MPAA extends Dodd’s con­tract

He will re­main head of Hol­ly­wood’s top lob­by­ing group through 2018.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Richard Ver­rier richard.ver­rier @la­times.com

Hol­ly­wood’s chief lob­by­ist will have at least three more years on the job.

The Mo­tion Pic­ture Assn. of Amer­ica has ex­tended the con­tract of Chair­man Chris Dodd through 2018.

“He has been an im­pact­ful leader and a vig­or­ous cham­pion for the in­dus­try,” the heads of the ma­jor stu­dios said in a state­ment. “We are con­fi­dent he will con­tinue to ef­fec­tively help steer our in­ter­ests through a chal­leng­ing me­dia and pol­icy land­scape and rep­re­sent our mem­ber com­pa­nies around the globe.”

The MPAA did not dis­close terms of Dodd’s con­tract.

A for­mer U.S. se­na­tor from Con­necti­cut, Dodd, 71, was tapped four years ago to run the trade group in an ef­fort to re­store the lus­ter and rep­u­ta­tion the MPAA en­joyed un­der Jack Valenti.

He is cred­ited with help­ing to ex­pand Hol­ly­wood’s ac­cess to China, an in­creas­ingly lu­cra­tive mar­ket for the ma­jor stu­dios, and film tax cred­its in Cal­i­for­nia and New York.

At the same time, Dodd has also faced grow­ing scru­tiny from board mem­bers over the ris­ing costs and ef­fi­cacy of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, which in­creas­ingly com­petes with Sil­i­con Val­ley for in­flu­ence in Wash­ing­ton.

Un­der Dodd, who also serves as chief ex­ec­u­tive, the MPAA has ramped up its spend­ing on lob­by­ing, new hires and salaries. His own com­pen­sa­tion in 2013 was about $3.3 mil­lion, tax records show.

But the trade as­so­ci­a­tion was badly out­ma­neu­vered by Google in 2012, when the In­ter­net gi­ant led a cam­paign to kill the con­tro­ver­sial Stop On­line Piracy Act, known as SOPA.

The MPAA also faced a cri­sis this year when Sony threat­ened to pull out of the or­ga­ni­za­tion over its fail­ure to speak out sooner in sup­port of Sony af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing cy­ber­at­tack.

The in­ci­dent touched off in­tense in­ter­nal de­bates about re­form­ing the struc­ture of the MPAA. Stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives also have dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pand­ing membership to in­clude tele­vi­sion pro­duc­ers and In­ter­net stream­ing ser­vices such as Net­flix and Ama­zon.

Those dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing, peo­ple familiar with the mat­ter said.

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