(as of September 26, subject to change)

8 a.m.: Registration
9 a.m.: HITS Conference Sessions
11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Morning Innovation and Technology Showcases (Breakout Sessions)
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.: Networking Lunch
1:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: HITS Conference Sessions
3:30 – 4 p.m.: Networking Break / SoCal Registration Opens
4 – 6 p.m.: SoCal Women’s Leadership Summit
6 – 7 p.m. p.m.: Networking Reception

8:30 – 9 a.m.
MESA 2020 Introduction
Guy Finley, President, MESA

9 – 9:10 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Guy Finley, President, MESA

9:10 – 9:15 a.m.
Conference Welcome Remarks
Darren Seidel, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Entertainment Partners

9:15 – 9:45 a.m.
Setting the Stage (for our IT Future)
Our opening session sets up the day’s proceedings with a CIO discussion that addresses the challenges our industry faces at the dawn of a new decade of content production and distribution. How does our business model evolve as we look beyond packaged media to subscriber acquisition and retention? What impact will “Binge Production” have on our existing systems and what mindset is required to harness the learning acquired through years of a stable, format-based product roadmap. Accentuating the theme of “Tech Takes Talent”, and the SoCal Women’s Leadership Summit in the afternoon, the conversation explores the continued transformation of the enterprise through executive talent, business unit transparency, as well as the critical exercise of technology integration and evolution.
Moderator: Guy Finley, President, MESA
Alex Grimwade, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Disney Television Studios
Theresa Miller, Chief Information Officer & Executive Vice President, Lionsgate

9:45 – 10 a.m.
Adjacent Problem Solving: Technology and the NYC Parking Predicament
On the surface it is easy to assume that by going paperless, the major wins will be ecological in nature and deliver increased efficiency. But digitization of the production process means far more than the elimination of paper. Beyond the additional benefits of minimized risk and integrated data flows, savvy users are finding a host of ways to use EP’s SmartStudio to solve other problems. When faced with ongoing challenges regarding one of New York’s great production headaches, Executives turned to a mobile time capture solution to save the day.
Melissa Lintinger, Senior Vice President, Production Finance, NBCUniversal Media
Interviewed by: Joe Francis, Field Operations Effectiveness Advisor, TPG Capital

10 – 10:30 a.m.
MORNING KEYNOTE – A Seamless World: an Augmented and Intelligent Form of Communication
In our changing, dynamic work and living environments, “life” (in case you haven’t noticed) is wired differently. In the era where information is power, your education and career path have more relevance than ever into your “identity” as an individual and the communities you engage. The tools that fuel your information gathering “life” are constantly evolving as new technologies impact your individual approach to data and learning. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of these tools and we are at the dawn of a new marketplace for AR as both a storytelling and information gathering tool. Our Morning Keynote discusses the future of AR and the impact this emerging technology will have on us both as individuals and in our business roles within Media & Entertainment.
Cheryl Bayer, Chief Executive Officer, Living Popups

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
How a Powerhouse Utilizes Market Intelligence
The major talent & literary agencies need for market intelligence has evolved as their businesses have grown in scope and sophistication. They have long been a nexus of deal making, but the importance of seeing their deals in the context of a broader environment has never been more important. Very fast awareness of opportunities is fundamental to success at today’s powerhouse agencies. Beyond high level accuracy, agencies require partners that are as nimble and fast as they are to capture opportunities as they occur. This session discusses the importance of market intelligence across agencies and the broader entertainment market.
Mark Hoebich, President, Variety Business Intelligence
Eric Iverson, Chief Information Officer, Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

10:45 – 11 a.m.
Morning Technology Showcase Introductions
Guy Finley, President, MESA

11 – 11:15 a.m.

