The Digital Hollywood Experience

"The Conference that Defines the Future of the Industry"


Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

3:50 PM - 5:00 PM

Session A: Grand Ballroom (4th Floor)

Virtual Reality Transforms Media – TV, News, Sports & Music

Niko Chauls, Director Applied Technology, USA TODAY NETWORK

Dan Silver, Executive Producer of Digital, ABC News

Ken Todd, Vice President, Video Strategy & Emerging Platform Marketing, Showtime Networks

David Chavern, president and CEO, Newspaper Association of America

DJ Roller, co-founder, NextVR

Micah Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Filmfundr, Moderator


DAN SILVER, Executive Producer, ABC News Digital: Dan Silver was named Executive Producer for ABC News Digital in May 2015. In this role, Silver oversees ABC News’ entire digital editorial team. Silver has shepherded various new content initiatives since joining ABC News. He established the premium, ongoing digital short documentary brand ABC News Features, oversaw the bi-lingual digital production of Pope Francis’ “Virtual Audience” with the American people, and was integral to GMA's 40-hour live streaming marathon event 40 for 40. In September 2015 he spearheaded the launch of ABC News VR, an ongoing series that debuted with an immersive, 360-degree experience from inside Syria with ABC News’ Alexander Marquardt. Prior to ABC News, Silver was the Senior Director of Development at ESPN Films, where he worked on nearly every content format

conceivable including short-form, long-form, digital, broadcast and film. A multi Emmy-award winning producer, Silver was integral to the critically acclaimed documentary series 30 for 30, where he oversaw the development and production of such films as The Two Escobars, Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks, Once Brothers, Silly Little Game, and The Hawaiian. During his 8 years at ESPN, Silver managed the development and production of ESPN Films’ and Exit 31’ Emmy award winning short films series 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX Shorts, Errol Morris’ It’s Not Crazy It’s Sports, Eva Longoria’s Versus, Spike Lee’s Lil Joints, and’s two original short form documentary series, Signals and The Collectors. In addition, Silver was a regular contributor to, and ushered the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival through eight successful years. An active member of the Producers Guild of America, Silver graduated Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s in fine arts. He resides in in New York with his wife and two children.


David Chavern is president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, the industry’s largest trade organization. David joined NAA as president and CEO in October 2015. Chavern has built a career spanning 30 years in executive strategic and operational roles, and most recently completed a decade-long tenure at the United States Chamber of Commerce. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the President of the Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation at the Chamber. He established the center, which is the first U.S. Chamber office focused solely on technology and innovation, and led a research and outreach program which was dedicated to the economic power of data-driven innovation. From 2007 through 2014, Chavern was the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and long-term planning for the 500-person advocacy organization. Chavern helped to grow total revenues by 60 percent, and successfully guided the organization through intense scrutiny from both the media and activists. He also managed revenue growth and expense reductions, and ended the 2013 fiscal year with the best financial performance in the Chamber’s 100-year history. Prior to that, Chavern served as a Vice President and Chief of Staff at the Chamber, offering strategic advice and guidance to the CEO and managing daily operations of the organization. Chavern is a member of the Board of Directors of Transamerica Insurance and also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of Humin. He is a founding investor in Starling Trust Sciences, LLC, a company that produces data analytics tools that allow companies to measure a wide range of cultural attributes about their internal operations. A proud alum, Chavern also serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. A 1987 graduate of Villanova University’s School of Law, Chavern went on to receive his MBA from Georgetown University in 2003. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Niko Chauls, Director Applied Technology, USA TODAY NETWORK: At Gannett Niko is responsible for applying emerging technologies to create experiential storytelling experiences. Virtual reality, 360 video, mixed reality and other immersive environments are his current playground. As International Programming Director at Microsoft he was responsible for coordinating global editorial initiatives across MSN in 50+ markets. Prior to that he was Director of Original Programming for MSN & Bing Video, responsible for strategy, development and production of original content franchises. He has worked for Time Warner, AOL and Netscape in various capacities but always at the nexus of journalism and web technologies. He is passionate about advancing the art and craft of storytelling, keeping chickens and small-batch bourbon.


DJ Roller, co-founder, NextVR: A co-founder of NextVR, DJ is an award winning producer, director and cinematographer for 3D & 2D IMAX films, feature and digital cinema films, television shows, documentaries, commercials and special effects.  His accomplishments include shooting the first live 3D sports broadcast (2007  NBA All-Stars game) and the first digital IMAX 3D live action film, featuring U2’s 3D concert in Argentina. DJ also developed the world’s first digital 3D underwater beam splitter camera system, capable of capturing 4K 3D imagery on land, underwater and in macro 3D. In 2000, he collaborated with Vince Pace on design and construction of the first 3D HD video cameras with James Cameron.  NextVR's VR platform will be accessible on every major virtual reality head-mounted display – including those by Oculus, Samsung, Sony, HTC and others – delivering unprecedented live and on-demand experiences in virtual reality. NextVR has proven its live broadcast platform with the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, CNN (the Democratic Presidential Debates) and Coldplay's Ghost Stories Virtual Reality Concert Experience.


Ken Todd is the Vice President of Video Strategy & Emerging Platform Marketing for Showtime Networks Inc.  In this position, Todd is responsible for the company’s promotional digital content distribution initiatives and partnerships with entertainment and video-sharing portals, including full episode sampling campaigns, as well as the strategic coordination promotional video across all platforms..  Todd is also responsible for the company’s marketing initiatives on emerging platforms, as well as the development of key mobile advertising initiatives.  In addition, he oversees metadata management for the company.  Previously, Todd was the Vice President of Digital Content Syndication & Mobile Development. In December 2015, the company released the first ever boxing match, the WBA Middleweight World Championship, in its entirety in 360 degree virtual reality, and released additional multicamera VR video in January 2016 from the WBC World Heavyweight Championship.  The boxing VR content was distributed broadly across YouTube, Facebook, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Video and the Littlstar distribution platform.  Other accomplishments include the SHOWTIME Sync app, a second screen companion to SHOWTIME which was nominated for an Emmy® for Outstanding Interactive Program in 2013, a Webby Award in 2014, and also won the 2012 CTAM Sync-to-Screen Competition and a 2013 Key Art Award from The Hollywood Reporter.  Its predecessor, the Showtime Social app for iPad, won the 2012 Webby Award for Integrated Mobile Experience.  The company’s interactive mobile advertising initiatives have also garnered industry recognition, with mobile campaigns for the RAY DONOVAN and PENNY DREADFULwinning Interactive Advertising Bureau MIXX Awards in 2014 and 2015, as well as awards from the Mobile Marketing Association and the Online Media, Marketing and Advertising Awards. The company’s mobile advertising for the fourth season of HOMELAND, featuring a trailer enhanced with tactile effects, was named 2014 Mobile Campaign of the Year by Mobile Marketer. Todd is a member of the Interactive Media Peer Group Executive Committee of the Television Academy and was named to the CableFAX Digital Hot List in 2013, 2014 and 2015.  Todd received his M.B.A. in Marketing and Corporate Strategy from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and his B.A. degree in Economics and International Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  He works in the company's New York headquarters.


Micah Brown is CEO of Filmfundr, a company dedicated to articulating the value of independent film and enabling student and minority filmmakers to access the capital they need to create great art, in tandem with the mobile and digital enabled content delivery revolution. Demonstrating great skill diversity prior to founding his startup, Micah worked as a senior level technology consultant in the insurance industry and has worked in commercial, retail and investment Banking and Media.