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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MovieLabs launches technology challenge

I've got a piece in Variety today about a technology challenge announced this morning by MovieLabs, a joint venture of the six biggest movie studios. From the piece:

    The MovieLabs Technology Open Challenge, running through the end of September, will provide grants of up to $100,000 for technologists working on solutions to problems like improved security for Internet content, converting a single piece of digital content so that it can be played on various consumer devices, or developing a movie screen that works equally well for 3-D and 2-D projection.

    MovieLabs, based in Palo Alto, is a research-and-development group founded by the studios in 2005 with a $30 million bankroll. Silicon Valley tech veteran Steve Weinstein was hired to run the five-person group last July.

Here's more official detail.

When I spoke with Weinstein last week, I brought up the divide that has long existed between Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Weinstein said, "One of our missions [at MovieLabs] is to show that the studios are interested in figuring out YouTube and BitTorrent, and building that bridge. Silicon Valley and the consumer electronics industry and the movie and media industries have never figured out how to work together in an open way, other than at standards levels. Hopefully, we’ll help with that."

It's a telling detail that MovieLabs' headquarters are in Palo Alto (although they do have a satellite office in LA.)

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  • Telling indeed, but not surprising. Lots of cinema companies are feeding off of the technological juices of Northern California. Jaman comes to mind. And of course, a NorCal/Hollywood discussion wouldn't be complete without mention of YouTube.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood studios/companies started to prop satellite offices in Silicon Valley to start immersing themselves in the tech capital; heck, it'd be worthwhile if only to tap into how the YouTube generation operates.

    (Full disclosure: our company works with Memocast, a foreign films portal for ethnic communities, located in San Francisco.)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7:48 PM  

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