January 2018 Calendar of Global Media and Showbiz Industry Social Networking Events

Consumer Electronics Show

Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2018) is the annual Las Vegas trade show for consumer technology, and among industry observers, is known to be America’s largest annual tradeshow of its kind. CES is produced by the Consumer Technology Association, the trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry, and runs for six days starting January 7.

The Consumer Electronics Show is not open to the general public. Attending means being affiliated professionally with the consumer technology industry. CES in 2018 will feature three new show areas: Smart Cities, CES Sports Zone and Design and Source. High-definition video from CES is available for download on CESbroll.com. CES 2018 Media Days, featuring CES Unveiled Las Vegas, is a media-only preview of exhibitor product launches, a presentation of anticipated technology trends for 2018.

Samsung will have a presence at CES 2018
Samsung will have a strong presence at CES 2018

It happens over two days, from January 7-8, with exclusive news events from exhibitors. The annual press event draws more than 1,500 media entities from around the world and features the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Awards Honorees and tabletop displays from more than 100 local and global tech companies.


Brian Krzanich of Intel delivers the first Keynote Address on September 8 to open the keynote series. CES will field a lineup for the C Space keynote. Expect to hear from, A&E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, Comcast Cable President of Advertising Marcien Jenckes, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, LionTree LLC CEO Aryeh Bourkoff, PepsiCo Senior Vice President of Global Brand Development Kristin Patrick, MediaLink Chairman and CEO Michael E. Kassan and Vice Chairman Wenda Harris Millard, and YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl.

C Space

C Space relevant events at CES bring together innovators, marketers and creatives to discover disruptive trends and the future of brand marketing and entertainment through technology. Keynotes will explore how the business of content distribution is changing the landscape of the media, marketing, advertising and entertainment industries.

Other featured include, Dan Ackerman, CNET; Ty Ahmad-Taylor, Facebook; Amena Ali, Whisker Labs; Patrick Aluise, Moviebill; Ichiro Amimori, Xenoma; Molly Battin, Turner; Brian Benedik, Spotify; Chris Berend, CNN; Eric Berger, Sony Pictures Television Networks; Jenna Blaha, ELLE USA; Vera Blau-McCandliss, Square Panda Inc., and many others.

Although CES is positioned as a consumer electronics convention, its agenda and presentations has consequences into the show business industry and media creators involved with the industry.

Here are some scheduled events that can impact the media creators and producers of the show business/entertainment sector: VR-AR: Top Technology and Entertainment Companies, Gaming: The Killer AR/VR App, Leveraging Content and Celebrity for Cross Platforms, The Next Generation of OTT, Consumer Preferences for Personalized Content Viewing, Virtual Reality Transforms Media, The Latin Media Revolution, The Disruption of Internet TV: Programming Everywhere, Understanding AR and VR Content Challenges, Future of TV: From Primetime to Multi-Platforms, The Future of Fan Engagement, TV in the Age of Digital, News Conference – Smart Theater LLC, Social Media Transforms Entertainment Marketing, Headliner Conversation: Disney/ABC Television Group, The New Age of Hitmaking, Headliner Conversation: The Walking Dead, Reimagining Television: A Conversation With Hulu and Turner, Pitch Competition: Entertainment, Madison Avenue meets the Recording Studio, How AR, VR and AI Will Reshape Music, Gaming: 3 Rising Trends.

There are really more planned events than could be listed here Please refer to the CES website for the exact dates and times for more of these particular industry sessions.

Known for hosting vibrant industry parties and themed gatherings, and operating in a town that is known for showing its visitors a good time, here is a rundown of the parties scheduled for CES 2018. January 7: Unveiled Las Vegas, welcoming press and industry analysts. January 8: Startup Night Downtown Vegas; MediaLink CES Kick-off Party; C Space Party. January 9: Consumer Technology Association Member Party; CES Opening Party. January 10: Annual KAPi (Kids@Play Interactive) Awards; TechHome Mark of Excellence Awards; Leaders In Technology Dinner; January 11: Best of CES Awards; Entrepreneur’s Reception, presented by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA); January 12: CES Closing Party that goes late into the night.

