NAB Show Attendance Tops 65,000, Broadcast Show Organizers Say

LAS VEGAS — The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on April 18 announced preliminary registered attendance of 65,013 for the 2023 NAB Show, which runs through today (April 19) at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“We are thrilled to have so many exhibitors, attendees and partners from around the world join us in Las Vegas to help celebrate 100 years of innovation,” said Curtis LeGeyt, NAB president and CEO. “More than any other year, everyone is filled with so much enthusiasm and energy as they engage on the show floor, in special sessions and throughout the entire event.”

Of the registered attendees, 17,446 are international, representing 166 countries, NAB said. The total number of exhibiting companies topped 1,200. 

The NAB’s centennial show began its four-day run April 15. This year’s show featured a greater focus on streaming, including a two-day Streaming Summit, a Main Stage panel discussion on the growth of FAST channels, and an OTT Demo Area on the show floor.

NAB also announced that the next NAB Show will be held April 13-17, 2024, in Las Vegas.

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.”

FAST-Talking at NAB Show 2023: ‘We’re Linear Again’

LAS VEGAS — There’s no question that FAST — free, ad-supported television — is booming, with domestic revenues expected to triple to about $12 billion over the next three years.

But speakers on the NAB’s “FAST Channels and Furious Growth” panel discussion April 17 at the NAB show were divided on whether FAST is a new, modern replacement for cable television.

“I absolutely think it’s a replacement [for cable],” said Amy Kuessner, EVP of content strategy and global partnerships at Paramount Streaming, with direct responsibility for Pluto.

“I think everyone here sees the cable numbers every day, and they are dwindling,” she said. “And I used to be on the that side of the business. It’s similar in the fact that what’s old is new again — we’re linear again, it’s back in style, but it’s digital linear, and ad-supported. It’s the same in that we’re still programming niche channels, which is what cable did so well, but it’s different in that it’s not Cable 2.0. It’s becoming this whole ‘must carry’ thing; it’s cable without borders, so it’s very different in the marketplace approach.”

Philippe Guelton, chief revenue officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, took an opposing stance.

“I don’t think FAST is the new cable at all,” he said. “And the reason is when you cut the cord, when you cut cable, you lost a lot more than what’s available on FAST today. Think about the premium channels — the HBOs, the Showtimes. This where the actual investment was taking place in cable, and now that is happening on SVOD, for the most part — this is where a lot of that content lives.

“And then you have the broadcast content, the bigger and more general entertainment channels on cable, which have become really the AVOD experience. Movie-watching on FAST is not the ideal situation. VOD is the best experience for consumers to watch movies.

“So what, then, is FAST? I think it’s almost equivalent to syndicated television. This is where all that content goes after it’s gone through all those other windows. It’s almost like syndicated television on steroids, in a way, because there’s so much more [content].

“So, I think you really have to look at the entire ecosystem — FAST, AVOD, SVOD and TVOD — to really replace cable for the consumer.”

Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate, agreed.

“We lost 7 million homes in the MVPD ecosystems last year,” Packer said. “Where they all went is part of the fascination of what we do. Some people have SVOD and SVOD is starting to bundle, so you have that dynamic. You’ve got somebody who buys a Samsung TV and may not even be aware of FAST, then discovers it for the first time. I think that one of the things that makes it a little bit tricky for FAST, and that over time I hope will continue to improve, is that each of the platforms looks a lot different and is a little bit less consistent than the MVPD ecosystem.

“So I think it [FAST] is happening, and it is part of the transition, but everybody’s competing for those 7 million people.”

Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, maintains there’s room for different business models as audiences continue to migrate from cable to Internet-based services.

“Tubi is predominantly a video-on-demand platform,” he said, “and our vision of the future is that the future of streaming television is going to be predominantly on demand. Having said that, we still have 200 FAST channels, leaning heavily into news and sports. There’s always going to be a demand for live.”

Asked which demographics are driving the growth of FAST, Kuessner said that at Pluto, “We tremendously over indexed in Hispanic and African-American audiences. I want to say that the general market for African-American television viewing is 20%; we’re at 30%. And because of that, we were one of the first platforms — 2019, I want to say — to roll out an entire Hispanic offering with over 50 channels. And then we do have channels that are more targeted to African-Americans, whether it’s Black cinema or classics. Those channels are what I call our power channels, and they were just off the charts in terms of performance.”

