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Digital Hollywood Events at CES
Monday, January 7th
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Session B – DH4 -
Digital Hollywood
User Generated Media, Social Networks and Traditional Media: Strategies in Content, Communications and Commerce
In the past year, the YouTube - MySpace - Facebook experience has revolutionized the world of entertainment, information and communications. The world of social communities, once thought to be a thing of the past has exploded and is once again on the front pages of our newspapers and magazines. There are web pages and web experiences for every human nuance and niche. Every family communicates through photo sharing and movie sharing websites. The blogging and social networking worlds have become the new "major media networks." In this session we will explore user generated media as a phenomenon, as a business and as a communications and entertainment medium.
Eyal Hertzog, founder, Metacafe
Ty Ahmad-Taylor, Vice President, Product Development, MTV Networks and Logo
Robert Blatt, Vice President, Personal Media Management, AOL
Adrian Sexton, Executive Vice President, Digital, Participant Productions
Peter Pham, Vice President, Business Development, Photobucket
Art Sindlinger, VP/Director, Starcom USA
Rick Bolander, Managing Partner, Gabriel Venture Partners, Moderator

Rick Bolander, co-founder, Gabriel Venture Partners - Rick sought to create a firm with a specific organizational structure and core competencies designed to achieve this goal of building the next generation of industry leaders by identifying the best entrepreneurs and working side by side with them to win. His strong venture capital record is a reflection of not only his effectiveness as a mentor, but also his ability to pick winning value propositions and market trends. Prior to co-founding Gabriel Venture Partners, Rick spent four years with Chicago-based Apex Investment Partners where he was a General Partner.

Eyal Hertzog, serial entrepreneur and founder, Metacafe - Prior to co-founding Metacafe, one of the world’s largest video entertainment sites, where he drives product innovation and content strategy, Hertzog co-founded Contact Networks in 1998, one of the first interpersonal, professional online networks. At Contact Networks, he was responsible for overall product strategy and technical architecture and managed strategic relationships with Nokia, GemPlus, Comverse and other large partners. Previously, he worked as an application marketing manager for serial networking startup Class Data Systems, which was acquired by Cisco. He serves as an advisor to several US and Israeli high-tech startups on strategy, product roadmaps and technology architecture, and worked with Israeli venture capital firm Millennium Capital Venture as an investment advisor. An accomplished musician, Hertzog plays bass guitar for Live Covers, a rock band that plays worldwide and has appeared on international television. He also studies psychology and practices windsurfing and snowboarding.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor, Vice President, Product Development, MTV Networks and Logo: Ty Ahmad-Taylor, Senior Director, Interactive Products, Comcast Cable: Ty Ahmad-Taylor began his career at the New York Times in their graphics department, working in National and International news. While there, he covered the Waco, TX standoff, the Los Angeles riots, the Gulf War, the Oklahoma City bombing and other large news events from a visual perspective, using schematics, databases and cartography. In 1995, his last year at the paper, he wrote articles on the emerging Internet, special effects in cinema, and the video game industry. From the Times he moved West to join the @Home Network. Ty became the Creative Director of @Home in 1997, and led their efforts to create next-generation portals for broadband and interactive television. After a year sabbatical in 2000, where he took cooking and French lessons, he returned to technology, working as the Chief Creative Architect for MetaTV, an iTV concern based in Mill Valley, CA, just north of San Francisco. While there, Ty generated user interface patents, and led the design of interactive television portals for Comcast, Cox, Echostar and other MSO and satellite operators. After working at Comcast Cable Corporation as the Director of Strategic Planning in their broadband group, where his mandate included devising and executing Comcast’s wireless (GPRS, UMTS and WiFi) strategy, and interactive content and applications. He was the Senior Director for Cross-platform applications at the company. His job duties encompassed applications that straddle distribution channels, such as search, games and music. He is currently the Vice President for Product Development at MTV Networks in New York City, working on their music websites as well as the infusion of online community throughout their properties. Ty has over 11 years of experience in designing for broadband, 10 years in interactive television, and 17 years in information design. He has lectured at Digital Hollywood, CES, Milia, AIGA conferences, HOW Design Conferences, Seybold Seminars, as well as the Poynter Institute for Journalism in St. Petersberg, Fla. Ty lives in New York City, though he is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Adrian Sexton, Executive Vice President, Digital, Participant Productions: Adrian Sexton joined Participant Productions, as Executive Vice President in charge of Digital, in January, 2007. He will oversee the company's expansion into global media, the production of new programs and digital distribution. Sexton most recently consulted with Participant on the DVD release of the Academy Award ® nominated documentary “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH,” Richard Linklater’s “FAST FOOD NATION” and “THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET.” Sexton comes to Participant from TAG Strategic, a digital media and entertainment agency he co-founded with EMI veteran and digital pioneer Ted Cohen. TAG’s diverse client roster has included Lionsgate, Eyespot, Qualcomm, Revver, Sandisk and LivePlanet. He continues his successful relationship with select TAG clients which are relevant to Participant’s strategic mandates. Before forming TAG, Sexton headed Digital Media at Lionsgate, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations, production, media planning and business development for digital and mobile properties. His duties encompassed theatrical, home entertainment, television, international and physical studios. He oversaw the digital campaigns for such movies as the Best Picture Academy Award ® -winning “CRASH,” Oscar ® -winning “MONSTER’S BALL,” as well as “FAHRENHEIT 9/11,” and the “MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION” and “SAW” franchises. A pioneer in the creation of studio blogs for emerging directors and audience participation, Sexton released the first MPAA-approved age-gates for online content, and negotiated an innovative digital cinema deal with BMW Films around Lionsgate titles “SHATTERED GLASS” and “THE COOLER.” Sexton identified multiple-platform marketing, distribution and sales opportunities for the studio’s 8000+ title film library in such high-growth markets as broadband, mobile, digital cinema, peer-to-peer and IPTV. Sexton also was part of the team which secured the $350 million credit facility involving the acquisition of Artisan Entertainment. A frequent media presenter, Sexton delivered the studio keynote at the Opening Forum of the 60th Anniversary of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, as well as keynotes at the 2006 Intel Viiv announcement in Tokyo and 2006 Forrester conference in Brazil. He is also an Advisory Committee Member for non-profit Film Independent and its Los Angeles Film Festival. Additionally, he is on the Interactive Media Peer Group Awards Committee for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and a new media council member of the Producers Guild of America. Prior to Lionsgate, Sexton was the New Media Director at Mediapact Capital, a media management and investment capital firm. His professional experience also includes work in television at Sony Pictures Entertainment with programs including “MAD ABOUT YOU,” “PARTY OF FIVE,” “THE KING OF QUEENS” and “DAWSON’S CREEK”; in production and development at HBO Pictures with "AND THE BAND PLAYED ON" and “THE LATE SHIFT”; and, at 20th Century Fox and Saban Entertainment. Sexton graduated with dual bachelor degrees in Government and English from Cornell University, and received his Masters from the University of Southern California as a Phi Kappa Phi fellow.

