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The Culture Addict Dream Conference

Chris Dodd and Nancy Pelosi

Each year, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hosts a large conference at the Newseum dedicated to highlighting what is new in creativity, content, and technology around the world. At the most recent confab, held on Friday, April 24, MPAA’s message focused on how creativity and innovation will play an even more integral role in the future than they do today. Indeed, the Creativity Conference is about exploring the critical intersection between technology and the arts, and their capacity to drive invention and economic growth across industries and regions. Bringing together leaders from the worlds of politics, media, business, and the arts, the Creativity Conference engages its audience in an open dialogue on the meaning of creativity, its economic impact across sectors, and the ways in which we can continue to protect and nurture American innovation and innovators.

At the conference, a group of leading, innovative women discussed the ways in which Hollywood and Washington, D.C. intersect. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D – CT), Evan Ryan (Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs), Barbara Hall (Creator and Executive Producer, Madam Secretary) and Lori McCreary (President, Producers Guild of America) discussed the ways that the spread of content availability has allowed greater diversity in the stories being told. The advent of places like Netflix, Amazon, and miniseries on both network and cable channels has changed the TV revenue model—appealing to niche audiences that are now profitable across a number of formats—thus allowing for a spike in the creativity of stories being told and technology being used to tell those stories.

Indeed, drone-operated cameras, high-quality computer imaging and robotics are no longer the purview of film only. Shows like Game of Thrones make extensive use of computer imaging in their depictions of dragons, The Mentalist commonly uses drone cameras to obtain birds-eye view shots of crime scenes and long tracking shots, and the now popular NBC live specials like Peter Pan use a combination of robotics and real people to bring imaginary characters to life for audiences.

None of this would have been possible without the content environment we have here in the United States. Piracy hurts more than just the actors you see on the screen, it hurts the innovators, engineers, writers, costume designers, set technicians, makeup artists, seamstresses, and builders behind the scenes. It takes more than just one idea, one actor, or one director to make a show or movie. And it’s not even hard to respect this creativity—at this point, there are literally dozens of ways to access content legally. Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, cable provider on demand services, HBOGO, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon streaming…the options are actually endless at this point. And if you’re stuck on where to locate a particular show or film, it’s easy to check out aggregator sites—  like Wheretowatch.com. By simplifying the search process, WTW allows consumers to find exactly what they are looking for exactly when they want it: it marries accessibility to content for customers with protection of the intellectual property for creators of the content.

Events like the Creativity Conference highlight the way that innovation is changing much about how we view the entertainment industry: there is more than what you see on the screen. And given the ease with which streaming options exist, especially for broadcast, cable and online TV, protecting and growing these innovations in content is easier than ever.

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About the author

Michelle Wein is a Trade Policy Analyst at ITIF, specializing in the connections between international trade, innovation, intellectual property and economic productivity.