Shortly before the start of the 2015 NAB Show, the Daily News spoke with NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith about industry trends at the show and some of the issues facing broadcasters today.
|DAILY: What’s new at NAB Show this year?
|SMITH: We’re holding our first-ever OnlineVideo Conference, which will address topics such as the migration to over-the-top video, original online content and online advertising metrics. With consumers accessing more and more content online, this conference will provide attendees insight into the future of video and consumer interests.
NAB Show will have a Drone Pavilion in the South Hall, where aerial robotics companies will demonstrate their wares. This brand-new pavilion is especially timely with the FAA’s new rules governing unmanned aerial systems.
Also, NMX (New Media Expo) will be co-located with us this year. We expect to see thousands of bloggers, podcasters, online video and audio streamers, along with guests such as Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller. This is a great opportunity for attendees to interact with voices that are shaping the conversation online.
|DAILY: What industry trends do you believe attendees will take away from the Show?
|SMITH: There continues to be investment on all fronts in 4K, both on the technology and content sides of the ecosystem. Many companies are showcasing 4K products as well as complementary high dynamic range (HDR) imaging technology at the convention.
There will likely be a good bit to discover in the way of new advertising technology in a multiscreen world. The technology is getting more sophisticated in every area from programmatic to analytics to mobile, and exhibitors and sessions will address the new range of targeting opportunities available to content owners and distributors.
The Sony hacker attack highlighted the importance of cybersecurity. Broadcasters have seen increased cyberattacks in recent years and had years of data wiped out. Conference sessions and exhibits will be showcasing how businesses can protect themselves online and ensure data is safeguarded.
|DAILY: What growth have you seen in the Show in the past few years?
|SMITH: Since we emerged from the recession, we have seen steady growth in attendance at the Show. The last two years have been particularly strong, with the show floor growing by double digits and attendance last year up more than 4 percent from 2013. This year, more than 200 companies will exhibit at NAB Show for the first time.
Additionally, we look forward to strong international participation at the show, where nearly one out of three attendees come from outside the United
States, and more than a third of the exhibiting companies are based outside the United States.
We have seen great growth in our SPROCKIT program, which spotlights up to 30 emerging companies and provides them with high-level meetings with executives and entrepreneurs to discuss new technologies that will advance the industry. Since its 2013 launch, participating companies have seen their enterprises grow through successful funding rounds, partnerships and acquisitions. We have had several broadcasters join as corporate members.
|DAILY: What are the main issues facing broadcasters in Washington?
|SMITH: On the television side, the FCC is currently shaping the rules for the incentive auction. NAB is playing an active role to ensure that participating broadcasters are fairly compensated and the broadcasters who do not are held harmless. NAB successfully beat back efforts by the pay-TV lobby for major changes to the retransmission consent system in the STELA reauthorization bill that passed last Congress. Pay-TV providers still want to curtail broadcasters’ ability to negotiate a fair carriage right. We will continue to explain how retrans allows broadcasters to invest in local
news and high-quality programming.
For radio broadcasters, the Copyright Royalty Board is setting new royalty rates for streamed music by the end of the year, and the record industry
is pushing Congress to impose a performance fee on broadcast radio stations. NAB will continue to defend the unparalleled promotional value we provide established and emerging musicians.
Broadcasters are also running a national marketing campaign to promote the availability of FM radio on mobile devices. NAB supports this effort and believes greater consumer awareness will encourage wireless providers to enable FM chips on phones.03
|DAILY: What is the state of broadcasting?
|SMITH: I think the TV industry in general is coming off a great year. A lot depended on whether TV stations were located in states with hotly contested political races. Advertising has come back strong from the recession. Retrans has also provided a second revenue stream, which is only fair since broadcasters by far deliver the most viewers.
On the radio side, it depends on the market. Business is steady, but it could always be better. And while it is easy to hype the growth of online streaming services, the fact is radio has more listeners now than ever before. So I’m hopeful that radio will get a kick-start as the warm weather returns.