CES Wednesday: Music And Tech, Netflix Everywhere, And The FCC Stops By
January 6, 2016 at 2:45 PM (PT)
By PERRY MICHAEL SIMON in LAS VEGAS: The first official day of INTERNATIONAL CES in LAS VEGAS WEDNESDAY (1/6) sported a schedule featuring the Chairman and three Commissioners of the FCC, keynotes by the heads of NETFLIX and GM, and a panel with representatives from the music industry.
FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER chatted with the CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION's GARY SHAPIRO in a midday session and addressed issues like the court case over Title II regulation of the Internet (to SHAPIRO's comment that the judges seem skeptical about the Commission's process, WHEELER retorted "the refuge for not liking a decision is to complain about the process" and voiced confidence that the Commission will prevail), privacy (WHEELER stressed that the Commission would not extend its authority over "edge providers"), accessibility ("needs to be a forethought, not an afterthought"), regulatory approach to public policy (WHEELER stressing "competition, competition, competition"), and other topics.
FCC commissioners MIGNON CLYBURN, JESSICA ROSENWORCEL, AJIT PAI, and MIKE O'RIELLY appeared together on a panel WEDNESDAY afternoon, discussing the television spectrum auction, net neutrality (PAI complaining that the topic has been a distraction for Commission resources), and accessibility (CLYBURN taking pride in the advances made in that regard but encountering resistance from O'RIELLY when she extended the conversation to providing broadband to low-income households, ROSENWORCEL adding that the accessibiity rules need to be continually revised to reflect technological advances).
ROSENWORCEL raised the issue of the "homework gap," or the need for broadband access for students, and O'RIELLY shared the concerns he voiced in his TUESDAY blog post about "regulation by citation" in the case of a telecommunications company that was fined before being notified of a possible violation, learning about its liability after the fact and in a Commission press release. Referring to WHEELER's comment on process in the earlier session, O'RIELLY countered, "You can do good deeds and have bad process at the same time," noting his own activities aimed at process reform. And PAI, touting the "democratization of entrepreneurship," cited "Star Wars" ("can you feel the Force?") and called for more competition and more choices in broadband for all households.
A panel on how the music industry is adapting to technological innovation included a NASHVILLE contingent, BIG MACHINE LABEL GROUP COO ANDREW KAUTZ, WARNER/CHAPPELL MUSIC NASHVILLE EVP BEN VAUGHN, and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP NASHVILLE VP, Digital Marketing DAWN GATES, alongside CABLELABS SVP JENNIFER CISTOLA, CONNECTED VEHICLE TRADE ASSOCIATION Pres. SCOTT MCCORMICK, and the MIDDLE TENNESSEE ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORP.'s Chief Cooperative Business Officer BRAD GIBSON. After moderator JULIET SHAVIT of SMARTMARK COMMUNICATIONS introduced results of a poll asking where consumers thought they'd be getting their music in the future, mostly from their wireless providers but including automakers, TV, and even "through my thermostat," the panel explained how each of their businesses uses digital technology and how the music industry and technology business can cooperate.
NETFLIX' REED HASTINGS gave a keynote address at the VENETIAN in the morning, touting a "global revolution" in television and celebrating the addition of AZERBAIJAN, VIETNAM, INDIA, NIGERIA, POLAND, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, SINGAPORE, SOUTH KOREA, TURKEY, INDONESIA, and 130 other countries, with CHINA the primary omission (although he said the company is hopeful for a breakthrough there as well). He was joined by Chief Content Officer TED SARANDOS, who offered previews of the service's new series "THE CROWN," with former DOCTOR WHO star MATT SMITH, BAZ LUHRMANN's "THE GET DOWN," and CHELSEA HANDLER's "CHELSEA DOES" (with HANDLER appearing on stage interviewing WILL ARNETT ("BOJACK HORSEMAN"), KRYSTEN RITTER ("JESSICA JONES"), and WAGNER MOURA ("NARCOS"), and alluded to how data collected by the service has played into programming development.
GENERAL MOTORS CEO MARY BARRA did what the company signaled that she would do at her CES keynote, unveiling the new CHEVROLET Bolt, an all-electric car that will retail for under $30,000 and will compete with TESLA's upcoming Model 3. BARRA's talk focused on connected cars, noting her company's success in selling cars with 4G LTE connectivity, and electric and hybrid vehicles. BARRA also took a shot at TESLA by stressing GM's dealer network and noting that buyers would never have to worry about having to go to another state to buy the car, a reference to TESLA's battles with state regulators over the legal implications of direct-to-consumer sales. The new model will offer both APPLE CarPlay and Android Auto as well as an CHEVY app that controls several functions for the vehicle.