VR Fest 2018

VR Fest 2018VR Fest 2018 (#VRFest2018) features various programs, screenings, panels and the unique VR Lounge Nightclub Exhibit which has been held at different locations on the Las Vegas strip including: Light Nightclub @ Mandalay Bay, Moon at Palms Casino, Hyde at the Bellagio, Omnia Nightclub inside Caesar’s Palace and Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM.

This year’s program is dedicated to Oceanic Conservation in support of the Extreme Tech Challenge non-profit initiative. In general, VR Fest is dedicated to stimulating innovations in the virtual entertainment industry that can perpetuate the art and science of the medium for content creators and consumer audiences alike. And this year VR Fest launches two new annual programs, XR Fest and AR Fest that includes new events relevant to their areas. Through its annual and touring festival programs, VR Fest will pay tribute to and honor the companies, technologists and content creators who totally involved in pioneering the future of virtual reality.

The VR Fest Award categories will include, Live Action Virtual Reality, Animated Virtual Reality, Games, and General Awards. It is a free competition that is open to anyone over the age of 18. Nominees compete for a chance to display their content at the Extreme Tech Challenge Finals on Sir Richard Branson’s private island in February 2018, plus a global distribution contract in addition.

The 2018 VR Fest Judges panel will include, Nanea Reeves, TRIPP; Ted Schilowitz, Paramount Pictures; Louisa Spring, SAMI/Vantage Point; Tom Hayes, Paramount Pictures; Iva Leon, VR Lab; Nitin Gupta, Ph.D, Google Daydream; Shannon Blake Gans, New Deal Studios, Ed Lantz, Vortex Immersion Media; Dulce Baerga, River Studios; Nathan Petty John, Aisle 411; Margie Jastrow, Technicolor; Greg Passmore, VR Media Tech.

VR Fest 2018 Opening Night Gala, January 9, with the VR Lounge happens at the OMNIA Nightclub in tandem with the CES Opening Night Party (requiring the CES convention badge). Following after the Las Vegas event, the VR Lounge tour launches globally to various destinations, moving next to Sir Richard Branson’s Private “Necker Island” where VIP guests become a featured part of the Extreme Tech Challenge Finals presented by ACI TAI non profit organization.

The very first VR Lounge debuted at Regal Cinemas LA Live in December 2013, and was produced by VR Fest. There will be a Closing Night Gala with the VR/AR Love Bus stationed in Downtown Las Vegas. VR Fest is not affiliated with CES which is an official trademark of the CEA.


NATPE, a U.S. based global content association focused on developing international markets and conferences for the entire spectrum of the technologically evolving content business, opens its Miami convention. The National Association of Television Program Executives (#NatpeMiami) has selected Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and host of Hearst Television’s political magazine show ‘Matter of Fact,’ Soledad O’Brien, to headline NATPE Miami with a keynote conversation set for, January 17.

The focus of the conversation will be in keeping with NATPE’s overall theme for the conference – A Changing Industry in a Changing World. The annual marketplace and conference will take place from January 16-18. Nine tracks for this year’s Conference will be presented: Brands and Advertisers, Music+Vision, Development, Deals and Data, Platforms and OTT, Scripted, Unscripted, Station Groups, Global and Latin America. The Opening Night Party will host a live performance by Elvis Crespo.

Another programming highlight is expected to be “Dear White People: A Deep Dive,” a full exploration on the critically-acclaimed Lionsgate-produced and Netflix-distributed ‘Dear White People,’ which received a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The panel will consist of Chris Selak, EVP and Head of Worldwide Scripted Television, Lionsgate, Justin Simien, Creator and Executive Producer, Yvette Lee Bowser, Executive Producer and Showrunner, and will be moderated by Mike Schneider, Executive Editor at IndieWire. Journalist, SiriusXM Host and Emmy Award winner Maria Menounos will host the 15th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards on January 17.

Joining the programming lineup for the first time this year will be the NATPE Streaming Summit, which will offer new perspective on current OTT (Over the Top Television) and the streaming landscape and its outlook for the future. Facebook’s Head of Global and Creative Strategy, Ricky Van Veen, will add his voice to the OTT conversation at NATPE Miami in a session breaking down what is in store for Facebook Watch, their new content platform. The programming throughout the Platforms and OTT track will mirror the mission laid out by the recently formed NATPE NXTGN Advisory Board to help the industry navigate emerging media.


