07.18.2003 04:09 PM
Saving Money, Saving Time, Making Better Television
NAB: It used to be about gear, now it’s about money. Hell, everything is about money. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "impact of war on revenue" I would be able to seriously upgrade my hotel accommodations at NAB.

The reality is that station owners are sweating their asses off wondering how they are supposed to cover a war which will devastate their budgets and diminish their ad revenue. So much for TV being a license to print money. Of course, stations could rely on the networks and news providers such as CNN to devastate their own budgets, while keeping local coverage to things such as the local economic impact of the war and videos of the local boys and girls marching off to war. The networks do national and international better than you ever could—so let them.

Meanwhile, Back At NAB...

Back in the good old days (when trade magazines looked like they hadn’t been going to Weight Watchers), I used to base my Editors’ Pick of Show Award on the theme, "It’s Gotta Be New and It’s Gotta Be Cool." Not anymore.

This year, we’ve got a new theme, more in line with users and less with manufacturers: "Saving Money, Saving Time, Making Better Television." Unlike other magazines that look at the integration between "tools" and "people," we stress that today’s NAB is about the bottom line. If you still have a job in television, then you’re doing better than many. And while all the gear and technologies to be shown at NAB are, in fact, just tools, they don’t mean squat if they can’t save your employer money or save you time. I added the "Making Better Television" as a reality check. You can save all the money and time you want, but if your program looks like crap, almost no one will watch it.

With this in mind, I designed our NAB preview differently than those of most magazines. Instead of covering product introductions by manufacturer, we’re going to cover them by product type. In the market for a new camera? Then check out the Cameras section, where new offerings are listed alphabetically by manufacturer. I thought that this might be somewhat easier than having to search for stories on camera manufacturers that might be scattered throughout the magazine.

The other thing that you might notice is that our product write-ups are to the point. No superfluous information; just what you need to know. The entire NAB preview section is like a giant new products section—a paragraph or two and you’re on to the next product.

Not Going To NAB?

Such a shame. No $5 hot dogs, long taxi lines, or bags filled to the brim with product literature. For those of you not blessed to join the pilgrimage to Las Vegas, have heart. You can still get the information you need quickly and easily.

In cooperation with other United Entertainment Media magazines, we’ve launched "LivefromNAB"—an NAB product and technology resource. If you’re not going to NAB, check it out at www.UEMedia.com/ LivefromNAB. You just might learn more than the folks that are going—and won’t that make you popular around the water cooler?

NAB. It’s all about saving money, saving time, and making better television. Now, get back to work.

Michael Silbergleid is the editor. He can be reached at:

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