Back in the Hilton Theater Monday afternoon for a session with execs from Hollywood — Albert Cheng, EVP-digital media, Disney-ABC Television Group; Dan Fawcett, president, Fox Digital; Tom Lesinski, president, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment; and four days into the job, Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. Variety’s Charlie Koones moderated an across-the-board look at the issues of the day. A few of the highlights:
– Original online content: Fawcett: “We aren’t doing it as much as we should be. We’ve done stuff on mobile. … A little bit of the ‘fly on the tail of the elephant’ time to focus on it. We have to figure out the right business models and how to recruit production costs.” Cheng: In an ABC original-content test, the ABC player had more views than the top six user-gen sites where the video was shown.
Mobile: Cheng: On-demand is winning out over linear. “Not surprising considering we’ve already trained people to get what they want when they want it.” He wants better EPGs. Lesinski: Paramount’s mobile efforts are focused more internationally than the U.S. “Our goal is to start training to watch long form.” With that in mind, Paramount licensed a movie package including The Godfather to Nokia (NYSE: NOK) in Europe.
– Apple: Gewecke: From our standpoint, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is a great partner. … Certainly, there’s a need for technology to grow the market — especially in download to own. Lesinski: The deal with Apple for its library has been “surprisingly successful” selling older titles for “much higher margins.” It’s a “real revelation in terms of what Apple can do to create monetization for the studios.”
– Video sites: Cheng: “Platforms are made to do good and sometimes made to do evil, too. … The technology is kind of cool but without the shows or movies we have on this panel its sort of an empty box.”
CSI: Miami in Las Vegas: After the session, I saw David Caruso go up to chat with Paramount’s Lesinski. (The Viacom-Paramount-CBS (NYSE: CBS) connection.) Caruso also attended our LA year-end digital review last month, creating a bit of a mystery about his interest in digital. We talked for a bit but I had to promise to hold off on details. I can say this — it’s technology based and he’s as serious as Horatio Caine on a case. No sunglasses though.