NAB Chief Rallies Showgoers Behind Legacy Radio, Television as Show Moves Toward OTT

LAS VEGAS — NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt didn’t mention streaming at the Welcome Session at NAB 2023, even though a growing focus of the show, once devoted exclusively to broadcast radio and television, is now on the OTT sector.

Speaking with Univision Los Angeles’ Gabriela Teissier in a fireside chat, LeGeyt instead urged attendees to support traditional AM radio “by stepping up and reminding the public and automakers of our ongoing relevance.”

He stressed the importance of local broadcast: “I think what we do best is bring together people of all different worldviews, all different persuasions, all different interests, and remind them that we live in communities where we need to have some common cause because we’re together. … We have people on the ground who know those communities and know how to talk about the issues that the community is facing in a way that is relevant specifically to that group.”

LeGeyt defended journalism: “NAB’s principal role before we get to anything else is serving as a loud megaphone for the incredible work that our journalists across the country are doing, and reminding not only communities, but [also] policymakers, that it may be politically convenient to point and label us fake news, but we are the ones rolling up our sleeves in these communities, shining a light on abuses, getting in the weeds, making sure that our communities have the information that they need.”

And he called for competition to the technology giants: “We need to innovate to compete in a world in which these big tech behemoths have changed everything. They’ve changed everything with regard to the local advertising market and our ability to generate advertising dollars to reinvest in our content. They’ve changed everything as audiences are migrating online, using their platforms to access broadcast television and radio content. And they’ve got so much market power that they can determine the terms of access that in our view does not allow for fair compensation for our content, despite the degree to which we drive tremendous traffic to their sites.”

LeGeyt concluded by stressing the importance of continued innovation.

“It is innovation that is going to enable us to further our hyperlocal connection to our communities,” he said. “That is our competitive advantage every day that we are focusing on that innovation, that relevance, in both television and radio. That is where we are going to continue to thrive as a strong competitor in this media landscape [and as] an indispensable function for our local communities across the country.”

NAB Issues Preliminary Attendance Figures, Sets Dates for 2023 Show

LAS VEGAS — The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on April 27 announced preliminary registered attendance of 52,468 for the 2022 NAB Show, the big broadcast trade show for the media, entertainment and technology industries that was held here April 23 through today.

“We are thrilled that our exhibitors, attendees and partners from all corners of the world turned out in force this week in Las Vegas,” said NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “The enthusiasm and engagement on the show floor, in sessions and throughout the entire event have been invigorating.”

Of the registrants, 11,542 came from outside the United States, representing 155 countries

All numbers are based on pre-show and onsite registration and subject to an ongoing audit. 

The NAB also announced that the next NAB Show, the centennial celebration of the first NAB Show, will be held April 15 through 19, 2023 in Las Vegas.

New, Emerging Technologies Take Center Stage at NAB 2022

LAS VEGAS — Attendees at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show this week can’t help but notice the differences between the big broadcast show, back after a two-year absence, and CES 2022 just three months earlier.

Masks were conspicuously absent, social distancing went out the window, and people were shaking hands with the enthusiasm and vigor of campaigning politicians.

We may not be in the clear from COVID-19 just yet, but you wouldn’t know it from the looks of the NAB show, which concludes its four-day run April 27.

Attendance estimates have already been revised upwards 10% to 55,000, and the evening party circuit is in full swing.

Curtis LeGeyt (NAB photo)

As new National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said April 25 in his first State of the Industry address: “Welcome to the 2022 NAB Show! Six words that I’ve waited three years to say!”

Officially, the show’s focus is on broadcast, entertainment and technology — but in truth it’s door No. 3. Just like CES, most of the excitement is being generated by new and emerging technologies, from production to monetization to distribution, mostly streaming.

LeGeyt even said as much, promising attendees, “This week will offer a reimagined and unforgettable experience as we explore the technologies that will power this industry for years to come.”

The new head of the NAB noted that “the next generation of technologies includes not only the revolutionary new broadcast standard — ATSC 3.0 — but also other content delivery methods — whether it’s 5G, streaming, or mobile video.”

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On the policy side, LeGeyt vowed support for the trade group’s legacy broadcast membership. He called for Congress to take action “to rein in the gatekeeping ability of the Big Tech giants who are stifling the economics of local news.” He urged lawmaker and regulators to “modernize media ownership laws to reflect the realities of the marketplace,” and called on the FCC “to reorient how it thinks about broadcast policy more broadly.” He also encouraged congressional support for the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes a new performance fee on local radio stations.

At the two-day Streaming Summit, which concludes April 26, conference chair Dan Rayburn shared industry outlooks and trends — and reiterated what he said in an interview on the NAB Amplify website earlier this year: that while the proliferation of streamers has left consumers feeling “overwhelmed” due to the escalating cost of subscription stacking, AVOD is providing them with a free or cheaper alternative, even if there’s a lack of premium content and newer movies and shows.

Earlier, on Sunday, PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer Ira Rubenstein and Wavetable founder Howard Gray discussed public television’s streaming strategy. Rubenstein said streaming is important, but “complicated” for PBS. During his eight years at PBS, he said, “I’ve been very focused on broadening the distribution of our local stations to digital, and you have to do that at scale. It’s just not practical for every one of our 300 stations to figure out on their own live streaming to Roku and other devices.”

As a result, he said, PBS has been working in partnership with companies such as YouTube and DirecTV Stream on “bringing our content to those live platforms.”

On the eve of the show,  Whip Media, an enterprise software platform and data provider, announced partnerships with Plint, Digit, Limecraft, and NexSpec for the Whip Media Exchange, the company’s global licensing and research platform for film and TV content. The four are the latest companies to join Whip Media’s global distribution services program, which includes existing partners Bitmax, Giant Interactive and OD Media. Through the program, Whip Media offers content buyers and sellers access to a network of partners to support content distribution and accelerate deal-making.

Whip Media and partners held a Sunday evening party at the Vdara. (L-R): Saj Jayasinghe, Whip Media’s SVP of global enterprise account management; James Crossland, SVP and head of global content operations at WarnerMedia; Jonathan Schiminske, VP of client relations and operations strategy at WarnerMedia; Carol Hanley, president of Whip Media; and Jerry Inman, chief marketing officer at Whip Media. (Media Play News staff photo)

Plint, a provider of dubbing, subtitling and cloud-based localization workflow management tools to the TV and movie industry, will provide smart localization services to Exchange clients as they license their content globally.

Digit, a progressive media supply chain business offering transcoding, monetization and delivery across VoD, OTT and broadcast, will provide global content distribution services.

NexSpec, which offers SaaS solutions for media and entertainment companies, will help Whip Media Exchange customers redefine inventory management and automate the media distribution supply chain.

And Limecraft, an online collaborative workspace for video production, will allow Exchange clients to take advantage of the latest in AI and machine learning to automate the grunt work and to speed up production and distribution processes, including subtitling and localization.

“As the amount of streaming content available has exploded and spread to more global markets, we’ve developed an ecosystem of leading partners that help facilitate the entire content licensing process as content distribution models rapidly evolve,” said Alisa Joseph, SVP of business development and strategy for Whip Media.

The NAB Show is put on by the National Association of Broadcasters, an advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. The NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs.