Connect 2 Media & Entertainment | Online: Show Evolves With Tech Trends, Collaboration

As technology and media have changed, so has NAB Show, which opens for 2013 with the branding: Metamorphosis – The Changing Face of Media and Entertainment.

The convention continues to serve its core audience of broadcast professionals, but has expanded in order to address the issues of a network engineer as surely as it welcomes the video game developer, feature film cinematographer or social media marketer. That’s a marked difference from the NAB Show you might have attended 10 years ago when the digital transition was still underway and it was clear who were allies and who were competitors.

No more, say show organizers. This convention is being heralded as a show for media and entertainment professionals, where former opponents are now collaborators and every individual that falls under that widened umbrella is welcomed.

“The goal is always to try to reflect and tease the latest trends in every aspect of what happens at the show – from exhibit floor to conference sessions to organic dialogue,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president of Conventions and Business Operations for NAB. “We do our best to anticipate the trends that will be top of mind for the industry.”

What has ultimately leveled the playing field? Simply content.

“Content has and always will be king; but now we can absorb it any way we want,” said Alexandra Gebhardt, a content strategy specialist and a speaker in several Post|Production World sessions. “The key is to change the mindset; to get excited about [these new tools]; to look at the possibilities.”

Embracing this new structure is the answer. You’ve got to get comfortable living in this moment of evolving technology.
That realization – coupled with a slowly rebounding economy – may account for the tri-fold boost the NAB Show is seeing this year: more exhibitors, more attendees and an expanded new focus of sessions.

The convention is responding by branching into new arenas, such as Connected Media World, which features companies that specialize in connected devices.

New big-name exhibitors will make Las Vegas home during the convention, including Samsung Electronics, Amazon Web Services and Deluxe Entertainment.

NAB Show’s ties with the media and entertainment industry are reflected in its presenters including Academy Award-winning producer Jon Landau who gave yesterday’s keynote for the Technology Summit on Cinema.

Today during the opening keynote NAB President Gordon Smith will facilitate a Q&A session alongside News Corp. CEO Chase Carey. Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of “Entertainment Tonight” Nancy O’Dell will host today’s NAB Show Television Luncheon and tomorrow entertainer, musician and broadcast personality John Tesh will address the NAB Show Radio Luncheon.

Broadcasters are also reaching across the aisle by welcoming the CEO of Verizon Communications, Lowell C. McAdam, to headline the show’s General Session on Tuesday.

In the same vein, the show will again have a strong focus on second-screen devices and Mobile TV, with sessions offering an update on the rollout of Mobile TV and a review of ongoing technical standards updates. Earlier this year the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) joined forces with the NAB to step up the advocacy efforts.

“It only makes sense that advocacy efforts around Mobile TV would be assumed by NAB, as live and local TV viewing on mobile devices blossoms into a technology success story,” said Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of Communications for NAB.

This year the convention will tap into key trends impacting the professional video market, including 4K. At the show, camera manufacturers and server developers are expected to offer 4K-ready solutions, such as a1080p 4K server and routing and monitoring technologies that can handle 4K production.

“As much as we have all found standard HD to be pretty amazing, 4K is a true next-level viewing experience,” Brown said. “The industry as a whole seems to be gearing rapidly for a shift to this next-generation technology.”

NAB Show will tout a first: a live 8K broadcast at the NHK exhibit, which is part of the NAB Labs Futures Park. The Futures Park, formerly the International Research Park, looks at technologies that are a generation or so away from what’s available today. The show will further embrace new media during the Disruptive Media Conference. Headlined by Avner Ronen, CEO and co-founder of Boxeethe conference will look at how broadband and broadcast can partner to ferret out challenges and untapped opportunities in the content distribution world.

The show will also give attendees a chance to look at burgeoning technologies, from cloud computing to online video to new workflows for digital production.

Another new initiative is SPROCKIT, a program that highlights a select group of groundbreaking startups. This year will include 10 startups that will be showcased at the Sprockit Hub in the Central Hall.

“In future years this program will be presented as a full-blown competition for the best-of-the-best among startups across the entire breadth of the media and entertainment space,” Brown said.

This year the convention has made an all-out- effort to tackle each piece of the content cycle.

“[All of this] helps complete the content development and delivery cycle that our show is all about,” Brown said. From acquisition to production and finally distribution, “[the show] will help attendees gain a better handle on how the consumer’s experience and expectations are changing, which in turn is having a profound impact on the entire creation and distribution chain.”