Peter Pham, Vice President, Business Development, Photobucket: Peter is Vice President of Business Development responsible for strategic business development, partnerships, and user growth. Peter has experience in business development and product with particular expertise around emerging technologies. Prior to PhotoBucket, Peter held various Director of Business Development positions at companies such as Tigi Corporation, a high performance storage platform based on solid state technologies; Vectant, a U.S. division of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni; and DesktopOnline. Peter has a BS in Biology and Minor in Business Management from the University of California, Irvine.

Art Sindlinger, VP/Media Director, Starcom USA: In the industry, good digital marketing is idealized as innovative, fully integrated and highly accountable. Art Sindlinger has the ability to make all three of these ideals a reality for clients of Starcom USA, a Chicago-based full-service media communications agency. His expertise in social networking and smart analytical thinking make him an excellent fit for his position, and his talent for competitive analysis, marketplace assessment and strategic frameworks has paved the way for some dynamic advertising media work. In his current role, Sindlinger helps shape how Starcom thinks about, approaches and effectively incorporates social media and gaming elements into captivating contact plans. His work also helps clients understand how social media dynamics and gaming culture impact their brand communication strategies on a daily basis. He has his hand in several key agency initiatives, such as thought leadership; media partner relationships and opportunities; consulting; strategy; and executional guidance and oversight. Prior to his current position, Sindlinger honed his digital skills as VP/IP director on the agency’s Miller Brewing Co. account and was previously the IP director on the Morgan Stanley/Discover Card business. Sindlinger’s propensity for leading by example has led to effective strategic efforts as he always proves and acts on his willingness to collaborate. In fact, he has worked on projects alongside parent company Publicis Groupe and such Publicis units as mobile unit Digits, digital production unit Pixel, gaming unit Play and Starcom’s Video Investment Group. Sindlinger received a B.A. in English from Boston College in 1992. He lives in the Edgewater Beach neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and their two dogs and enjoys traveling and photography in his free time.

Robert Blatt, Vice President and General Manager, Personal Media, AOL LLC: Robert Blatt, Vice President and General Manager of Personal Media oversees AOL products dedicated to helping users store, share, manage and create with personal media assets, including photos, videos and music. Robert is responsible for the company’s new personal media solution, BlueString; the premier online storage product, Xdrive; as well as AOL Pictures and AOL Greetings. Robert has played a key role in the growth of AOL’s personal media products. Joining the company in 2006 to oversee Xdrive, Robert leveraged the site's existing storage and media management capabilities to create BlueString, an all-in-one online destination offering a single location to preserve, access and share photos, videos and music for free. Originally launched into beta in September 2007, BlueString is the only free site that allows people to collaborate to create multimedia shows using digital media from multiple collections stored across the Web. In addition, Robert has overseen the growth of Xdrive and manages AOL Pictures and AOL Greetings. Prior to joining AOL, Robert spent more than 20 years developing, defining and marketing a variety of groundbreaking technology products. In his most recent position with Accruent Software, Robert worked to combine the technology assets of three acquired companies to develop software that would allow them to take a leadership position in the emerging Real Estate Performance Management market. Accruent was named “Developer of the Year” in 2006 by the Software Council of Southern California for these efforts.
Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science from Cornell University.