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MPA Seminar Explores Rapid Growth of Online Screen Content at Tokyo International Film Festival

  • 22Oct 2013

TOKYO/SINGAPORE: On October 21, UNIJAPAN and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), with support from the Embassy of the United States of America and the Federation of Japanese Films Industry (FJFI), jointly organized a seminar to explore the rapid growth of legitimate online screen content offerings.

Conducted as part of the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival 2013 and held at Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, the event featured distinguished speakers including Michael C. Ellis, President and Managing Director, Asia‐Pacific Region, MPA; Yasushi Shiina, Director General, Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF); Kurt Tong, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy; and Shigenori Taguchi, Counselor, Secretariat of Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters, Cabinet Secretariat, and attracted a capacity audience of filmmakers, online video executives, government and Embassy representatives, and film festival goers.

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In a two-part keynote speech, Michael P. O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs, Motion Picture Association of America, and Ira Deutchman, Managing Partner of Emerging Pictures, Professor of Professional Practice in the School of the Arts, Columbia University, and Chair of the Film Program, highlighted the ongoing innovations and technological developments that are transforming the world of film and television. In an increasingly connected world, people now are able to watch movies and television shows in more ways and on more devices than ever before.

Speaking first, Michael P. O’Leary said, “The growth of online distribution is dramatically expanding the choices available both to distribute and to watch great content. Legitimate online distribution models not only help make sure that talented people who create films and television are compensated for their work, but also create employment and contribute to the entire process of film and television production. Without doubt, the power of new distribution models will change the way we make, and experience, stories on film and television. For those of us who love films and television, I think these are very promising times for the industry and our audience, in Japan and around the world.”

Ira Deutchman followed with his reflections on how video “curators” are helping audiences make choices of the screen content they wish to see from the vast quantity of legal options available to them via Video On Demand, Subscription, Download To Own, Pay Per View and other services.

“More and more, audiences are served by new model curators like opinion aggregators and computer algorithms. New technologies have altered our viewing experiences. We now have so much available content online that we are looking for guidance on the best way to access the content that appeals to us. I think curators will be the distributors of the future – and it will be fascinating to watch this space. ”

The keynote remarks were followed by a panel discussion on developing the online viewing experience for audiences, moderated by Tomohiro Tohyama, Attorney – at – law, Partner, TMI Associates. The panel featured representatives from some of the leading online video companies in Japan, including Seiji Sugimoto, President, Niwango, Buddy Marini, Managing Director, Hulu Japan and Yoshihiko Kamiya, Executive Secretary, GyaO Corporation. Visiting guest panelist Zhu Huilong, Senior Vice President, Youku Tudou, rounded out the panel by providing a perspective from the highly-developed Chinese online video sector.

The panelists shared an overwhelming positive approach to the opportunities for online video business to meet the expectations of audiences on the Internet. “In Japan,” said Seiji Sugimoto, President of Niwango, the operator of popular video hosting website Niconico, “Internet literacy has evolved and paying for content is now ‘cool’. As content distributors we should promote this, and help people find the legitimate content they are looking for.”

This seminar is the second event MPA has jointly organized during TIFF. On October 20, the MPA partnered with Digital Hollywood University in the MPA DHU Film Workshop, a one day masterclass, script mentoring session and feature film pitch competition designed for talented emerging filmmakers in Japan.

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For more information, please contact

Stephen Jenner
MPA Asia-Pacific
(65) 6253 1033

June Tan
MPA Asia-Pacific
(65) 6253 1033

About the MPA: Promoting & Protecting Screen Communities in Asia Pacific

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Motion Picture Association International (MPA-I) represent the interests of the six international producers and distributors of filmed entertainment. To do so, they promote and protect the intellectual property rights of these companies and conduct public awareness programs to highlight to movie fans around the world the importance of content protection. These activities have helped to transform entire markets benefiting film and television industries in each country including foreign and local filmmakers alike.

The organizations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) which include; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The MPA and the MPA-I have worldwide operations which are directed from their head offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. and overseen in the Asia Pacific by a team based in Singapore. For more information about the MPA, please visit www.mpa-i.org.