News Stories

The Sacramento Bee quoted Phil Lelyveld about the D-BOX movie theater seats

The D-BOX seats are meant to draw in patrons, not scare them away with high prices. “What we are doing here is having one more feature” at a multiplex that already boasts digital projectors in every auditorium and six auditoriums equipped for 3-D.

Exhibitors and movie studios have added new technologies to attract patrons since the advent of “talkies.” Some have been gimmicks, like “Smell-O-Vision.” Others, like recently revived 3-D, have become semi-permanent or permanent features.

“It is a gimmick if it only works with a couple of films,” said Phil Lelyveld of the University of Southern California’s Entertainment Technology Center. Of D-BOX seats, Lelyveld asks, “The question is, will there be a movement for more than a few of these?”

Since it started animating theater seats a year ago, D-BOX Technologies has installed seats in 23 theaters in the United States and Canada. Its studio partners include Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal.

Availability of ETC’s new whitepaper, “ETC Marketing Metadata 1.0.” covered by several news groups.

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Entertainment Technology Center at University of Southern California (ETC@USC), a non-profit consortium that brings together top entertainment and consumer electronics companies to listen to and evaluate consumer mindshare towards future technologies, is pleased to announce the availability of its new whitepaper, “ETC Marketing Metadata 1.0.” This document provides a set of best practices for creating descriptive/marketing metadata, based on the combined wisdom of the metadata experts who produce and distribute digital media for the leading Hollywood studios. The ETC@USC is also announcing a new metadata online discussion group open to industry members who are looking to further the discussion around the distribution of metadata. Metadata is information that, in this case, describes what is contained in digital content files. Virtually every content creator or related service company creates metadata, and each distributor/network has its own specification for the metadata it receives with the content. There are a wide variety of implementations, and managing a consistent quality of data through distribution can be a challenge.

“With the explosion and increasing importance of online content, the need for sharing best practices for metadata has become essential. Your metadata is often all you have to get your content in front of the online consumer. The ETC@USC metadata discussion group will bring together those with the interest to further develop best practices for this data,” said KC Blake, director of business development at ETC@USC. “ETC@USC’s metadata project has the support of many of the Hollywood studios and the companies that support them. We are therefore confident that the metadata discussion group will enable industry members to share information, to work together, and to ultimately save everyone in the value chain time and money. Best of all, consumers will be able to find the content they want easier.”

Those interested in signing up for the ETC@USC metadata online discussion group can do so by visiting

Link to coverages
ABC local
AOL DailyFinance
Business Wire
CBS News
Market Watch
Yahoo Finance
and many others ..

Link to the Whitepaper
Link to Metadata discussion group


Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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ETC Events

NAB Show –
April 7-12, 2018
Las Vegas, NV

Digital Hollywood Spring –
May 22-24, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

Cine Gear Expo –
May 31-June 3, 2018
Los Angeles, CA


SMPTE Entertainment Technology Conference – 
June 13-14, 2018
Sunnyvale, CA

Comic-Con International – 
July 18-22, 2018
San Diego, CA

August 12-16, 2018
Vancouver, Canada

IBC Conference & Exhibition –
September 13-18, 2018
Amsterdam, The Netherlands