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Technology, content creators meet at NAB
April 23, 2012
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by Mark Ollig

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual convention took place last week in the Las Vegas convention center.

The NAB calls itself “the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters.”

NAB has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1922.

The Great Content Shift: Defining Your Evolution was this year’s NAB show theme.

The show was attended by digital media equipment suppliers, mainstream broadcast professionals, entrepreneurs active in Internet social media, entertainers, and those who create the digital content we consume.

This year’s show brought together the technology-makers with the content-creators.

Both are working to provide solutions for each other, which will deliver a better content consumption experience for all of us, who are, after all, the consumers of the content.

It was estimated that more than 1,500 exhibitors participated in this year’s NAB show.

Video was a hot topic; its management, and the new methods of delivering its content across all broadcast mediums.

As you know, once the doors to the Internet were fully opened, it caused tremendous amounts of data to be collected – more than ever before in history.

Being there is so much content on the Internet to digest; the need in having it assembled in some sort of organized context becomes crucial.

When this accumulation of content is sorted and put into context, it creates structured information – content we can use and learn from.

The NAB convention included mini-sessions consisting of various media groups who talked about how content is generated, managed, and delivered.

Some of the content discussed included news, weather, sports, entertainment, education, and business and social media.

They discussed the increasing number of people who today are using a wide assortment of computing devices to create, access, and consume content from a variety of Internet sources.

This year’s NAB show also covered the convergence of business and consumer social media platforms that produce video content for delivery over the Internet.

Of course, we have been consumers of content for years, whether watching it over television, in a movie theater, or listening to it on a record, a radio, or reading it in newsprint.

Today, there is a dynamic shift taking place in the technologies we use for consuming information.

This shift is using the Internet as the broadcast medium, and a variety of computing devices for its content consumption.

We are consuming content using new technology: smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, and other computing devices, such as iPads and iPods.

Indeed, people are consuming content using newer methods; in fact, many of us have already transitioned from previous methods of content consumption.

Today, we have come to expect instant access to our content, whether it is news, sports, entertainment, or our social media sites – from wherever we are located – simply by downloading an app onto our iPhone, or other mobile computing device.

The NAB session meeting titled The Great Content Shift was moderated by Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto.

Gorbis talked about how the “content landscape” has changed since it was more-or -less owned by the big three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC).

With the arrival of the Web and smart mobile computing devices, “hardly any aspect of broadcasting has not been transformed,” Gorbis said.

“It is hard to say what the [today’s media] industry exactly is; who is in and who is out. The broadcasting ecology has exploded,” Gorbis said. “It includes individuals, tech companies, traditional broadcasters, new analytics, and software companies and social networking platforms.”

She also talked about non-human content creators.

Gorbis explained content in the future no longer needs to be created just by humans, saying “We will see bots, systems, and platforms that tweet, tell stories, and write music.” Our devices and tools will be able to understand our context, allowing them to create content uniquely tailored to individual needs.”

This year, more than 90,000 attended the NAB show.

Larger attendances were seen in the late 1990s, during the explosion of the Internet dotcom companies.

“At that time, [late 1990s] there were about 200 to 250 companies that were specifically dotcom related, and probably 15 of them are still around,” said Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president for conventions and business operations.

Today, we are seeing a whole new generation of content creators. Anyone with a smartphone can shoot a quality video and upload it to a web or social media site and have it seen by millions of people.

Bill Boss, vice-president of Media Solutions at Weather Central, is a weather webcaster who attended the NAB show.

He described Weather Central as a personalized weather content creation service that television stations, cable and telephone companies, and even individuals can sign up for to receive hourly, updated, personalized weather forecasts.

Imagine having a Bits & Bytes weather channel . . . I just might check into that.


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