NATPE MIAMI will present a mega-session on international production featuring Rola Bauer, Managing Director, Studiocanal TV, Jane Turton, CEO, All3Media, and Özge Bulut Maraşli, CEO, Kanal D, with more to be announced. A special ceremony is planned for the Unscripted Breakthrough Awards, honoring programs and celebrating people that broke through the clutter in the preceding year, as well as becoming part of the cultural conversation and generally altering the expectations of what constitutes a reality program. The winners will be announced during a special luncheon ceremony on January 16 during the NATPE Miami conference.

The Station Group Forum

The Station Group Forum comes back in 2018 and covers topics such as how ATSC 3.0 will change the business of broadcasting. An additional session titled OTT and Me: A Station Group Research Report, presented by PromaxBDA is also confirmed for the event. Other highlights from the Conference include a planned spotlight conversation with Roma Khanna who was recently named CEO, Revolt TV, as well as multiple sessions covering the topics of diversity, inclusion and empowerment. Panels include one on how innovative creators are engaging the LGBTQ community across multiple platforms and another on the business of inclusivity.

Set for the NATPE exhibition space, this year PactUK, with its stable of production companies, will join the ranks of participants. They will exhibit alongside additional international pavilions, which are seeing new exhibitors join their umbrellas. Pavilions being represented are from China (organized by Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation International), France (organized by TV France International), Spain (organized by ICEX), Korea (organized by KOCCA), Brazil (organized by BRAVI) and Argentina (organized by Argentina Audiovisual). On the closing day of NATPE MIAMI, Olympusat President and CEO Tom Mohler will deliver a Global Keynote.

2018 Sundance Film Festival

The theme for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival (#Sundance) is, New Frontier: Crossroads of Film, Art and Technology. Programming fare will encompass Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality Storytelling, Site-Specific Installations, Films and Live Performances. The festival now operates between three cities – Park City, Provo, and Salt Lake City, and operates between January 18-28.

Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. Originally founded by renowned film actor Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, the Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work through the annual festival and other programs it runs.

In addition to discovering new filmmaking talent through the Festival’s program of documentary, dramatic, and short films, festival goers experience live music performances, panel discussions with leading filmmakers and industry figures, cutting-edge media installations including VR/AR, parties celebrating the Festival community, and more.

Robert Redford at Sundance Film Festival
Robert Redford sitting in on a panel at the film festival he founded.

An Artist at the Table

This year’s Sundance Film Festival will have a program, An Artist at the Table, with well regarded performers/creators, being present and available for interaction during a premiere or special screening. At the festival opener on January 18, attendees at An Artist at the Table will view the world premiere of the Festival’s opening night film, ‘Blindspotting,’ directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada. The film was co-written by co-stars Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (Broadway musical Hamilton) and Rafael Casal.

Confirmed artists (at the time of this writing) to date include: Ava DuVernay, Rupert Everett, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jharrel Jerome, Octavia Spencer, Ezra Edelman, Gingger Shankar, Joe Swanberg, Jada Pinkett Smith, Luke Rothschild, Lisa Kron, Ritesh Batra, Chloe Sevigny, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Ruben Ostlund, Cherry Jones, Blake Jenner, Shirley Manson, Fenton Bailey, Dominique Fishback, Boots Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Michael Stuhlbarg, Shaadiin Tome, Morgan Neville, Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin, Marina Zenovich, Jeremiah Zagar, Billy Luther. This list will likely expand come festival-time.

Special artist initiatives

Special artist initiatives at Sundance Institute are Creative Distribution, that introduces online resources, live workshops, and a network of organizations to provide support and insights on creative funding, marketing, and distribution. The Creative Producing program is a year-round series of Labs, Fellowships, granting and events focused on nurturing the next generation of independent producers, as well as re-energizing veteran producers who have demonstrated dedication to independent film’s longevity and vibrancy.

