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NAB President Curtis LeGeyt Shares His Thoughts About CES 2022

CES 2022
(Image credit: Consumer Technology Association)

LAS VEGAS—Curtis LeGeyt, the new president/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters attended the 2022 International CES this week, checking out new technologies, including progress on the ATSC 3.0 front as well as networking with colleagues. 

LeGeyt

Curtis LeGeyt, NAB President/CEO (Image credit: NAB)

LeGeyt is no stranger to CES, attending every few years in the past in his roles as NAB's EVP for Government Relations and COO, but this is his first public event as the head of the NAB and he felt it was important to see what technologies will be driving broadcast TV into the future. 

NextGen TV
Top of mind is ATSC 3.0 (aka NextGen TV), which had a strong presence at the show. In a press event Wednesday evening, representatives of the organization described 2022 as a “breakout year" with nearly 45% of U.S. households within reach of a NextGen TV signal, sales of 3 million NextGen TV sets and new TVs and NextGen TV devices from Hisense, Samsung, LG, Sony and Tablo

LeGeyt thinks it’s important to get the perspective of the rollout from broadcasters who have already done it or are in the planning stages. 

“From a business perspective, I think as a trade association, we need to really understand where the technology is going,” LeGeyt said. “And for our members who—especially with regard to ATSC 3.0—are investing so much in deployment, but also looking ahead at all the various ways in which consumers are going to be consuming their content from both audio and video perspective.”

LeGeyt noted the conundrum that goes with launching a new technology while at the same time, encouraging the development of products to go along with it. 

“Obviously, this is a little bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ phenomenon when you launch any kind of new technology along these lines—you've got the deployment happening on one side but you also have to be very cognizant of the consumer electronic side of the coin and the ability for consumers to receive the content that's being distributed through the new standard,” he said.

NAB Show
With the NAB Show scheduled for April, LeGeyt was also doing some of his own reconnaissance for the annual gathering, which has been twice cancelled in the past two years. 

“I think CES and [CTA President] Gary Shapiro and his team deserve a ton of credit and I think the health and safety protocols here are proving to be very successful,” he said. “Everyone out on the show floor is masked, and there's room for distancing. I'm very, very encouraged by the feedback I'm getting from exhibitors here and also what I'm seeing for myself. I think that's gonna put real wind in our sails and makes me very encouraged for April."

And despite the current omicron wave, LeGeyt is “100%” confident that the show will go on as scheduled. 

“I think that this week demonstrates that there is a lot of pent up demand—both on the exhibitor side and the attendee side—for an in-person show where business actually gets done,” he said. “They were able to pull this off in what I would consider to be the worst possible timing and all signs indicate that we are going to be in a much better place from a health and safety perspective as a country in April.

"We are pacing very, very well in terms of both exhibitor and attendee interest in our show," LeGeyt added. "Granted, it's a little like comparing apples and oranges, but metrics wise, it's really positive compared to even our previous ‘pre-COVID’ shows. And so we're extremely optimistic.” 

When asked if NAB would impose the same safety protocols as CES, LeGeyt said the association planned to follow CDC guidelines. 

“I think that that's going to be something that we continue to monitor between now and April because the health and safety guidance from the CDC continues to evolve,” he said. “But we will have a vaccination requirement consistent with what CES has done.”

LeGeyt also noted that attending CES has given him more insight into how changes at the Las Vegas Convention Center will impact the April show. 

“I think what I'm seeing at CES validates some changes that were already underway in terms of the format of our show floor,” he said. "The new West Hall is going to be a new venue for us in April and I think it affords all kinds of opportunities for a little bit more of an innovative layout. 

“Our designers were already taking advantage of that to basically ensure that, depending on what phase of the business cycle you're in—whether you're an exhibitor, whether you're in content creation, whether you're in distribution, or whether you're in the business of monetization—that we've got a layout set up in a way to make this as efficient as possible for the attendees who want to be focused on the business partners who match their their element of business,” LeGeyt said.

“I think this new layout with the West Hall just gives you a much more open and innovative way to organize the show floor and what this validates for me seeing in person is that the footprint that we've laid out is going to be a real win for both our exhibitors and for our attendees.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Technology (www.tvtechnology.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.