11:15- 12:30 p.m.
(Multi-Track, Breakout Sessions)
Industry experts share innovative ideas, processes, or perspectives in an interactive and intimate way with the audience who are free to choose which topic/area they find most interesting. Sessions will address key areas on four separate tracks:


11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Protecting User Identities
Increasing digitization is critical, but it also brings greater risk to everyone involved in production. How do you advance technological capabilities while at the same time minimizing risk? Learn how EP’s suite of products help clients protect user identities, help studios stay in compliance and help productions remain secure. f
Darren Ehlers, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Entertainment Partners
Martin Mazor, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Entertainment Partners


11:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Content Protection and Moderation: When Sharing is Second Nature, How do you Safeguard High-Value, Copyrighted Content?
In an increasingly hyper-connected world, media companies need to protect their content from standards violations and piracy. With digital solutions powered by AI and automation, you can reinforce your fight against infringements and maintain content standards. Join this session to hear how leading organizations are using digital technologies to protect and strengthen their brand, IP, and reputations while minimizing lost revenues. And take away best practices on how to embed smart workflows and AI into your content operations so you can detect violations sooner and address the root causes faster.
Moderator: Maninder Singh, Vice President, Media and Entertainment Business Lead, Genpact
Mike O’Donoghue, Vice President, Digital Automation, Genpact
Pradeep Ramasamy, Vice President, Head of Trust & Safety Practice, Genpact

12 – 12:30 p.m.
Vulnerability Landscape 2019 – Hocus Pocus Refocus
Vulnerability Management can be seen as one of the basic tenants of a security function in any organization. While supposedly basic, given the increasing frequency of data breaches, managing vulnerabilities across an organization can seem daunting, even futile. How organizations approach vulnerability management in the past simply does not cut it with today’s technology stack and development methodologies. By analyzing real-life vulnerability data, we will discuss some of the common themes that seem to persist and look at some actions we could take. We will find that by refocusing on more rudimentary elements, could lead to marked improvements in our overall security posture.
Rahim Jina, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, Edgescan


11:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Data Licensing and Business Solutions from the Entertainment Authority
This session discusses how WarnerMedia, Netflix, Disney, among others are utilizing rich, contextual entertainment metadata to drive innovation and growth. Get the scoop on how entertainment companies are utilizing advanced data and insights in today’s growing, shifting marketplace.
Carolyn Finger, Senior Vice President and Head of Research, Variety Business Intelligence
Mark Hoebich, President, Variety Business Intelligence

12 – 12:30 p.m.
You’re Doing it Wrong! Why Data Governance Currently Sucks and What You Can Do About It
Getting value from your data is a top priority for entertainment companies. This means getting into some of the very hard parts of the data landscape including bringing data of all kinds (metadata, product data, usage and more) together, and more importantly, knowing where that data came from and how you can use. This calls for data governance – something many organizations have difficulty delivering effectively. Speaker Tim Padilla, first with his work at Warner Bros. and then as a consultant to the industry, has helped organizations take a different approach and actually deliver that value. This session will cover the many traps awaiting you as you try to put your data into action and how leaders in entertainment have turned the tables on traditional data governance to add velocity to their initiatives and deliver true value at scale with effective data governance.
Tim Padilla, Director, Consulting West, MarkLogic


11:15 – 11:45 a.m.
How to Create an Agile Digital Workplace with Your Existing Investment in O365
The Media and Entertainment industry demands creativity and agility. You need your teams to be productive and engaged. You also want to centralize and secure information across the organization, while also harnessing a creative and collaborative culture. Are you leveraging your existing Microsoft Office 365 investment to create a digital workplace experience that supports your specific requirements? This session will provide you with real business use cases from Media and Entertainment organizations that have been able to create an agile digital workplace by leveraging Microsoft Office 365. We will walk you through practical examples of common challenges in your industry, and how these can be resolved with your existing Microsoft technology. This session will also include a LiveTiles product demo to show you how quickly you can implement some of these changes in your business.
David Salter, Director Technology Solutions & Innovation, LiveTiles
12 – 12:30 p.m.
Real-time Insights at Your Fingertips: A Better Way to Assess Content Value
How can a studio improve productivity and content success? By combining industry-leading data with AI based analytics and placing it at the user’s fingertips via an easy to use, cloud-based project management system, Cinelytic reduces executive’s time spent on low-value, repetitive tasks and instead focuses on generating valuable insights for packaging, green-lighting and distribution decisions in real-time. CEO Tobias Queisser will take attendees through a live demonstration of the system by running real-time talent and content evaluation scenarios based on current films showcasing the power of the platform.
Tobias Queisser, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cinelytic

12:30 – 1:45 p.m.

