University of Southern California

The 2013 E2 Conference
Disruptors in Media & Entertainment
March 1, 2013 • by News at Marshall

The picture is clear: disruption is a way of life. That’s according to the industry experts who converged at Marshall’s fifth annual E2 conference, "Evolution of Entertainment–Disruptors in Media & Entertainment" held Feb 22 at Town & Gown. Among 250 guests in attendance, they discussed forging ahead amid the disruptors that impact their businesses.

"The newest thing is always perceived as the biggest threat," said Marshall alumnus Reg Harpur, senior vice president and controller at Warner Bros. Tom Fuelling, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Hulu, added, "We must lean forward to create new distribution models, because you can’t fight consumer behavior."

Business models seem more like shifting sand underfoot. There’s an increased demand for content, piracy is problematic, and delivery systems must adapt. Speaking about industry business models, David Sievers, vice president of corporate development at Makers Studio emphasized, "You don’t need TV when you are creating content online." The good news is that more channels for monetizing content have emerged. Companies that can be agile can potentially profit; that’s why larger studios are partnering with YouTube channels and other online content production companies.

During his keynote address, Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, emphasized his focus on disruptive change. Just three or four years ago, many capabilities, such as Disc to Digital and UltraViolet, the industry standard for movies in the cloud, weren’t available.

Gewecke, sharing images of new technology such as Google Glass and moodINQ, explained, "You’ll be able to get what you want, when you want it, from anywhere."

Led by students, the USC Marshall Business of Entertainment Association hosted the 2013 E2 event with help from sponsors DigitalLA, USC’s Institute for Communication Technology Management (CTM) and Warner Bros. "We determined to make this year's E2 Conference one that sets the bar for years to come. We were excited by the number of students from other schools as well as the caliber of industry professionals that came," said Megan Horner and Dana Silverman, co-vice presidents of E2.

Executives from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting, Hulu, Warner Bros., MGM Studios, Yahoo!, next generation start-ups and USC’s Lucy Hood, executive director of CTM, participated in panel discussions, followed by short Q&A sessions.

Speakers also enjoyed the experience, and said these events help focus their business ideas. Anna Robertson, head of Yahoo! Studios, commented, "It’s a great opportunity to have a two-way dialogue about what’s happening in the industry, what students are interested in and how they’re consuming media, which will shape the future of how we create content."

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.