Going digital is a key strategy for most media groups, with new and exciting technologies available to boost how consumers experience content. That was a foundation for NAB’s PILOT to launch the Digital Futures Exchange in 2016 and with its growing interest — and packed session rooms the last two years — why PILOT is expanding the traditional one-day conference to a day-and-a-half for the 2018 NAB Show.
The Digital Futures Exchange, which will take place April 8–9, is an interactive discussion for professionals driving digital for local media. “We really look at the trends and the various strategies in digital,” said John Clark, PILOT executive director and a coordinator for DFX. By digital, Clark is referring to all things social and mobile as it pertains to the local market. “What are the opportunities there? What can they learn from it? What’s coming down the pipeline?”
The session schedule is filled with presentations and panels that address a number of the biggest digital opportunities in today’s market, including smart home technology, digital advertising, recent updates to Facebook, artificial intelligence and more.
Kicking off the conference on Sunday is the session “Tradition in Transition: The State of the News Media,” during which Michael Barthel of the Pew Research Center will share the center’s research on how Americans’ news habits have or haven’t changed in the digital age.
A hot topic for the industry is artificial intelligence. The session “AI for the Local Media Market” will examine real-world cases for putting AI to work to make production more efficient and to create personalized content experiences for users. The session features panelists Ethan Dreilinger of Watson Media & IBM Cloud Video and Omar Karim of Frankly Inc.
The Digital Futures Exchange continues Monday with “DFXtra: Digital Leaders Take Charge — President and CEO Panel.” This special panel will be moderated by NAB’s Executive Vice President and CTO Sam Matheny and will feature panelists James F. Goodmon, Jr., president and COO of Capitol Broadcasting Co.; Pat LaPlatney, CEO at Raycom Media; Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned Television Stations Group; and Adam Symson, president and CEO of E.W. Scripps Co. They take a look at the trend that the road to high-level executive positions is now going through digital rather than traditional broadcast backgrounds.
“The people who have been growing up in this digital world are now leading those companies,” said Clark. The conference isn’t all academic. After the final panel on Sunday, attendees can take part in the DFX Reception, where people can “come have a drink, hang out with your peers and colleagues, and maybe talk about some of the things you’ve seen throughout the day,” explained Clark.
While all are welcome, Clark says that this conference was designed for a particular audience. “If you’re in the digital side of the business, this is where you can come at the show to really dive in for a day, day-and-a-half of what’s going on.
“It’s a one-stop shop. You can get a good smattering of stuff there… and all of it is going to be pertinent to your strategy back home when you leave Vegas,” Clark concluded.