Embracing The M.E.T. Effect

For the more than 100,000 attendees expected to hit the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center today, NAB Show opens with new conferences, new sessions, new speakers, new ideas. The show is also welcoming major digital players like Google and Facebook, as well as members from the cable industry, sports leagues, the auto industry and even NASA.

What will stand out is the significant community that’s rallied around the media, entertainment and technology industries.

NAB has named it The M.E.T. Effect — calling this convergence of media, entertainment and technology a phenomenon cemented by integrated systems, internet connectivity and a cross-connected
purpose.

“We wanted to identify a theme that communicates the transformation that has occurred and the ultimate impact that it is having both on reshaping the industry and the consumer experience,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president of Conventions & Business Operations. According to Brown, The M.E.T. Effectsm is about a future vision of media, entertainment and technology as a whole — and the nature of the change that is affecting anyone involved in these sectors.

Just look at one area — say, television. Viewers are clearly no longer bound to the TV set. That connectivity links directly to mobile, which melds into social media, which in turn converges into radio. From there, one connects to advertising, and then in turn with virtual reality.

Like spokes in a wheel, this convergence links all pieces of the media marketplace: film, mobile, gaming, TV, radio, live events, sound, social media and virtual reality.

“The convergence of media, entertainment and technology has been happening for quite some time — but it feels like 2017 has taken it to an entirely different level,” said Shira Lazar, who is serving as a digital evangelist for the show’s series of M.E.T.-themed events. She is CEO and host of the news curation site WhatsTrending.com.

By highlighting the deepening connections between mobile devices, social media and technology, “we can better understand where the industry as an entire ecosystem is headed, and how content owners and audiences alike can harness it to suit whatever their goals or needs are,” she said.

It’s a convergence circle that links and connects them all.

“Indeed, these forces are intertwined and interdependent,” added Brown. “But the enormous impact of technology has never been more evident from both the consumer perspective and from the viewpoint of the professionals who work in these industries.”

All of this means that companies must plot a future around new services and synergies. That’s leading filmmakers to consider technology that addresses augmented reality programming. It’s fueling broadcaster adoption of OTT platforms. It’s introducing advertisers to new technology opportunities like programmatic. And it’s broadening options for radio stations to expand through mobile, video, drones and podcasting.

“We are beginning to see a new ecosystem taking shape,” Brown said. “Many of the companies that participate in our show are having to change the way they do business, and they are looking to tell a different story about what they do and what problems they solve.”

“The areas of content ownership and monetization are key topics for people on both sides of the content aisle,” said Lazar. “Creators want to better monetize, and consumers want a more streamlined experience. Whether that’s paying for content or viewing ad-supported content, the overall experience needs to be a positive one.” As it has every year since its inception, NAB Show will focus closely on the technology fueling this change.

Nearly 1,800 companies are expected to exhibit across more than 1 million net square feet of floor space, highlighting the progress being made in the ongoing transition to virtualization, the cloud, 4K, IP infrastructure and drone technology. The latter in particular generated enormous headlines earlier this year when more than 300 drones flew above Super Bowl 51 in February to create a synchronized dance of lights.

It’s a perfect example of how a technology can meld and cross multiple markets: Local TV stations are looking at launching aerial newsgathering with unmanned aircraft systems; filmmakers are tapping into virtual reality, 3D and CGI; virtual reality manufacturers are targeting its technology to an expanding group that includes game developers, ad agencies and app developers.

“Technology needs to blend in and work with us seamlessly for both creatives and audiences. Capturing video should be as easy as pressing Record, and watching something should be as simple as pressing Play. The technology fades into the background, and the experience is all that matters,” said Lazar.