The 2011-2012 CVI Team Meets with Warner Bros. Executives

Summit 2 Description:

The CVI team meets with Warner Bros. executives in Burbank

The Media Industries Project convened the entire Connected Viewing Research Team on Sept. 6 and 7 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA, for the initiative’s final two-day summit. The event marked the culmination of a yearlong research endeavor, a rare academic-industry partnership with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) that focused on the multi-screen, socially networked entertainment experience. At the summit, team members presented findings from 11 individual research projects to a room full of WB executives, including WBDD President Thomas Gewecke. 

CVI Summit II
Day 1: Preliminary Discussions in Warner Bros. Executive Board Room

Specific findings emphasized the opportunities and challenges that “connected viewing” creates for content providers like WB. For example, researchers identified ways to encourage digital sell-through and promote collecting; they also issued urgent warnings about the importance of net neutrality, international data jurisdiction, and consumer privacy.

As the conversations between scholars and executives unfolded over the course of the summit, two distinct takeaways emerged:

First, the collaboration united a community of researchers and professionals around a common set of questions and concerns, a shared enthusiasm for content delivery and audience engagement in the digital era. Open, direct dialogue between the academy and industry is a rare opportunity. We speak different languages, work on different timelines, and prioritize different deliverables. Yet, CVI bridged those differences to cement something truly original, innovative, and exciting in academic-industry partnerships: a space in which the day-to-day pressures of working for a major media conglomerate were temporarily suspended to brainstorm alternative business strategies with a group of researchers whose training has primed them to deliver critical insights that market research firms and trade magazines do not explore.

CVI Summit II
Warner Bros. Executive Anuraj Goonetilleke (L) and CVI Researcher Patrick Vonderau

Second, the conversation underscored the mercurial nature and definition of “connected viewing” itself.  Our initial inquiries into the digital entertainment space have grown into conference proceedings, roundtable discussions, and various publications—all of which have significantly expanded our thinking about this moment of uncertainty for content providers and their audiences but also underscored the growing list of behaviors, platforms, services, and strategies under the “connected viewing” umbrella. Originally, we approached connected viewing as an activity that brings multiple screens into alignment and facilitates a more interactive mode of engagement with entertainment texts. Now, as a direct consequence of the research we’ve done, we have nuanced our understanding of the many ways in which connected viewing operates differently for regulators, consumers, content providers, and distributors. MIP will release additional details from the final research report in the coming months.

Finally, we want to thank our research team for their diligent work and imaginative research on the issues surrounding the digital future of content delivery, access, and engagement; and our partners at WB, who have shown a visionary enthusiasm for new research perspectives, and helped us forge this exciting collaboration.

Summit 1 Description:

February 2012

MIP recently brought together the entire Connected Viewing Initiative (CVI) Research Team for an inaugural two-day summit on the UC Santa Barbara campus. Through a series of dynamic discussions with one another and with Anuraj Goonetilleke and Daniel Ornstein, our visiting collaborators from Warner Bros., the event generated an extremely productive, collaborative atmosphere in which we shared ideas, resources, and preliminary findings.    

The projects and presentations were assembled into three categories: Industry Structure and Business Models, New Forms of Content and Engagement, and Technology and Platforms.  Although there is significant overlap amongst them, they serve as one potential approach to this emerging field of study.As the industry grapples with unprecedented shifts in the home entertainment marketplace, CVI is at the forefront of those changes. While each research group is conducting their own project, our collective efforts will establish a starting point for the field to debate the value of connected viewing in an era of digital delivery. In that pioneering spirit, we found ourselves confronting the challenges and opportunities associated with studying such a nascent research topic. Questions about the contextual, unstable, and expansive nature of connected viewing forced us to reflect critically on our foundational assumptions and agendas. We also forged a dialogue about the future dimensions of this research while recognizing that even the present moment for connected viewing is in flux.