Dodd made his remarks during his state of the industry address at CinemaCon, the annual National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) convention in Las Vegas.
Noting that the association’s owners embraced the latest technologies enhancing the audience experience, he admitted being a member of the overwhelming majority who believe that the Internet and emerging technologies have been a great asset for all.
“Of course we all hear a lot of talk about technology disrupting our industry. And yes, we all know technology abuse causes us headaches. As such, we have both the right and the responsibility to express our concerns about piracy undermining our industry on a global level, and threatening the livelihood of the thousands of hard-working people who make a living producing, distributing and exhibiting our films,” he declared.
“Intellectual property protection is today, and shall remain, a top priority for all of us. On behalf of our studios, and the thousands of people in this industry, I want to express how much we appreciate your efforts as exhibitors to stop illegal camcording in your theatres. And I am appealing to you, once again, to continue raising awareness about this important issue in your local communities,” he added.
“The good news is that we are making progress. And I remain optimistic about the future because technology is our friend, not our foe. After all, the most frequent moviegoers tend to own more technological devices than the general population. Nearly three-quarters of all frequent moviegoers own at least four different pieces of new technology – smart phones, iPads, notebooks, tablets, etcetera,” he noted.
According to Dodd, watching content on multiple platforms, instead of cannibalising movie theatre sales, ironically, may be increasing them. “A recent Nielsen study shows that the ‘tech-savvy’ among us, particularly younger people, go to the movies almost twice as much as the ‘tech un-savvy’ crowd,” he advised.
“Our challenge is to make technology serve us rather than disrupt us. That is what our industry has always done, and what we are doing once again. Yesterday’s technology brought us innovative sound and Technicolor; IMAX and jaw-dropping special effects, among other innovations. While the studios I represent, and other production companies, are called ‘content producers’, in reality we are technology companies manufacturing content,” he admitted.
He suggested that when properly harnessed, that technology could drive traffic to its products. “That is why we need to keep innovating – and we will. That is why we need to keep experimenting – and we will. That is why we need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theatres – and we will. We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings. Technology is not our adversary; it can, and must be, our ally,” he declared.