Tubi’s Lewinson said half of his company’s viewers identify as multicultural. “We’re also one of the younger streamers, so a little over a third of our audience is in that coveted 18-34 demo. And what’s really interesting, and probably one of the reasons why we’re still very heavily a video-on-demand platform as opposed to these FAST channels, is that so much of our audience grew up on YouTube or Netflix and they like the on-demand, they like our personalization tools, they’re used to navigating the algorithms, and the linear environment is just not the best experience for certain kinds of content. If you’re going to watch a movie, you’re probably going to want to watch it from the beginning.

“So what we find is that the viewers who are leaning more heavily into these FAST channels tend to skew older, and I think a lot of that is just transitional — the electronic program guides, not everyone grew up with that, but for [older viewers] it just feels comfortable — ‘Oh, this feels like my cable box.'”

Philips Exec: HDR Hitting a ‘Critical Mass’ of Market Penetration

High dynamic range (HDR) is rapidly becoming an operational requirement for broadcasters as well as OTT streaming service providers, said Rick Dumont, head of business development for HDR and wireless at Philips, April 17 in a podcast interview released at the NAB Show by Technicolor.

Rick Dumont

“HDR is on track to achieve a critical mass of market penetration over the next few years as technical standards mature and key players throughout the content creation, capture, distribution and consumption ecosystem optimize and integrate their go-to-market processes,” he said.

Still, many consumers are unclear about the technology.

“We tend to assume that consumers know what HDR is, but the reality is that many consumers need to understand the differences between high definition and high dynamic range. This is one of the biggest challenges the market faces today,” Dumont said.

Singling out the Sinclair Broadcast Group as an exception, he said there is still limited HDR content available on broadcast stations.

“This is unfortunate because once people experience HDR, they immediately appreciate how a brighter image can deliver much more detail on the screen, resulting in a superior viewing experience,” Dumont said.

He said the entire industry needs to work together to streamline the integration of HDR technologies into their production and distribution processes. The whole ecosystem must also work together to ensure a consistent and persistent message to consumers explaining the unique value proposition of HDR.

“We are reaching a critical mass of consumers with high-definition TVs equipped with HDR capabilities,” Dumont said. “The next step is ensuring that HDR content is made available and that consumers are aware of the significant improvements the entire industry is making to enhance the viewing experience.”

In particular, he said, the system on chip (SoC) community “is critical in providing the primary processing capabilities needed to make TVs HDR capable. Chipset manufacturers are in the vanguard position of ensuring HDR components are integrated into today’s televisions.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

MediaTek and Realtek are among the SoC manufacturers embedding HDR capabilities into the next generation of TVs. Companies such as Amlogic are integrating similar SoCs into set-top boxes, bridging the gap between TVs with and without ATSC 3.0 capabilities. These streaming boxes support chipsets that can process HDR by having consumers switch on the functionality. 

“The capabilities of TVs are also improving,” Dumont said. “The current generation of 4K HDR TVs sold by companies like Hisense support the luminance levels that are much better than standard dynamic range (SDR) TVs.”

NAB Kicks Off Centennial Show With Greater Focus on Streaming

LAS VEGAS — Celebrating its 100th birthday, the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention began its four-day run April 15 with an aggressive nod to streaming.

While much of the schedule remains focused on the legacy broadcast industry, the NAB is once again hosting a two-day Streaming Summit April 17-18. The summit is a two-track event with about 75 speakers and consists of “fireside” chats, best practices technical presentations/case studies, and roundtable discussions. The Streaming Summit, NAB says, will cover business and technology topics including the bundling of content; codecs; transcoding; live-streaming; video advertising; packaging and playback; monetization of video; cloud based workflows; direct-to-consumer models; the video ad stack; and other related topics.

The NAB Show also features an OTT Demo Area, featuring demonstrations of more than 50 streaming video platforms and devices, including smart TVs and streaming boxes. The Demo Area is curated by Dan Rayburn, a streaming media expert and conference chair of the Streaming Summit. It features hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Google, LG, TCL, Vizio and Samsung and will feature sample programming from Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Discovery+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu+ Live TV, Sling TV, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock TV, YouTube TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, ESPN+, Freevee, AMC+, Fubo, DAZN and many others.