Artists are encouraged to submit their films to Sundance. For 2019 Festival consideration, submissions will open in May 2018. For answers to the most commonly asked questions about submitting to the Festival, download the FAQ document. Also, read the Rules and Regulations thoroughly before submitting your project. Screenplay submissions are not accepted through this channel.

2018 60th Grammy Awards

2018’s 60th Grammy Awards (#GRAMMYs) shifts from the west coast to come back east to New York City after a 15-year hiatus. Just ahead of the big night on January 28, The Paley Center for Media and the GRAMMY Museum present an intimate Q&A with the executives of the Recording Academy and primetime show.

The conversation will explore the storied history of the GRAMMY Awards, music’s highest honor and what we can expect as Music’s Biggest Night arrives back in the Big Apple. Participants in the Q&A panel include, Ken Ehrlich, Executive Producer, GRAMMY Awards; Jack Sussman, EVP CBS Entertainment; Neil Portnow, Pres.CEO, Recording Academy; moderator Scott Goldman, Exec. Dir., GRAMMY Museum.

And in other planned events, GRAMMY winners (and married couple) Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz (aka Kasseem Dean) will be honored during GRAMMY Week 2018 at the P&E Wing’s 11th annual GRAMMY Week celebration, January 25, at Rockefeller Center’s iconic Rainbow Room. The invite-only event, which celebrates the artistic contributions of the Wing’s professional members, will highlight the accomplishments of Keys and Beatz. James Corden will return as host of this 60th Grammy Awards.

Previous GRAMMY P&E Wing honorees

Previous GRAMMY P&E Wing honorees include Jack White, Rick Rubin, Nile Rodgers, Neil Young, Al Schmitt, Quincy Jones, Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd, Chris Blackwell, T Bone Burnett, and Jimmy Iovine. The GRAMMYs are a peer-presented award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.

A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor this excellence in the recording arts and sciences. The Grammy Awards return to New York City in 2018 and will be broadcast in high definition and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network. The show also will be supported on radio worldwide via Westwood One, and covered online at GRAMMY.com, CBS.com, and on YouTube. For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy’s social networks on Twitter and Facebook. James Corden will serve as host of this year’s 60th GRAMMY Awards. The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS at 19:30-23:00 ET and 16:30-20:00 PT.

Top Nominee Categories

Here is a brief rundown of some top nominee categories. Record of the Year: Redbone (Childish Gambino), Despacito (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee), The Story of O.J. (JAY Z), HUMBLE. (Kendrick Lamar), 24K Magic (Bruno Mars). Album of the Year: Awaken, My Love! (Childish Gambino), 4:44 (JAY Z), DAMN (Kendrick Lamar), Melodrama (Lorde), 24K Magic (Bruno Mars). Song of the Year: Despacito, 4:44, Issues, 1-800-273-8255, That’s What I Like. Best New Artist: Alessia Cara Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels, SZA. Best Pop Solo Performance: Love So Soft (Kelly Clarkson), Praying (Kesha), Million Reasons (Lady Gaga), What About Us (Pink), Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran). Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Something Just Like This (The Chainsmokers & Coldplay), Despacito (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee), Thunder (Imagine Dragons), Feel It Still (Portugal. The Man), Stay (Zedd and Alessia Cara). Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Nobody But Me (Michael Bublé), Triplicate (Bob Dylan), In Full Swing (Seth MacFarlane), Wonderland (Seth MacFarlane), Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 (various artists). For more nomination categories check the website or wait for the live event.

Other Events

The above events are only a sample of what is fully listed. Complete details are on the “Calendar of Global Media and Showbiz Industry Social Networking Events” page. If you like this report and other content found on The Actor’s Checklist, like the Facebook page at this link. India/France fusion band, Trinaad is set to unveil a new album. Visit their page for more details. With the year 2017 in the rearview mirror by a full month already, February offers a full agenda of calendar activity carrying on from a fairly busy January. UNESCO’s World Radio Day will be celebrated worldwide via the web, Theater Tech and Event Podction comes to Brno in Czech Republic, DISCOP Dubai entertainment content market happens in Dubai, annual GSMA Mobile World Congress returns to Barcelona, BVE comes to London, Virtuality – Le Salon de la Realite Virtuelle et des Technologies Immersives is in Paris.