NAB2012 – all about the workflow30 April 2012
“Sinclair is a sales organisation: technology is just a tool. It’s all about the money.” Those uncompromising words came from Del Parks, VP of engineering and operations at US station group Sinclair Broadcasting. And while many of us who have spent a career in television may be dismayed at the thought that we are just working in a sales organisation, it neatly encapsulates the mood of this year’s NAB. Gone, largely, are the exciting new gadgets of yesterday, to be replaced with hard, cold economics. The always-quotable Michel Proulx of Miranda said, “multi-platform is the curve ball the industry has thrown us, and it’s a ‘remain in business’ platform – there is no revenue. So the old business model is at breaking point. You need a simpler model with fewer moving parts.” Miranda, like many other exhibitors, placed particular emphasis on social media as part of the unified broadcast workflow, rather than a separate process tacked on at the end. David Ross in his enthusiastic press conference introduced a new product called Inception which, as part of this unified workflow, had a nice feature which linked social media to broadcast news. Perhaps best suited to the lighter stories, Inception linked directly into the news rundown and could be set to send a tweet at, say, a minute before a story was due to run. That would happen however many times the running order changes. So Twitter followers could receive a message along the lines of "#Kardashian does it again! Turn on #ACME-TV now!" and by the time they have turned on the television the story would be on air. Gary Greenfield spent a long time at the start of the Avid press conference talking about the consumer and what their expectations now were, before going on to address new ways that technology could support them. In an interesting and subtle change in language, rather than talking about “file-based workflows” Greenfield consistently said “asset workflows”. Again, the emphasis is on what counts – the content – and not the technology needed to make it work. Those are just a couple of glimpses of what was the overwhelming theme of this year’s NAB: we no longer care about the technology, but how we can use it to stay in business. As Parks said, it is all about the money.