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Content Industry To Embrace CES

The 2008 version of International CES could easily be called the “Content Electronics Show” based on the high-profile commitments of two leading content suppliers and other content-oriented events set for the show.

During last week’s CES Unveiled, the annual press preview for the show, Gary Shapiro, president/CEO, and Karen Chupka, senior VP of events and conferences of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which produces of the show, said Sony Pictures Television will have a major presence at the Sony booth outlining its programming. NBC Universal also outlined details of its agreement to be CES’ first “Official Broadcast Partner” at the 2008 event last night.

These two announcements, plus several other previously announced keynote speakers, supersessions and seminars, illustrate how the CE and content industries have debated and conferred about such issues as HDTV, online music and video downloads and all the content protection issues that are vital to the cable, satellite, broadcast and entertainment communities over the past several years. As a consequence, CES has become a vital meeting place for such discussions and debates.

Shapiro invited Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, to address the media, and he said Sony “is excited to come to CES as a technology company and as a content company. It fits in with our corporate theme of ‘Sony United,'” an effort by the company to unite its efforts in both areas.

Mosko added, “Some ask us, ‘How do you survive without having a network?’ We answer, ‘How do you survive without having a technology company?'”

He said Sony Pictures ran an ad in entertainment and broadcasting trade magazines this July outlining its plans for CES. “We know people set their budgets on shows then. Based on all the content providers, technology and excitement at [the 2007] CES, this is the place to be. There is more press at CES than the Super Bowl.”

During the past several years, with the development of HDTV, online music and video downloads, and content-protection issues vital to cable, broadcast and entertainment communities, more companies and executives from those industries have attended CES in greater numbers.

Sony will hold an event at its booth on Jan. 7 at 9 a.m., the opening day of the show, which will highlight all of Sony Pictures’ programming and will feature such entertainers as Jerry Seinfeld, Tony Bennett, Drew Carey, Alex Trebek and Vanna White.

Beth Comstock, president of NBC Universal Integrated Media, outlined the role that its networks and programs will play as CES’ first-ever “Official Broadcast Partner.”

Comstock said that select NBC Universal broadcast and cable entities such as the Today Show, Access Hollywood, Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo and others will broadcast from the show floor covering various CEA events.

She added that the agreement with CES allows NBC Universal “to showcase how powerful the partnership between quality content and consumer electronics can be.”

Among the many other content-oriented events that show the ever-closer relationship between it and the CE industry are:

  • a keynote address from Comcast’s Brian Roberts;
  • the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards will take place for the second year, honoring achievements in two areas: Science & Technology for Television;
  • a session by TWICE’s sister publication Variety, called Technology Impact: 5 Things Technologists Don’t Get About Hollywood;
  • conference sessions such as Hollywood and the Digital Consumer: How Technology, Content and Services Establish the Next Level of Consumer Entertainment Experience — Part of the Digital Hollywood Partner Program;
  • All Video All the Time: Broadband, IPTV, DVD and Mobile, another Digital Hollywood session; and
  • a conference called Movies, TV and Video for Mobile: Original Entertainment & Information Programming Jump-Starts the Revolution.

For more on 2008 International CES events, see the Nov. 19 print edition of TWICE and updates on from now until the show is held in Las Vegas, Jan. 7-10, 2008.