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NAB Starts This Weekend

The more than 1,500 exhibitors on the NAB Show floor will include 200 newcomers.
Broadcasters are flocking to Las Vegas this weekend as the NAB Show—the industry’s biggest annual gathering—gets underway on Monday.

Many events will start this weekend, including the Broadcast Engineering Conference, Digital Cinema Summit and Post|Production World Training. Press events begin en masse on Sunday and the exhibit show floor will open at 9 a.m. Monday, April 12 and close at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 15.

Show organizers are upbeat about expected attendance, which last year peaked at approximately 85,000, down from the year before but respectable nonetheless considering the state of the economy. This year the vibe is even more positive, according to Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of corporate communications for NAB.

“We think we’ll probably match last year’s numbers or a little bit above that,” he said. “The sense is that we’ve cycled out of this [economic] trough. There seems to be a lot better feeling economically in the broadcasting and communications sectors; there’s a very strong sense that this is going to be a positive show.”

Wharton added that one in four attendees will be from outside the United States, representing more than 150 countries. “We pride ourselves on being the number one trade show in the world for international [attendance],” he said. “That speaks to the power of the NAB brand and a testament to the hard work of the NAB staff.”

Approximately 1,500 exhibitors will be on the show floor in the expansive Las Vegas Convention Center, of which 200 are newcomers. “Last year we had 80-90 new exhibitors,” Wharton said. The increase “speaks to the fact that there’s a better feeling in the economy.”

Highlights will include 3D, Mobile DTV and broadband, Wharton said. More than 30 FCC staffers, as well as three commissioners and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will also attend the show. Wharton said that although the NAB has its differences with the commission over its proposed National Broadband Plan, “we’re going to roll out the red carpet” for them. “We’re honored to have the chairman here,” he said. “We think it offers him a great platform to discuss his initiatives.”