Is it August already?

One GW man’s reflections on the 39th Annual UCLA Law School’s Entertainment Symposium.
August 26, 2015

By Alex Gorelik

I don’t know what it is, but something about writing this post feels a little overdue. That being said, I wanted to briefly share some of the things that I learned from attending the UCLA’s Annual Entertainment Law Symposium in March of this year.

Also, I am still trying to work out a good idea for my next post, so this is as good as it gets…

I hopped off the plane at LAX, with a dream and my cardigan and Saif (the other IPEL blog editor).

Naturally, I was excited. Los Angeles! We were ready. And soon enough, there we were – at the Symposium itself.

The headline theme of this year was Over-the-Top (OTT) Entertainment, or more simply internet delivered media. Think of Hulu, YouTube and whatever else you watch outside of the “regular” format of television. It’s not tough to imagine, but with the world transitioning to these newer and at times more convenient forms of entertainment, the legal players of the film and TV industry are being impacted alongside with everyone else. Moreover, as the first speaker, Mr. Tom Wolzien, an entertainment industry consultant noted, OTT is likely here to stay.

What does that mean for the industry, the talent and the content owners? The answer is that it is perhaps still too early to tell. As a number of legal panels switched out on stage, many of the speakers discussed the ways in which their practice and respective side of the table was still adjusting to the changes. A number of commonalities however were definitely evident.

OTT talent is becoming increasingly prevalent and attracts substantial demand rivaling the personas of the more traditional media formats. The stars themselves as well as the audience are often younger and often appeal to a very particular interest group. The content owners and the big media brands have certainly taken notice and have acted to incorporate “internet stars” into their own previously existing as well as original programming. The amount of licensing partnerships, mergers and acquisitions and other agreements between the two sides have definitely grown.

Consequently, new forms of contracts, negotiations and of course problems have now become the norm in legal offices across LA. Learning about them and OTT in general can only help. I plan on starting with a movie on Netflix, right after this. Feel free to do the same.