Disney/ABC's Vince Roberts Honored at ETC's Studio Technology Leaders Dinner

"The future is very bright," Roberts said, accepting the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award.
Bob D'Amico/ABC

It's "really important" to ask the question, "What if?," said Vince Roberts, Disney/ABC Television Group executive vp global operations and CTO, accepting the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award from the Entertainment Technology Center at USC (ETC). "'What if?' will drive the value of our industry."

"We have a myriad of workflows in our industry that are being reinvented," Roberts said during the presentation on Thursday at the ETC's Studio Technology Leaders dinner at USC's Town and Gown. He cited ETC initiatives to explore areas from virtual production in the cloud to virtual reality production. "I believe the future is very bright," he said, urging those in attendance to "maintain our role as the finest creators of entertainment in the world."

The much-admired exec said he's been "blessed to be part of a company that believes in the magic of innovation. It's about telling stories and we are there to enable how stories are being told."

He thanked numerous colleagues, including Anne Sweeney, who was in attendance, who gave his team "the freedom to fail and the freedom to succeed." He said, "This award isn't about me. It's about a team of people that I work with."

Roberts and his team led development of cloud-based and file-based workflows supporting both linear broadcast operations and digital media delivery. Their TV everywhere WATCH apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times and have garnered more than 3 billion views. With WATCH ABC, they offered a 24-hour live stream of local, national and syndicated programming. Most recently, they announced plans to transition to an all IP-based master control for linear broadcast operations.

Calling Roberts the "king of virtual," Ken Williams, CEO and executive director of ETC, presented the award.

The event was attended by a who's who of Hollywood's technology leaders, including Wendy Aylsworth, senior vp technology at Warner Bros.; Craig German, executive vp worldwide technical operations at Paramount; Arjun Ramamurthy, vp technology at Fox; Spencer Stephens, CTO at Sony Pictures; Jamie Voris, CTO at Disney; and Michael Wise, CTO at Universal.

ETC is a non-profit research center at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. The Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award is named in memory of Bob Lambert, a longtime Disney executive, former ETC chairman and technology pioneer.

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