital entertainment distribution enabling consumers to acquire and play content across a wide range of services and devices. He formally sat on the boards of Motion Picture Laboratories, DVD CCA, Entertainment Technology Center USC and the HDBaseT Alliance. He also was appointed to the copyright committee for The National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy.
Among his many honours are The Hollywood Reporter’s 2012 Digital Power 50; 2012 Inductee into Variety’s Home Entertainment Hall of Fame; 2012 Home Media Magazine 2nd Annual Digital Drivers Issue; Daily Variety’s Dealmakers Impact Report 2011: Executives; and 2011 Home Media Magazine Digital Drivers Issue.
Singer received both his JD and MBA from the University of San Diego.