5 Key Takeaways from NAB 2024 — A CMO Perspective

5 Key Takeaways from NAB 2024 — A CMO Perspective

Jerry Inman

As the epicenter of media and entertainment innovation culminated at NAB 2024 in Las Vegas this week, it didn’t just showcase cutting-edge technology. The show also offered profound insights into the future landscape of the industry. 

1. AI Potential vs. Reality: Bridging the Gap

The buzz around generative AI and machine learning in streaming is palpable, but despite 80% of major studios having AI initiatives, the real-world applications remain minimal. The bottleneck?  Lofty expectations from the start and governance. Without clear guidelines and champions driving AI implementation, its transformative potential remains untapped. It’s OK to start with back-end content supply chain applications such as normalizing data and title matching, but it’s time to move beyond theoretical discussions and showcase tangible use cases that demonstrate AI’s impact on content creation, curation, and distribution.

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2. Shifting Power Dynamics in Technology Decision Making

Traditionally, engineers held the reins in driving strategic technology decisions. However, NAB 2024 shed light on a significant paradigm shift: finance teams are emerging as influential decision-makers. What’s surprising isn’t this transition, but rather the low engagement of finance teams with vendors. As technology increasingly intertwines with financial strategies, fostering collaboration between finance and technology departments becomes imperative for informed decision-making and hard-core business outcomes.

3. The Quest for Accurate Viewership Reporting and Metrics

The lack of accurate viewership data remains a persistent challenge. Amid the proliferation of streaming platforms and the rise of ad-supported models like FAST, the need for reliable metrics is more pressing than ever. Streaming executives must pivot their focus toward addressing this information gap while streamlining product offerings and optimizing costs. Data should be driving cost efficiencies and revenue potential, making hyper-focused strategies tailored to audience preferences imperative. Also, to have more accurate metrics and measurements, you need to bring data from different sources so that you can consolidate and synthesize into actionable analytics. So, an example could be that when you bring together a viewership currency with surveys and social sentiment data, you have a much more focused approach to reporting metrics. So, having the ability to to get both quant and qual data allows a more measured approach and a new way to look at viewership.     

4. Embracing Multiyear Technology Roadmaps

Gone are the days of shortsighted technology partnerships. Media and entertainment organizations are increasingly embracing multi-year technology roadmaps, signaling a shift toward long-term strategic collaborations. By aligning technology investments with overarching business objectives, organizations are trying to future-proof their operations and stay ahead in an ever-evolving landscape. Vendors that can offer business value today and are flexible enough to incorporate cutting edge technology into their offering will become the leading trusted partners to the entertainment industry.

5. Bridging Education Gaps Across the Streaming Value Chain

Knowledge asymmetry persists at senior levels within the streaming value chain, leading to flawed assumptions and decisions. Addressing these education gaps is critical for fostering innovation and driving informed strategies. From content creators to distribution platforms, investing in continuous education and upskilling initiatives can empower industry leaders to navigate complexities and seize emerging opportunities.

NAB 2024 served as a catalyst for introspection and action within the entertainment industry. As we navigate the dynamic landscape ahead, it’s imperative to bridge the gap between potential and reality, embrace collaborative decision-making, prioritize data accuracy, adopt long-term strategic partnerships, and invest in continuous learning. By doing so, we can unlock the full spectrum of possibilities and propel our industry towards a future defined by innovation and resilience. 

Jerry Inman is the chief marketing officer of Whip Media, which helps the world’s leading entertainment companies connect content to consumers, and track content performance anywhere.

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