NAB’s Gordon Smith spins broadcasting’s future

In his annual NAB state of the industry address, NAB president Gordon Smith confronted head-on a lack of optimism about broadcast’s future. “Some may not feel optimistic about broadcasting’s future,” he said. “I feel differently.”

Even in a world of tablets, smartphones and digital dashboards, Smith said broadcast radio and television are as relevant today as ever. “The danger for any business that becomes complacent is its being left behind,” Smith said.

“Our future lies in innovating and spurring technology that will deliver our highly valued content to any platform for generations to come,” he said. “The time has come for us to unite in our embrace of new technology and to realize the consequences if we don’t.”

For television, Smith said, the future lies “in our willingness to embrace new platforms, and to go where our viewers want to go. Emerging technology presents a great opportunity for broadcasters to provide viewers with our highly valued content anywhere, on any device, anytime they want it.”

Smith touted the mobile television initiative and where it is headed in the future. “The possibilities are limitless, but we must first make sure that our technology allows us the flexibility to develop new tools, perhaps even micro targeted advertising, to compete in a field crowded with competitors who are doing these things,” he said.

“Consumers want TV where and when they want it, but they also want it to be live and reliable when the game is on or during times of emergency,” Smith added. “Will broadcasters be willing to embrace new technology standards in order to improve mobile capabilities and move their businesses forward, even though it requires taking a risk?”

Smith also advocated moving to a new broadcast standard. “It is my opinion that television broadcasting should seriously consider the challenges and opportunities of moving to a new standard, allowing stations the flexibility they need to better serve their viewers, compete in a mobile world, and find new revenue streams,” he said.