Show attendees will be able to see and compare video quality compression, HDR and 4K; content bundling strategies; video delivery, low-latency and QoS; ad formats; and pre/post roll in live and SVOD, connected-TV advertising, playback and UI/UX.

NAB is also hosting a Main Stage session on the rapidly growing FAST TV business. “FAST Channels and Furious Growth” takes place April 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Leaders in streaming and digital distribution will discuss their strategies in the free, ad-supported television streaming business segment, which hit revenues of roughly $4 billion in the United States last year and is projected to triple over the next five years.

Speakers include Amy Kuessner, EVP of content strategy and global partnerships at Paramount Streaming; Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi; Jim Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate; and Philippe Guelton, chief revenue officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. They will discuss programmatic challenges and opportunities, how to utilize targeted advertising effectively and how to build infrastructure quickly.

In his welcome, NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt noted that the first NAB gathering took place in 1923 when 16 representatives of radio stations gathered in New York City. Since then, the show until recently has remained true to the trade group’s name, focusing on the broadcast industry — first radio, then television — with the Las Vegas Convention Center and Strip hotels crawling with broadcast executives and, in the heyday of radio, deejays such as Wolfman Jack, Joey Reynolds, Tom Shovan and a pre-TV Larry King.

This year’s show features more than 1,000 exhibitors, including 140 first-timers, NAB says. The show is grouped around four “pillars”: Create, Connect, Capitalize, and Intelligent Content.

Jim Packer, Bill Rouhana to Speak at FAST Session at the April NAB Show

The upcoming National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas has scheduled a Main Stage session on the rapidly growing FAST business that features several top home entertainment executives, including Lionsgate’s Jim Packer and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Bill Rouhana.

The “Fast Channels and Furious Growth” session, open to all attendees, will take place on April 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Packer, Rouhana and other leaders in streaming and digital distribution will discuss their strategies to harness audience appetite for free, ad-supported television, which hit revenues of roughly $4 billion in the United States last year and is projected to triple over the next five years.

Panelists include Amy Kuessner, EVP of content strategy and global partnerships at Paramount Streaming; Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi; Packer, president of worldwide television distribution at Lionsgate; and Bill Rouhana, chairman and CEO at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. They will discuss programmatic challenges and opportunities, how to utilize targeted advertising effectively and how to build infrastructure quickly.

The NAB Show, held April 15 to 19 in Las Vegas, is celebrating its centennial year as the primary conference and exhibition driving the evolution of broadcast, media and entertainment. For complete details, visit www.nabshow.com.

 

8K Association Announces Event Plans at EnTech Fest and NAB

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote 8K content initiatives across the industry, the 8K Association March 15 announced that it will participate in a number of strategic events throughout the year, including both panel discussions and technical demonstrations at the upcoming EnTech Fest and NAB Show.

Under the theme “8K — Leading the Way,” the organization plans to highlight the wide range of 8K content projects currently being developed, along with the number of leading companies and creators who are driving the 8K content ecosystem.

“One of the goals of the 8K Association is to educate and excite the trade about the wide range of 8K content initiatives that are already underway,” said its newly installed executive director Mike Fidler. “Our participation in well-known events like EnTech Fest and NAB will enable us to bring more awareness to these projects, along with the leading executives and companies behind them.”

At EnTech Fest in Los Angeles on March 29, Fidler will be moderating a panel session featuring Jonathon Lee, head of media engineering and innovation at Amazon Studios; Greg Ciaccio, senior director of post production original content at Imax; and Uday Mathur, chief technology officer at RED Digital Cinema. The discussion will focus on the various ways that 8K technology is elevating the creative entertainment experience. Additionally the 8K Association will be conducting a series of demonstrations throughout the day to illustrate the key aspects of the 8K ecosystem. To learn more about a complimentary registration for EnTech Fest, go to About — Event Page | EnTech Fest 2023 (accelevents.com) and enter 8KGuest23.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 8K Association will also be visible at NAB 2023, which is scheduled for April 15-19 in Las Vegas. A number of the organization’s member companies will be joining to promote and demonstrate the latest video compression technologies for 8K content on the show floor. These demonstrations will be conducted on an ongoing basis in the West Hall at booth W4015. The 8K Association will also be sponsoring a special panel discussion titled “Next Generation Video Codecs for 8K.” It will highlight the most recent advances in video codecs for 8K content delivery and their key advantages over legacy video codecs. The panel, which will be held April 17 from 2:30 to 3:20 p.m. PT in the floor theater in the West Hall next to Future Park, will be moderated by Ravi Velhal of Intel and features Mauricio Alvarez Mesa, CEO and co-founder of Spin-Digital; Thomas Kramer, VP of strategy and business development at MainConcept; Thomas Burnichon, VP of innovation strategy for Ateme and Abdul Rehman, CEO at SIMMWAVE. To learn more about these 8K Association activities, contact Diana Oh care of press@8kassociation.com.

