Chris Dodd meets with his new industry


Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) is now the present Chairman/CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, and has been in Las Vegas to meet with the industry. He says the biz is great at marketing movies, and that they’ll have to learn to do the same thing for themselves in Washington.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Dodd is aware that the biggest issue facing the studios at the moment is piracy in its many and various forms.

However, he also said the movie business has an image problem on Capitol Hill, noting that what legislators see are fancy clothes and red carpets. He said a better job has to be done tying movies to – well, jobs. It’s not just movie stars who are employed in the service of movies – some 2.5M are said to be employed at one level or another.

Dodd is suggesting that local movie theater owners open their facilities during the day for public events at which a local legislator can meet all those who make a living in the business. That would include theater employees and people who work at the local video store.

He said improving the industry’s profile on the Hill will be a top priority.

RBR-TVBR observation: Dodd was hired not because of his movie expertise. It was because of his Washington expertise. It will be interesting watching how steep his learning curve is, since broadcasters are often in the same situation regarding their Washington representation.

For example, it doesn’t take very much time to shoot holes in the legislator/theater visit idea. For starters, while an average local theater might get access to a politician at the state or local level, we think it would be hard to attract federal legislators on any consistent basis.

And the fact that Dodd mentioned the local video store is interesting. If he attended a meeting where we live, he’d be in a room with kids who scoop out popcorn, along with those big red machines that dispense movies at a buck a pop. The last surviving video store around here shut down last year.

Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that our local theaters provide opportunities to make a little extra cash, mostly for kids and for some adults as well, and also provides an ownership and/or management opportunity for somebody – but we doubt that it is a major economic driver in our community.

According to the HR account, Dodd was working hard to make sure that his educational period is brief. We wish him well in that endeavor and hope to have him as an ally on those occasions where movie and broadcast interests intersect.