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.
KEYNOTE CONVERSATION: When is Good Enough, not Good Enough?
Content owners and production facilities worldwide are engaged in robust discussions about emerging technologies, design consultation and/or campus infrastructure to meet current standards and proposed industry best practices. Our Keynote addresses the commonly overlooked physical production environment which is the backbone to the productivity and the reliability of our business. In mission critical environments, such as mastering and broadcast, technology requirements must be met to deliver content to and from the production facilities and/or the data center. Whether you are an all-cloud facility, an internal on-prem data center, or a hybrid of the two, this presentation will visit the responsibilities the facility will face with regard to digital creation and distribution infrastructure. The presentation addresses the need for long term evolution planning in an agile environment within the production and post-production creative spaces and also explores the history, current trends and forecasts of how the telecommunications industry relates to media and entertainment facilities by dealing with growing data sets and the infrastructure needed to meet these deliverables.
Sean Tajkowski, Technical Design & Planning Consultant

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
Ad Sales and Ad Buy in the Spotlight: Boost Customer Experience and Revenues With Digital Technologies
Regardless of whether your ad sales are linear, digital, direct response, or over the air, your processes probably depend on a number of systems and applications. This complexity can often cause errors and result in lost revenue. Digital technologies, such as robotics, AI, and smart workflows, can have a tremendous impact. By streamlining steps and eliminating mistakes, they can enhance the customer experience and boost company revenues. In this fireside chat, our speakers will share their experiences in embedding digital within this space. Hear how they are transforming both media buying and selling, the impact they are generating, and their vision for the future.
Moderator: Brajesh Jha, Global Head, Media and Entertainment, Genpact
Jasmine Ahmed, Senior Vice President, Global Media Business Transformation, Dentsu Aegis Network
Das Dasgupta, Ph.D., Corporate Senior Vice President, Head of Data Science and Automation, Viacom

2:30 – 2:50 p.m.
Fusing Art & Technology: Empowering Innovative Television Programming
Technology continues to pull TV viewers away from the living room, emphasizing individualized consumption, which creates an experience of watching alone, together. To take viewers beyond the limits of this passive silo requires immersive, experiential, emotionally-evocative content informed by analytic data. However, to create something that truly resonates beyond the novelty of any new technology or a safe bet informed by data-viewing trends, requires a clear focus on what storytelling has always been about – the human experience characterized by unexpected events and the frailties and strengths of people. Data and technology alone can miss this target. Success requires the deep fusion of storytellers with technologists. By mapping advancements in technological know-how to the delightfully surprising taste-making of writers, producers and directors, TV programming as we know it can take an unfathomable leap forward.
Chris Jones, Co-Founder, Chop Wood, Carry Balloons
Chris Thomes, Vice President, Marketing Strategy, ABC Studios and Governor, Interactive Media, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Alejandro Trevino, Co-Executive Producer, Confetti MX

2:50 – 3:10 p.m.
Metadata Moonshot: A True AI Approach
The M&E industry’s initial forays into using machine learning for metadata extraction have been conclusive but the capabilities deployed still lag behind the state of the art of machine intelligence. The ETC has embarked on an ambitious research and development project to leverage the most cutting edge AI methods to push metadata extraction to its extreme and generate a real “machine language” for media content. The “Vid2Vec” Project aims at extracting dozens of structured metadata attributes from audio, script and video, and embed them in a two-dimensional feature space where these features can be indexed and compared to one another across titles, scenes, and even frames. This session provides an overview of the foundational approach for a machine-based “grammar” of media content across dozens of visual, textual and audio attributes, which could have some extensive repercussions on media education, archiving, digital asset management, and content recommendations.
Yves Berquist, Program Director, AI & Neuroscience in Media, Entertainment Technology Center (ETC)