NAB and NAB Show Celebrating Centennial in 2023

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an advocacy association for America’s broadcasters, and the NAB Show, the global trade show, are celebrating their centennial year in 2023 with activities, events and a commemorative website.

The 2023 NAB Show Centennial Celebration, taking place April 15-19 in Las Vegas, commemorates 100 years since the first NAB Show in 1923 and offers opportunities for attendees, exhibitors and stakeholders to share their memories, participate in interactive engagements and enjoy exclusive onsite parties and events.

“This year marks our century-long legacy of advocating on behalf of America’s broadcasters and driving global innovation and industry growth through NAB Show,” NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said in a statement. “We invite the entire NAB community, including broadcasters and content professionals from around the world, to join us for the Centennial Celebration as we honor our rich history, recognize our unparalleled impact and celebrate our next 100 years.”

NAB Jan. 12 launched “Celebrating 100 Years,” a comprehensive website that provides an interactive journey through the organization’s history and evolution over the years. The site offers a timeline detailing landmark achievements, moments in broadcasting and at that NAB Show, along with image galleries, broadcasters’ stories and a NAB Hall of Fame, allowing visitors to learn more about the radio and television legends inducted throughout the years.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The organization also kicked off “Share Your Story,” a community campaign, encouraging individuals to share special memories, serendipitous moments or remarkable stories about broadcasting and the NAB Show. Contributors may include photos with their submissions. Stories may be submitted here.

Forthcoming NAB Show Centennial Celebration announcements will include registration incentives, contests, special events and activations, and recognitions of exceptional past NAB Show participation.

NAB Show 2023

The 2023 NAB Show marks the event’s 100th birthday, and organizers promise that the centennial “will be the pinnacle for all in the global broadcast, media and entertainment industry. A portal to next-generation technology. A catalyst for best-in-breed products. A place to experience the power of possibility in people met and products discovered. In an arc spanning the last century, NAB Show has been influential in evolving our industry. Sound to picture. Analog to digital. Static to immersive. But we’ve only just begun. The best part comes next….”

The Three Phases of Growing a Global DTC Sports Streaming Service

Today, sports streaming services should be racing to go direct-to-consumer (DTC). It’s the future. Companies opting not to prioritize a DTC approach remain many laps behind in optimizing their fan experiences.

Rick Allen

A DTC sports streaming service complements linear broadcast deals. Linear partners don’t broadcast every live event. And they can allow the content owner to re-air a game after a hold-back period (typically 24 hours). DTC has solidified itself as the perfect solution to securing the broadest possible distribution across sports streaming markets.

Streaming services, particularly DTC, offer companies a better understanding of fan behavior and needs. While live events drive viewership, shoulder programming on OTT solutions — such as those powered by ViewLift or a service like ESPN+ — extend engagement and create new fans. Much of this comes down to real-time data, which remains a principal value content owners gain from live-streaming.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

At this year’s NAB Streaming Summit, I moderated a panel of industry experts, including Fabio Gallo from LaLiga Tech, Riccardo Quaglia from the Italian Basketball League (LNP) and Andy Wasef from the National Basketball Association (NBA), and discussed the benefits of using data to enhance DTC streaming. We agreed that growing a DTC sports streaming service requires companies to complete three critical phases:

  • Phase 1: Start ramping up live content to build viewership and consumption.
  • Phase 2: After attracting viewers with live content, capture audience data to understand their consumption habits and develop a 360-degree view of the fans.
  • Phase 3: Once streaming services mature, leverage the data to define and understand consumption, churn behavior and marketing behavior on a granular level.

