CAA is keeping an eye on NFTs — and other new digital acronyms that represent some of the new methodologies Hollywood is using to distribute entertainment.
Joanna Popper has been named Chief Metaverse Officer at the large agency, tasked with setting strategy and business priorities for CAA and its clients as entertainment and media companies dive more deeply into virtual reality, blockchain and non-fungible tokens. The title and position are indicative of the new attention movie studios, TV networks and advertisers are paying to cutting-edge ways of disseminating intellectual property to fans and consumers.
“CAA has always been at the forefront of charting new and emerging business opportunities for our clients. At this pivotal time in our industry, the metaverse will be impactful to shifts in content creation, distribution, and community engagement that drive significant opportunity for our clients,” said Jim Burtson, President, CAA, in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Joanna to CAA, as her knowledge, insights, relationships, and business building skills will be critical to driving significant impact across the industry.”
Popper will lead a dedicated team of Metaverse-focused executives, and will work closely with Alexandra Shannon, CAA’s Head of Strategic Development, and Adam Friedman, a CAA executive who guides the efforts of a cross-departmental team of agents working across the NFT landscape.
“I am so excited to work closely with CAA’s leadership and our visionary clients to create and build for the future,” said Popper, in a statement. “It feels like a homecoming, bringing my technology and storytelling experience back to Hollywood. I couldn’t be in a better place than CAA to help guide the future of entertainment, helping build on CAA’s growing leadership in an area as important and impactful as the Metaverse.”
Popper comes to CAA from HP, where she supervised the launch of technology, such as a headset for virtual-reality use. She also worked closely with leading studios and so-called “extended reality,” or XR, content creators, including DreamWorks, NBCUniversal, Sony, Disney, Paramount, Valve, and Microsoft.
She was previously executive Vice President of Media & Marketing at Singularity University, a NASA-based, Google-backed organization founded by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis to train leaders on the future of technology including blockchain, VR/AR, artificial intelligence, robotics and digital biology. She was also the vice president of marketing at NBCUniversal, where she worked across properties, including television, film, digital, and parks. She started her career as an investment banker in New York and Brazil and then a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
CAA already has tendrils in the metaverse. The agency represents several prominent NFT artists and personalitiesincluding 0xb1, Jenkins the Valet, Julie Pacino and Micah Johnson.CAA has invested in Dapper Labs, the creator of NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties; Mojito, an NFT commerce suite for selling digital goods; NFT auction marketplace OpenSea; and Candy Digital, a digital collectible company.