The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, which will take place April 14-19 this year in its usual Las Vegas location, has managed to change with the times. Born as a TV station get-together, it later turned into a hardware trade show, and now it’s evolving into a content container — covering all aspects of the audiovisual sector.

The conference’s attendees have also diversified and now include a wider range of content creators. And this year’s theme “The Great Content Shift: Defining Your Evolution” was designed to echo this movement, showing that the show focuses on all sorts of media and content.

“There continues to be interesting shifts in how content is produced, delivered and consumed,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president, Conventions and Business Operations for NAB Show. “Our show has continued to evolve, and helped drive some of that change. Part of our job is to help stimulate that change,” he said.

“We’ve refocused our attention on the fact that it’s a multi-platform world and the consumer is not as focused on linear forms of content consumption, they’re interested in getting in anytime.”

Everything, according to Brown, is changing: that means “the types of content that’s produced, the form of that content and the types of partnerships needed to create that content.”

A look at the event’s conference schedule, includes producers, directors, studio executives, and many others on the content side. “We’ve sprinkled more and more of those folks in,” said Brown.

The Creative Masters Series, which will run from April 15-18, brings together key players in the motion picture, TV, advertising and online communities to “shine a light on the craftsmanship of content,” according to the Association. The sessions will cover everything from pre to post-production.

One session of particular interest  to our readers —  part of what the NAB show calls Content Theater series — is “TV Trends: What’s New in Telenovelas,” which will take place on April 18. Speakers include VideoAge’s Dom Serafini, Venevision’s Cesar Diaz, Univision’s Jessica Rodriguez, TV Globo’s Ricardo Scalamandre and Comarex’s Marcel Vinay.

While there’s no doubt Hollywood will be well represented, more and more Silicon Valley representatives are coming out too.

“Just to give you an example of the change – when we measure folks who come to NAB, just five or 10 years ago, the film segment represented about two-to-five percent of attendees. Now that number is almost at 15 percent.  That’s becoming a significant piece of our total audience.”

A larger segment of attendees is one they call broadcast – which includes traditional TV, cable and satellite. That segment accounts for 18-20 percent of the total attendees.

But the biggest piece of the attendee pie (25-30 percent) is broadly defined as production and post-production (can overlap with film side). “These are folks in business of creating content – production houses, special effects houses, editing and much more. It’s more about the creative side of the business. These aren’t people in suits, they’re the guys in t-shirts and ponytails,” he said.

Brown expects attendance numbers to run ahead of last year’s (where there were 92,000 in attendance). “The floor should be up by seven-10 percent, just in terms of total floor space. We’re expecting the number of exhibitors to increase by 10 percent or more,” Brown said. “There are about 200 new companies coming to the show this year.”

“Because of the economy, 2009 wasn’t a very pleasant year,” he said. But since then, things have been steadily improving. “Getting the number up to 100,000 would be nice. In the past we’ve been there,” Brown said.

“We want good numbers and we want the right people – people who are actually buying goods and services from the people on the show floor. That will ultimately draw success.”

The Washington-D.C.-based NAB is committed to its Las Vegas location through 2015, but Brown expects it to stay where it is for the foreseeable future. “What makes Vegas a good fit is its proximity to the key centers of the industry — L.A., and Silicon Valley, too. And there aren’t many other cities that have as many hotel rooms available to hold that number of attendees. Then there’s the entertainment factor of course. There’s just an allure to that place,” he said.

Here are some show highlights:

General session
In a two-part session titled “Making Sense of the Great Content Shift,” (Wednesday, April 18) Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, will outline the top five trends that will shape the future of the broadcast and telecommunications industries. The session will end with a Q&A.

Exhibit communities
Over 1,500 exhibitors will be broken up into “communities,” including “Distribution & Delivery,” “Outdoor/Mobile Media,” “Post-Production,” and more. There will be other special pavilions, too. The exhibition space will be open April 16-19

Conferences and events
In addition to the Creative Master Series (described above), a Disruptive Media Conference, The Technology Summit on Cinema and many more conferences will take place. The show also offers Post Production World, a training event for production and post-production professionals.

The Content Theater
The Theater will feature industry leaders who are transforming content creation and delivery. Among those leading Q&A sessions are Gerhard Zeiler of RTL (Monday, April 16) and Ted Sarandos of Netflix (Tuesday, April 17).

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