MPAA Members Considering Major Restructuring (Report)

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MPAA CEO Christopher Dodd

In the wake of the Sony hacking scandal, the studio reportedly considered dropping out of the group.

The Motion Picture Association of America, which has long represented the major Hollywood movie distributors in Washington and around the world, is facing significant changes in the wake of the Sony hacking scandal and the rapidly changing business and technology environment surrounding the industry.

Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton was so unhappy about the MPAA's lack of a response to the hacking surrounding the movie The Interview late last year that he seriously considered pulling Sony out of the organization completely, according to a report Thursday in The New York Times.

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

Former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, who has headed the MPAA since 2011, told the Times that he is open to rethinking the organization's mission and structure: "I'm for that, completely."

The MPAA member companies besides Sony are Viacom/Paramount, Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox and Disney.

One suggestion is that the MPAA needs to expand to encompass TV as well as film.

The companies are also said to be unhappy with the more than $20 million annual cost to be a member, which is expected to rise to closer to $25 million soon.

Dodd was at the helm when the hacking scandal rocked Sony and was often slow to comment or declined to comment as things developed. Dodd admitted in January that he "should have been more vocal."

Still, in The New York Times story and in background interviews with key players in Hollywood, there doesn't seem to be a movement to unseat Dodd, whose contract runs for almost two more years.

However, everything from the MPAA's mandate to whether or not to sell the building it owns in Washington, D.C. is on the table in discussion now going on. The MPAA board next meets in June, but discussions do not necessarily have to wait until then to result in changes.

 

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