NAB Show: A Reflection of Change and a ‘Catalyst for Changes to Come’

NAB Show floor
(Image credit: NAB Show)

As the media and entertainment community comes together to celebrate the NAB Show centennial, it does so around a set of curated content pillars that not only reflect how the industry works but will also serve to help attendees better discover what is relevant to them — whether they are broadcasters, screenwriters, advertisers, streamers, producers or filmmakers.

Those pillars, which were unveiled at last year’s show, known as Create, Connect and Capitalize, work in conjunction with the fourth pillar — Intelligent Content — all of which represent the entirety of the industry’s content, business and data lifecycle.

“The Intelligent Content area is also back and it’s all about data and the enormous influence it is having across the content creation and distribution chain,” said Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president and managing director, Global Connections and Events. Exhibitors include Amagi, Amazon Web Services, MediaKind, Microsoft, Telestream and Veritone.

Industry Evolution

And just as it did a century ago, the convention mirrors the ongoing evolution of the media and entertainment industry. For industries such as TV, radio, streaming or film, this means a transformation of priorities across all levels of business operations, each designed to improve operations by reducing media chain costs and spurring innovation.

At this year’s show, that approach will be refined by shuffling locations so that categories are linked, and the show’s set of Experiential Zones are expanded — those zones that are intended to be focal points for each major area within the show.

“The zones provide focus by examining the pillars from three perspectives — one for inspiration, one for innovation and one focused on implementation,” said Brown.

These are areas where attendees can take in free learning sessions, see technology briefings and demonstrations, meet with startups and network both informally and more formally with a series of open, peer-to-peer roundtables.

Growing Trends

One focus at the show is the way that tools, traditionally leveraged exclusively for high-end cinema production, are now finding adoption with content creators across broadcast, enterprise and more creative communities. This is a focus of the new CineCentral area on the show floor. That area, located in the Central Hall, will feature workshops by the Society of Camera Operators, the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and a 16mm film loading workshop by KODAK.

Another spotlight is on the future of streaming. The show will center dialogue around everything from business models to content development to user and tech interfaces in areas such as the Streaming Summit conference, the OTT Demo Area, on-floor engagement and demonstrations of the FAST free streaming channel trend and its impact on the overall streaming and wider broadcast industry.

“It is a multiplatform world going-forward,” said Josh Stinehour, principal analyst of the market research firm Devoncroft Partners.

The show will also explore virtualization and the cloud. “I believe virtualization, generally, and cloud, specifically, are the salvation of the media technology sector,” Stinehour said, calling it a “once-in-a-career, fundamental transition.”

Other key technologies on display include workflow automation software, live IP video delivery, new remote production tools, advances in VFX technology via game engine technology and NextGen TV. When it comes to live events, 5G production techniques is another growth area, and when combined with cloud workflows, it borders on revolutionary in terms of how the industry can source, produce and publish their content, NAB’s Brown said.

There is a lot of buzz about the Metaverse, Web3, AI and data-driven personalization. New immersive content experiences are also imminent, from pure AR/VR or mixed-reality variations to the full-blown promise of new digital worlds with users as the central character.

“Generative AI is certainly also ‘generating’ — pardon the pun — lots of attention these days,” said Brown. “As this technology is improved over the next few years, it has great promise for creating efficiencies across various sides of the media workflow. You will see this topic addressed in several places within our formal programming.

“In general, it feels like the industry is on the doorstep of taking major strides toward delivering on truly immersive entertainment,” Brown said.

Dedicated Area

NAB Show is introducing the Broadcast District, an area dedicated to radio and TV broadcasting. It will feature educational sessions, networking and special events, and include conference sessions focused on radio and television.

Above all, this year’s NAB Show is highlighting trends that impact the media marketplace as well as spotlighting new programs and services that deliver substantial direct value to the content creation community.

“This centennial year is more important than ever as it provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come as an industry, but more importantly, where we are headed,” said Brown.

“Think about how far the industry has come in that time, from a strictly audio medium to the introduction of moving images to the dawn of film, TV, cable, satellite, streaming — and all the amazing technology that has driven those incredible advances,” he said. “NAB Show has both been a reflection of those changes and a catalyst for changes to come. This is a fantastic industry, built by generations of great and passionate storytellers, technicians and businesspeople. NAB Show is the industry’s showcase, its innovation launching pad, a celebration of the creative spirit and a homecoming for so many. You can experience it, but sometimes I am not sure you can fully explain it — there is magic in what happens at NAB Show.”

Copyright NAB 2023.

Susan Ashworth

Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology. In addition to her work covering the broadcast television industry, she has served as editor of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as education, radio, chess, music and sports. Outside of her life as a writer, she recently served as president of a local nonprofit organization supporting girls in baseball.