smpte HPA Merger

(Palo Alto, Calif.) — Two of showbiz’s premier tech organizations, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Hollywood Post Alliance, have announced a partnership with the intent of merging entirely within a year.

Wendy Aylsworth, president of SMPTE, announced the alliance at the org’s Entertainment in the Internet Age conference on the campus of Stanford U.

Leaders of both orgs are cautious in describing the newly-established alliance — some joked that it’s more than dating, but less than a marriage — but their intent to merge is clear. In the short term, SMPTE will take over administrative and back-office functions from HPA while talks continue on the path toward merger.

HPA board president Leon Silverman, who is also on the SMPTE board, said the HPA will continue to be autonomous.  “I don’t think you’ll see HPA disappear within SMPTE,” he said. Whether HPA members will automatically become members of SMPTE is yet to be determined, said Aylsworth; “Those are all things that have to be worked out over the next six months.”

It’s a natural fit for both orgs. SMPTE has been concerned about increasing its membership in recent years while HPA has been interested in expanding its reach.

Aylsworth told Variety, “There are some individual members and companies that are in both organizations, but they have different memberships. The HPA is more connected to non-technical creatives and the arts and crafts surrounding the industry, and SMPTE has more of the engineering and technical side. So we think they’re very complementary that way.”

Silverman said he preferred to call the partnership “a collaboration around how our communities plan for the future of technology and the creative process.”  He said he is looking forward to SMPTE being able to extend the reach of HPA’s content and efforts beyond Hollywood.

As a result of this partnership, the HPA would be likely to take on a more global focus, possibly moving its annual February Tech Retreat out of the Palm Springs area to venues around the world. HPA may also collaborate on a day of creative-oriented programs at the beginning of SMPTE’s annual technical conference and exhibition in Hollywood this fall.

SMPTE executive director Barbara Lange said the goal is to have a single organization within a year. SMPTE’s administrative contract with HPA is nine months.

“I think the SMPTE members will be delighted with this,” said Lange, “because a lot of the technology we work on supports creatives’ work.”

“The worst thing in the world we could do is to mess something up,” said Lange. “We’re here to create a better organization for both of us.”

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