CinemaCon: MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Plugs "Where to Watch" Initiative

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Chris Dodd

The top Hollywood lobbyist and former U.S. senator spoke Tuesday to theater owners in Las Vegas.

Motion Picture Association of America chief Chris Dodd is urging theater owners and their customers to support an initiative allowing consumers to legitimately find out where to watch movies both in cinemas and online.

Speaking at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Dodd touted WhereToWatch.com, the MPAA’s one-stop search tool that makes it easier for consumers to find content online or in theaters. The site was launched in November.

“We believe WhereToWatch.com is an important opportunity for our industry to directly engage with your customers and, at the same time, support creators by driving audiences to legal sources of content — both in your movie theaters and online," said Dodd.

The top lobbyist for the major Hollywood studios continued: “On a broader level, this effort is also a crucial recognition of the changing technological landscape and the need to continue evolving to meet the demands of our consumers. That will mean finding new ways to enable audiences to see movies where and how they want, while maintaining the magic and unrivaled appeal of the theatergoing experience that has been this industry’s driving force for well over a century.”

Dodd's annual speech at CinemaCon was relatively brief and didn't address either theatrical windows or the hacking of Sony. Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton was so unhappy about the MPAA's lack of a response to the hacking and controversy surrounding the movie The Interview late last year that he had seriously considered pulling Sony out of the organization completely.

Lynton changed his mind last month, but his complaints about the MPAA's slow response to the hacking now has opened the door to a top-to-bottom re-examination of the 93-year-old organization.

Dodd, who has headed the MPAA since 2011, has said previously he should have done more on behalf of Sony.

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