New Conference Crowns Content King

LAS VEGAS—Regardless of the final medium, what drives a program is the story behind the headline.

In this new world of two-screen acceptance—where viewers of traditional television are sitting in front of their HD sets with a laptop or some other small mobile device in their hands—that's never been more true. And despite the enticing pull of the next new technology, it's still content that reins supreme—ultimately driving interest in new mobile devices, next-generation apps and "the-next-big-thing" in a way that technology itself simply cannot do.

NAB hopes to tap into this ongoing trend by introducing a new conference at this year's show, one designed to target the creative process of both traditional broadcasters as well Hollywood filmmakers when it comes to brainstorming and creating programming.


Crowned "The Content Conference: Creating Entertainment for the Big and Small Screen," the new conference spans three days and will feature educational sessions that focus on the latest tools and technologies being used in broadcast, for mobile or for the independent film market.

"The NAB Show addresses the entire content lifecycle, and through the new Content Conference and other initiatives, we are expanding our focus on content creation," said Ann Marie Cumming, vice president of Communications for NAB. "By partnering with leading Hollywood unions, guilds and organizations, we've been able to secure high-level speakers with valuable insight on the latest tools and trends in feature film, TV and small-screen production."

Sessions within the conference are designed to pinpoint areas of expansion and development, and delve into the challenges that exist when it comes to adopting new workflows and purchasing new equipment—all in an effort to build quality motion picture, TV and mobile content on a realistic budget.

Kicking off the conference on Sunday, April 10, is the all-day Faith 'N Film Summit, a mini-conference that focuses on how to use Hollywood story-telling tips and production techniques to better attract audiences to faith-based programming. Leading the pack is a session called "Speed-Faith Film," a session that will look at a 7-day filmmaking competition called the 168 Film Project. Spanning exactly168 hours, the project gives teams one week to film and edit an 11-minute movie with a faith-based theme. In addition to airing the best submissions from the 168 Film Project, the summit will include a seminar titled "StoryLab: The Long (and Short) Tale," which gives an overview of professional techniques for marketing and funding faith-based programming.


The Content Conference will also look into the biggest issues confronting the broadcast market in 2011, including the rollout of mobile DTV. This year, attendees will be looking for answers that range from creating customized content to enhancing the end-user experience. What, for example, does it take to effectively monetize a brand in the mobile marketplace? And how do you go about reaching consumers on their mobile devices when there's so much programming noise to compete with?

John Rubey, president, AEG Network Live "Mobile is an essential [offering for us to provide] because that's where the viewers are," said John Rubey, president of AEG Network Live, who will be a panelist at the "Mobile Monday," session on Monday, April 11 at noon in Room N115 of the LVCC, (where all Monday and Tuesday sessions will be held).

For some time, concert promoter AEG Live has been adapting their concert programming to air as an online Webcast; now the live event company has turned their sights on mobile, and has offered online versions of popular live music events such as Lollapalooza and the Michael Jackson memorial.

"It's critical that we begin to make content available to fans anytime, anywhere, on any device," said John Rubey, president of AEG Network Live, who will be a panelist at the Monday session.

Rubey will be joined with panelists from Warner Bros., HubTV and the Mobile500 Alliance.

Other top sessions in the conference include "Editing Features and TV in the 21st Century," "The Ins and Outs of Genre Films" and a Q&A with filmmaker Albert Maysles.

The new Content Conference will also take attendees on private tours of the exhibit floor, focusing on production-specific technologies. And not to be out-Hollywooded, the NAB will host a swanky Filmmaker's Lounge in the North Hall reserved for members of Hollywood unions.

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.