State of Entertainment Industry Highlighted at Hollywood Chamber Conference

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November 26, 2017

“The State of the Stream” was one of the key topics of the Hollywood Chamber’s sixth annual State of the Entertainment Industry Conference which focused on the rapidly evolving industry. This is the one conference that highlights the importance of the entertainment industry to our local economy,” said Leron Gubler, President & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “With the rapid changes in the industry due to technology, we want to keep the public informed on what this means for our communities.” 

This year’s conference once again took place at the Loews Hotel Hollywood on November 30th. Susanne Ault of Variety and Kristin Cavanaugh of Sony Pictures Entertainment were the co-chairs of the half-day conference. Television producer Vin Di Bona returned in his role as emcee for the sixth consecutive year. 

From left: Vin Di Bona, Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, Leron Gubler, Donelle Dadigan, Steve Levitan, Jeff Zarrinnam, Kevin James at the 2017 State of the Entertainment Industry Conference. Photo by Lionel Hahn

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell of Council District 13 presented greetings from the City of Los Angeles. California State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León delivered a keynote speech at the conference. De León was a key player in the approval of AB1839, the California tax credits bill that is credited with saving hundreds of local jobs. He is also a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In addition to De León, there was a discussion of the benefits of the California Film Tax Credits, with a conversation between Amy Lemisch, the Executive Director of the California Film Commission and Jim Whitaker, the producer of the new Disney movie, ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ which was filmed in California.

Music Industry Outlook was discussed by attorney Howard E. King, managing partner at King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP. King has broad experience in all facets of corporate, real estate, music and entertainment law, as well as complex business, real estate, banking, finance, and copyright and trademark litigation. Andrew Barker, Senior Features Writer at Variety steered the conversation which explored opportunities and challenges for today’s artists who are looking to succeed in a rapidly changing music industry.

As the growing ‘entertainment-on-demand’ audience continues to build a complex streaming economy, a new group of media power players are calling the shots. Their business strategies vary from subscription to ad-supported models, and the experiences are enhanced with user-generated content mixed with premium offerings across many platforms. In a crowded field, the streaming elite debated what’s next for this industry. Panelists included Eric Berger, Chief Digital Officer at Sony Pictures Television Networks and GM of Crackle; Erin McPherson, Head of Content Strategy, Acquisition and Programming, Verizon; Rachel Webber, Head of Digital Product, National Geographic; David Wells, CFO, Netflix. Andrew Wallenstein, Co-editor in Chief, Variety, moderated.

Philip Sokoloski, Vice President of Integrated Communications at FilmL.A., Inc. offered a brief on their inaugural FilmL.A. Soundstage Production Report. Kevin James, Director & Chief Liaison of the Mayor's Office of Film & Television Production talked about the filming industry.

During the event, Steve Levitan, Co-creator, Executive Producer of Modern Family was recognized with 2017 Commitment to California award. He was interviewed by Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, at Variety.

View more pictures from the 2017 State of the Entertainment Conference

A host of businesses supported and sponsored the conference. Sponsors included Variety as Presenting Sponsor, Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building as Platinum Sponsor, Netflix as Luncheon Sponsor. Breakfast Level sponsors included FilmL.A., Inc., Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, Loews Hollywood Hotel, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Trailer Park, Vin Di Bona Productions / FishBowl Worldwide Media. Gold Level sponsors included 20th Century Fox Television, City National Bank, Harman Press, Hudson Pacific Properties, Meruelo Media. Silver Level sponsors included AT&T, Belmont Village Hollywood Hills, California IATSE Council (CIC), Capitol Music Group, Comcast | NBCUniversal, Emerson College, First Entertainment Credit Union, Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Occidental Entertainment Group Holdings, Paramount Contractors & Developers, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, SAG-AFTRA, W Hollywood Hotel & Residences, and The Walt Disney Company.

About the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
For more than 96 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided leadership, business development resources, networking, and government affairs programs and services to keep the Hollywood business and residential communities safe, relevant and economically vital. Jeff Zarrinnam of Hollywood Hotel, is the Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2017-18, and Leron Gubler is the President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. For more information please visit

Hollywood Chamber, (323) 469-8311