 

Sports streaming services must adhere to these three phases because data ultimately makes or breaks these companies.

Phase one

Live-streaming sports over-the-top has advantages for attracting and retaining customers. These tools help expand fan bases globally.

Collecting the correct data, making it available in real-time and maintaining reliability while scaling, will be invaluable to content companies.

More people globally are consuming live content. In fact, 63% of millennials watch live-streamed content regularly. According to Tech Jury, the live-streaming industry will reach $184.27 billion by 2027. Parks Associates finds that 78% of those who subscribe to an OTT sports service watch live-streamed content, versus 25% who don’t subscribe to an OTT sports service.

Live content provides significant opportunities to collect data over time; the more live games or matches carried by streaming services, the more precise the learnings that can be gleaned from the data. Examined monthly, fan viewership and engagement data sharpen how a service presents content (personalizes) and can help determine what kinds of content and styles of approach will serve the broadest audience.

Phase two

Data has the power to explain everything. Obtaining data is just the first step, however. What streaming services do with that data — how they structure, use and interpret it — is the critical component of phase two.
According to The Future of Sports Broadcasting: Enhancing Digital Fan Engagement report, 25% of sports customers expect a customized OTT viewing experience. Capturing and properly using data enhances personalization and the fan experience. Personalization allows fans to find their favorite teams easily, favorite players and the kinds of content they want. Sports streaming companies typically target customer experiences by:

  • Generating content and marketing recommendations tailored to the audience’s interests based on viewer data.
  • Leveraging data with AI algorithms and frameworks to create advanced customer experience personalization.
  • Using automation to streamline the customer experience through personalized user interfaces.

 

For example, LaLiga’s customer analytics tool collects all the data inside one unique “data lake.” With this data lake, they can profile the data and receive a complete 360-degree view of each fan. The data should translate into creating great content, live games and personalized experiences for the fan.

Phase three

Real-time second-by-second data on viewer consumption becomes crucial in understanding audience behavior. One key piece of data focuses on if — and when — viewers turn the game off. This data informs decisions about what audiences prioritize and what holds their interest. Data on viewer consumption answers questions like:

  • What supporting content do the fans want during live games?
  • What content lengthens viewing sessions?
  • Do fans want more content focused on players, coaches or owners during or between games (feature stories, interviews)?

 

Player performance data attracts audiences as well. Large B2B businesses, like SportRadar and Genius, thrive on the entertainment value and utility of performance data. AWS’s Next Gen Stats — a leader in performance data — provides sports fans with relevant data to interpret what’s happening in the game. The platform also predicts what will happen next based on AI and many data sets. This information is the lubricant for fantasy and free-to play games and what guides many professional (and weekend) gamblers in their sports betting approaches.

Content companies need streaming partners that collect the correct data, make it available in real-time, maintain reliability while scaling and help optimize the mix of monetization models.

Data-driven companies are the future

Sports leagues with a DTC model have evolved into data-driven companies. Linear deals may provide the single largest revenue source for sports leagues and media companies, but that structure inserts the media partner between leagues and their general fan base. Adding a DTC service to the distribution mix mines fans themselves, with personalized content. Providing added value to subscribers remains a focus for many leagues.

While hundreds of streaming subscriptions exist today, those tapping into niche consumers will see more success as they use personalized data to understand, anticipate and satisfy fans’ desires.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sports data — particularly viewer behavior — offers an enormous asset for leagues. But diligence throughout the collection and analysis process remains critical. Collecting data begins with selecting the right technology partner.

Streaming services should start with a deep dive into the viewer information collected by their partner’s platform. Ask questions. Is viewer information accessible in real-time? What kind of assistance does the platform provide to our analysts?

It’s time for sports streaming services to treat tech partners as their pit crew with the knowledge and power to drive their OTT service into the winner’s circle.

Rick Allen is the cofounder of ViewLift. He has been in the video and streaming industry for over 30 years. He has led some of the biggest media companies, including stints as CEO of Sporting News; CEO of National Geographic Ventures, with responsibility for 10 business units including TV/Film and Digital; and SVP of Discovery. He also served in the Clinton White House. Allen has authored two best-selling books on Robert Kennedy and produced three award-winning films.