News Stories

KNBC 4 Interviews David Wertheimer Concerning Hackers

David Wertheimer, executive director of Entertainment Technology Center at USC, says hackers operate a little like terrorists, forming small groups to do their deeds, but Tuesday’s arrests show they can be traced and arrested. Would-be hackers should take note of this: You can hide in cyberspace, but you also can be caught.

Link to Interview

NAB: Panel Shines a Light on UltraViolet

[by Walter Schoenknecht, TV TECHNOLOGY]

For many, references to “the cloud” are all too apt — an amorphous, poorly-defined fog that looks different to everyone who sees it.

But a cross-industry consortium has wrestled the cloud into submission to paint a vivid picture of the ways in which cloud storage will soon benefit content providers and consumers.

Monday’s NAB Show Super Session “Power to the Consumer! Here Comes UltraViolet!” assembled a cross-disciplinary team of interested parties to discuss Ultra- Violet, an initiative of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE).

The system, set to debut later this year, provides common paths, methods and tools for distribution of visual media across a range of devices, media and platforms.

Moderated by David Wertheimer, CEO of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California, the session attempted to define and describe the UltraViolet project, a collaboration among more than 60 players from different industries.

One of the first goals of UltraViolet, Wertheimer said, was to deliver content in the ways consumers are most comfortable with. Richard Berger, senior vice president of Global Digital Strategy at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, outlined UltraViolet’s cross-media underpinnings: physical products such as DVD and Blu-ray Disc and digitally-delivered streams and downloads. “The good thing about UltraViolet is that we have something for everybody,” he said.

Wertheimer said consumers still have great affection for physical media, whether to assuage fears of format compatibility or simply to maintain their movie collections. As a result, he said, “digital sell-through” was a difficult task for distributors.

Mark Teitell, general manager and executive director of DECE, UltraViolet’s parent consortium, said consumers also resisted being channeled to a single purchase outlet, preferring to select their retailer of choice. Many were worried that a digital purchase in one specific format might leave them “marooned” if the device or platform faded from public use.

Christopher Allen, Best Buy general manager, described the challenges UltraViolet faces. “There’s still a passion for the entertainment experience; there’s still a passion for collecting,” he said. “But how do you bring the best of that ownership model that people like, and blend that with the best that the Internet and technology can bring?”

Scott Fierstein, senior director for Interoperability Standards at Microsoft, described the “pillars” the consortium chose as the foundation for UltraViolet: interoperability between services and devices; a consistent, predictable usage model across platforms; and a strong visual identity — a logo — that implicitly guarantees compatibility for both devices and content.

Fierstein also said that creating an effective, platform-agnostic digital rights management (DRM) scheme was key. “I think this is the most innovative thing that came out of UltraViolet,” he said. “From the consumer’s perspective, the technology is truly transparent.”

Tim Dodd, media vice president and general manager at Neustar Media, described consumers’ perception of “the right” to move their physical media purchases into the cloud for portable viewing. “I think that, for a while, we’ll be in a hybrid physical/digital environment,” he said. Bill Wheaton, vice president for digital media at Akamai Technologies, said that unauthorized download of content was a concern, but that the benefits of UltraViolet were, in themselves, a deterrent.

See the original post here: http://nabshowdaily.com/2011/WednesdayEdition/119188

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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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