On Wednesday, May 8th, the Entertainment Technology Center hosted its annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner, honoring longtime Warner Bros. studio executive Chuck Dages with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award. This event, which brought together over a hundred executives from across the major studios, also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ETC at USC, and featured a lively panel discussion about new and emerging trends in entertainment technology, with the senior technology executives from all six major studios appearing as panelists.
The event, hosted at USC’s Town and Gown, began with an evening cocktail reception, followed by introductory remarks by Elizabeth Daley, Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts at USC, and Ken Williams, current CEO of the ETC at USC, who looked back at the center’s 20 year history. Following dinner, Williams introduced the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award, recently named in memory of longtime Disney executive and former ETC chairman Bob Lambert. In accepting the award, Dages, a longtime contributor to various ETC projects, praised the center and its work over the last two decades, and encouraged attendees at the dinner to continue to innovate. “The people in this room hold the keys to how our business will stay viable by finding ways to distribute content to consumers at a cost that makes it profitable for us in the industry,” said Dages. “That is a huge opportunity, to remake an industry that is 120 years old and take it into the next century.”
The evening concluded with a spirited panel discussion about emerging trends in entertainment technology, that underlined both the challenges and the opportunities of the changing technological landscape. The discussion, moderated by Williams, included Vince Roberts, EVP global operations & CTO of the Disney/ABC Television Group; Joseph Cates, CTO of Universal Pictures; Wendy Aylsworth, SVP technology at Warner Bros.; Hanno Basse, CTO of Fox Filmed Entertainment; Spencer Stephens, CTO of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and Craig German, EVP worldwide technical operations for Paramount Pictures.