CES Reporter's Notebook: Blackout Becomes Big Opportunity for Brands

CES 2018 Blackout - Getty - H 2018
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It didn't take long after the lights went out inside the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday morning for brands to take advantage of the surprise power outage on Twitter. 

Companies whose booths no longer had working power were quick with the jokes. 

Sony blamed the blackout on its robot dog, Aibo. 


Meanwhile, Lenovo tweeted a callback to Oreo's tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl after the lights went out during Beyonce's performance.



And Intel weighed in, too. 



The lights went out inside the Central and South halls of the Convention Center at 11:15 a.m. It took nearly two hours for full service to be restored.

CES organizers released a statement later in the afternoon notifying attendees that the incident was caused by condensation from heavy rainfall, which caused one of the facility's transformers to short circuit.

#Oprah2020 Hits CES

Three days after Oprah gave a powerful speech at the Golden Globes that got Twitter abuzz with talk of a 2020 presidential run, the conversation came to CES during a panel with Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav. 

The media company is a co-owner of Oprah's OWN Channel. So when Zaslav sat down with LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff and MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan, it's no surprise that the first question was about #Oprah2020. 

Bourkoff asked Zaslav whether he would let Oprah out of her contract in order to run, and Zaslav responded, "Oprah is in charge of her own destiny."

Their conversation was followed by a wide-ranging discussion about the state of online video with A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl and MACRO founder Charles King. 

Movies Anywhere in Vegas

Hollywood execs were on hand at CES to promote the Movies Anywhere app that launched last fall.

The free app allows consumers to buy movies and then store them in a "digital locker," which they can access from supported devices. It launched in October with roughly 7,500 titles from Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment; as well as Walt Disney Studios, which includes films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. The entity also involves Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu.

In recent years, Disney had offered its own service (which is now folded into Movies Anywhere and on which Movies Anywhere is based) while the five other major studios — Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warners — supported UltraViolet, a similarly conceived service developed by Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem consortium. UltraViolet still exists, but its future is unclear.

Keith Feldman, president of worldwide Home Entertainment at Twentieth Century Fox, said future Fox titles would be available on Movies Anywhere, but didn’t commit to UltraViolet. He expressed more optimism about the potential of Movies Anywhere, citing consumer adoption.

There are now nearly 80 million movies in Movies Anywhere customer lockers, according to Movies Anywhere president Karin Gilford. The organization didn’t, however, reveal how many of those were already in the Disney service lockers, which were merged into Movies Anywhere.

Reps from the Movies Anywhere entity are in discussions with Paramount, the last major studio that hasn’t joined the initiative. Movies Anywhere is a Disney-owned entity that operates with input from an advisory committee made up of members from each of the participating studios.