Surveying the Show

Tom Butts is the Editor in Chief of TV Technology.

The NAB has done an amazing job keeping its annual show fresh, updated and relevant. The association has managed to maintain and broaden its base of attendees by enlisting marquee names, expanding media options, monitoring the latest trends, and responding to those trends with informative and enlightening seminars, workshops and keynotes.

A recent survey of people who attended the 2011 show in April indicates increased optimism about the direction of our industry as well as the show itself. Many of the complaints—the food at the LVCC, long taxi lines, Vegas "amenities"—are beyond the scope of the organization and typical of what you would find at most large trade shows.

The survey, conducted by Absolute Advantage, confirmed a number of impressions about this year's show but there were some interesting, if not confounding, responses. For example, exhibitors generally thought attendance numbers were higher while visitors thought the numbers were lower. Perception can be skewed depending on what hall attendees spent more of their time in, but as for myself, I count on probably the most reliable source of trade show numbers in Vegas—cab drivers (and according to my informal surveys, it was a mixed bag this year, some thought more, others less).

AA sent out the survey to 30,000 people and got just short of 2,500 responses, which it says is a higher than average response. For those respondents who didn't attend this year, the reasons were obvious to so many of us—budget issues, and the resultant shortage of personnel who could take the time away from the workplace. NAB knows this all too well and has taken great strides in developing online options for those who can't attend. One respondent said they didn't attend because they felt that product development is less tied to trade shows and the old mantra, "launch at NAB, ship by IBC" is less applicable now.

Turning attention to the show floor, the survey attempted to measure whether exhibitors were satisfied with results from booth visitors and the makeup of the average attendee. While larger exhibitors like pre-booking booth meetings, some smaller exhibitors feel that the process squeezes them out, leaving them with less face time with the major players. At the same time, a higher percentage of respondents thought that they had new visitors with no appointments, which AA said "is really positive for the marketplace that NAB represents because the majority of booth visitors arrived without any sort of pre-organization." Another positive development was that more than a third had increased their booth space this year and only 1 percent had decreased.

Rating the show overall, visitors cited networking, the variety of technology on exhibit, the response of exhibitors and the knowledge gained from attending as the most positive traits of the show. And 84 percent said they would most likely return in 2012; 64 percent felt that they had achieved most of their objectives at the show.

All in all, a survey NAB should be pleased with.

TV Tech Europe Editor in IBC Charity Ride

Please join us in helping to support Mark Hallinger, editor of TV Technology Europe as he takes on a grueling bike ride for charity early next month. On Sept. 3, Mark, along with a team of determined broadcast industry riders will depart from IBC offices in London and cycle 300 miles in 24 hours to the RAI in Amsterdam for IBC 2011, which takes place Sept. 9-13.

The 24-hour cycle-sporting challenge was founded and is being led by Ciaran Doran of Harris Corp., a seasoned veteran of long distance cycling. Ciaran is joined by about a dozen other members of the broadcast industry who've taken up this considerable challenge.

The riders will be taking themselves to the limit to raise funds for Vision Charity, the U.K.-based TV industry charity that gives blind and visually impaired children a better chance to succeed in life. The Riders have a fundraising target of £100,000 to support these children.

To help Mark out, you can donate online at

or text vibc11 and the amount you want to donate (up to £10) to 70070.

Every penny goes to Vision Charity in support of the IBC2IBC ride.

For more information about this event and to follow the riders' progress as they prepare, visit or follow it on Twitter: @ibc2ibc.