3:10 – 3:30 p.m.
Digital Innovation: People, Processes and Technology
In the age of digital transformation, companies are radically changing business and organizational activities to fully leverage technological advancements such as cloud, micro-services architecture, CI/CD pipelines to easily address scaling requirements. The key to a successful change is Digital Innovation, which refers to a sudden spark of creativity and inceptive actions that lead to implementing new technologies where people are the central element driving the Innovation. Insights will be provided for this transformation.
Shahin Mohammadkhani, Executive Director, Information Technology, Architecture, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Introduction by: Paul Gaffner, Vice President, Studio Services, Entertainment Partners

3:30 – 4 p.m.

4 – 4:15 p.m.
Welcome Remarks
Nadya Ichinomiya, Chairwoman, WiTH Foundation
Rachel Souder-Arguedas, President, WiTH Foundation

4:15 – 4:45 p.m.
WiTH Keynote: Resilience and Risk-Taking – Keys to Success
How can we inspire more women to take action that will ultimately advance themselves as individuals as well as the organization as a whole? According to the latest Women’s Leadership Study from KPMG, seven in ten women (69%) are open to taking small risks to further their career, but far fewer (43%) are open to taking the bigger risks associated with career advancement. In this keynote presentation, you will hear first-hand experiences from Susan O’Day about how resilience and risk-taking affected her path to success. Susan will be sharing her thoughts on how we can empower more women to consider smart risk-taking.
Susan O’Day, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Technology and Chief Information Officer, The Walt Disney Company

4:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Introduction: WiTH Foundation
Launched in 2014, Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH) has developed under the direction of a Steering Committee committed to fostering their 3-pillar approach to community engagement through local charities. Earlier this year the WiTH Foundation was formed as a non-profit corporation dedicated to the same. In this session you will meet the Board of Directors, Advisory Committee chairs and leaders who are organizing increased activity and individual reach through this vibrant group of technology executives. Learn how your company, employees and teams can participate to strengthen the WiTH voice within our industry.
Moderators: Nadya Ichinomiya, Chairwoman, WiTH Foundation
Rachel Souder-Arguedas, President, WiTH Foundation

Christina Aguilera, Head of Production Asset Management, Concentric Advisors
Denise Evans, Executive Vice President of Operations, FilmTrack

Professional Development
Nina Skorus-Neely, Vice President, WB Technology Client Solutions, Warner Bros. Entertainment Group of Companies
Karen Lane, Director, Business Technology & Workplace Solutions, Warner Bros. Entertainment

Nancy Baca, Director, Licensing Financial Systems, The Walt Disney Company
Cybill Miklaszewski, Director, Enterprise Infrastructure & Strategy, The Walt Disney Company

Nadya Ichinomiya, Executive Director, Enterprise Agile Coach, Sony Pictures Entertainment

5:15 – 5:45 p.m.
WiTH KEYNOTE: Overcoming Adversity Through the Lens of Diversity & Inclusion
Imagine struggling to say your own first name. Dealing with a debilitating stutter, Joze Piranian avoided speaking almost entirely out of the fear of being judged for being different. The mere act of having to introduce himself to others was terrifying. In business school, Joze asked his professors to exempt him from all of his presentations. In his inspiring and entertaining keynote, Joze shares his personal journey of transformation, from holding back immensely to performing on stages worldwide. He discusses how to confront adversity by taking full ownership of what makes us unique, repeatedly exposing ourselves to discomfort and leveraging fear as an impetus to action. The insights from this presentation enable the audience members to gain resilience, courage and perseverance to skyrocket their potential at work and beyond.
Joze Piranian, TEDx Speaker & Comedian

5:45 – 6 p.m.
Closing Remarks

6 – 7 p.m.

Register ‍


Other Events