We asked the NAB's Chris Brown for insights

The National Association of Broadcasters said 244 companies will be first-time exhibitors at the NAB Show in April.

The list includes Blubrry Podcasting, Libsyn, Padcaster, Women in Media, Sohonet, Deity Microphones, Red Bee Media and StreamShark. (See the list.) Some have appeared at the show in the past in other booths, such as Audinate, found in the Bosch/RTS in the past; others are likely to be entirely unfamiliar. The show will have approximately 1,700 total exhibitors including 819 from outside the United States.

We asked NAB Executive Vice President of Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown for some insights into this aspect of the event.

Radio World: What can we glean from the list of companies — what technology sectors seem hottest, and in what kind of new tech areas is the show growing?

Chris Brown: It is a great list of new companies and they tend to reflect the breadth of the show and the trends that are driving innovation. We have companies covering all ends of the content lifecycle from acquisition to management to distribution — with a slight leaning, a little more than a third, representing acquisition and production technologies. From a tech and trends perspective we are seeing healthy interest in streaming technologies, advanced advertising, social media, cloud, storage and IP. Our focus every year is to dig for companies that are developing leading edge technologies or serving particular segments of our audience with specialized products or services.

Rich Redmond, GatesAir, NAB Show

Among long-tenured exhibitors is GatesAir; Rich Redmond is shown at work in 2017. Photo by Al Powers.

RW: Do you know which NAB Show exhibitor is the longest-tenured?

Brown: Unfortunately we don’t have accurate enough history (and remember, the show has been around since 1923) to confirm this definitively. But we certainly have a healthy list of companies that have exhibited with us for a very long time; these include companies like Sony, Panasonic, Imagine and GatesAir (formerly Harris Corp.), Grass Valley, Avid and Ross just to name a few.

[Read: An NAB Show Sampler for Managers]

RW: What will be the three largest booths at the show?

Brown: Sony, Blackmagic Design and Canon. Beyond these and others that have been exhibiting for some time, we have a number of other important brands that are emerging with an increasing presence in the show. A couple of good examples would be AWS Elemental and Google. The combination of AWS and Elemental has matched the enormous resources AWS with the deep industry expertise of Elemental to create an entity that is having a major impact on the industry. In the case of Google, not much needs to be said — they play a vital, varied and growing role within the media and entertainment ecosystem. Just two years ago they were not even participating as an exhibitor.

RW: How does this year’s exhibit space compare to last year?

Brown: Between exhibit space and exhibitor activity in meeting rooms and suites, the show will once again cover more than 1 million square feet of activity. It will essentially cover the same area as last year.

RW: What are other platforms at the show where attendees can find up-and-coming companies?

Brown: We have an area of the show that is all about up-and-coming; we call it the Innovation Pipeline, and it covers the companies and trends from inception to full launch. Three distinct areas are included: NAB Pilot’s Futures Park, which represents the true R&D side of the equation, with research and other companies showing technologies that are still in the lab stage. Then there is Startup Loft, an area that features companies that are in their true infancy, with products or services that are baked but only on the market for a year or a year and a half. These are the “garage” entrepreneurs of our business. And as a final phase, there is Sprockit. Sprockit is a program that identifies the most promising young companies in the media and entertainment space and brings them into the spotlight at the show. These are companies that are bringing technology that can revolutionize, even disrupt, the industry.

We also will be featuring a number of technology pavilions that will lean forward and will feature companies that are relatively new to NAB Show. These include our Immersive Storytelling Pavilion (North Hall), the Game Developers Gallery (North Hall) and the Podcasting Pavilion (South Hall).