This year’s NAB Show marks a major milestone, 100 years of the event.
From its beginnings in New York in 1923, to its current home in Las Vegas, NAB Show is the largest event for media, entertainment and technology.
TVBEurope caught up with NAB CEO Curtis LeGeyt to hear about the plans for this year’s big celebration, which technologies he’s excited to see on the show floor, and where NAB Show could be when it celebrates its 200th birthday.
This year marks the NAB Show Centennial – how will the show celebrate that milestone?
The 100-year anniversary of NAB Show is an exciting time and we will have in-person and virtual opportunities for attendees, exhibitors and partners to come together, share their memories and celebrate this great community and a century of innovation. We’re going to have on-site parties and events during the show, and we’ve already started recognising great moments from the past 100 years at https://www.nab.org/100/.
What does it mean for NAB Show to reach such a significant number?
NAB Show’s history tells the story of the media and entertainment industry’s evolution from the early days of radio broadcasting to the introduction of moving images to the dawn of film, TV, cable, satellite and streaming. With every NAB Show, our industry advances and evolves as inventors, visionaries and entrepreneurs introduce cutting-edge technologies and products that spark improvements in storytelling.
Throughout its history, NAB Show has been an innovation launch pad, and each show is another step toward our future. There is something incredible about 100 years of transformation, and equally special in knowing that we will gather again and see innovative technologies and solutions that will help to shape the next century.
What would you say are the highlights of NAB Show’s last 100 years?
We actually have an interactive timeline at nab.org/100/timeline that documents many great moments in NAB Show history. One highlight that stands out to me was the appearance at the 1961 NAB convention of President John F Kennedy, who is one of nine US presidents that have spoken at NAB conventions. During his appearance, President Kennedy was joined by Alan Shepard, who had just completed America’s first spaceflight, and called upon America’s broadcasters to be partners in the US space programme.
Countless technologies have made their debut at the show over the years. The 1995 NAB Show featured the first public demonstration of streaming video technology, while the 2006 convention featured the first public presentation, outside of Japan, of NHK’s Ultra HDTV system and the debut of the Red One camera. These are just a few of the impressive list of innovations introduced at the show over the years.
Another highlight that stands out is the attendance record set in 2000, when 115,000 people visited the show. For me, the return to an in-person event for the 2022 NAB Show will always be memorable. Not only was it my first year leading this great organisation, but it was rejuvenating for our community to come back to NAB Show after three long years apart.
What’s next for the show, do you expect it still to be going in another 100 years?
We expect that NAB Show will still be going strong in another 100 years but we’ll continue to evolve as we have since the first convention.
That evolution is evident at this year’s show. We are striving to make it even more memorable and personal for every participant, and that the show floor and educational programme reflect the content lifecycle to make it easier for every attendee to find what is most relevant to them. Our task going forward is to further refine that experience so that it remains relevant and useful for individual attendees and for exhibitors showcasing technologies and solutions.
As the most important event for the media and entertainment industry, NAB Show is a model for the industry and beyond, and we recognise the importance of becoming more sustainable. We have launched a new awards programme to recognise individuals, companies and products that are promoting conservation and reusability of natural resources. We are donating the proceeds from that programme to Creative Visions, a non-profit that uses arts and media to empower creative activists as they raise awareness of critical issues. This is another important area of focus for us as we do our part for a greater good in the years to come.
In terms of this year’s event, what should visitors be looking out for?
Visitors to this year’s show should look out for Experiential Zones, which focus on the content lifecycle from three perspectives — inspiration, innovation and implementation — and offer resources including free learning sessions, technology briefings and demonstrations, networking opportunities and showcases with industry startups. In the Central Hall, they will find CineCentral, where the spotlight will shine on cinematic technology and techniques, with an emphasis on how they are now being used in traditional live broadcast projects. That area will feature workshops by the Society of Camera Operators, American Cinema Editors and American Society of Cinematographers and a 16MM film loading workshop by KODAK.
On the floor, the Streaming Experience will be integrated into the Connect Experiential Zone in the West Hall. This unique display provides the view from the “living room” and provides a great way to get a look at the user experience, and how it is evolving, across all the major streaming and OTT platforms. Attendees can see demos of platforms and devices — from smart TVs and streaming boxes to game consoles — and can test OTT services side-by-side.
Those seeking educational content will find three training programmes as extensions of our very popular Post|Production World Conference: the Director of Photography Creative Conference, the Remote Production Conference and the Visual Storytelling Conference. Designed for television broadcasters as well as streamers and other content distributors, the Programming Everywhere Conference will focus on the content commissioning, syndication and acquisition side of the industry.
Finally, it is important to again mention our new Sustainability Awards, presented in partnership with AWS. With sustainability rising as a priority for companies across the industry, we felt it appropriate to shine a spotlight on those that are leading the way on the media and entertainment side.
As always the media tech industry continues to innovate, what new technologies are you finding exhibitors are really focusing on this year?
There is a lot of buzz around the Metaverse, Web3, artificial intelligence and data-driven personalisation, and attendees can expect to see a range of exhibitors showcasing solutions in these areas. New immersive content experiences are imminent, from pure augmented reality/virtual reality or mixed reality variations to the full-blown promise of new digital worlds with users as the central character. On the production and post-production side, virtualisation and remote production tools continue to drive new dynamics, as do advances in VFX technology via game engine technology and exciting tools like “volume” screens.
As generative artificial intelligence technology is improved over the next few years, it has great promise for creating efficiencies across media workflows, and this will be a part of the discussion within our educational program. We’ll also see the rising role of data, not just in enabling broadcasters and other media players to target and contextualize advertising but also in powering more efficient production and post-production workflows.
The ATSC 3.0 Pavilion at NAB Show is a must-see for all television broadcasters, given that NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) is steadily advancing, with more stations, more receivers, more viewers and more opportunities around better picture, sound and interactivity to drive engagement. Exhibitors are also focused on 5G production techniques, particularly around live events, because it borders on revolutionary in enabling broadcasters to source, produce and publish their content when combined with cloud workflows. The latest advances in streaming media technology will continue to be a significant focus.
What do you hope the industry takes away from NAB Show 2023?
NAB Show is the industry’s showcase, its innovation launching pad, a celebration of the creative spirit and a homecoming for so many. At the 2023 NAB Show, attendees will find a rich array of educational programs and activities, not to mention an exhibit floor with more than 1,000 exhibitors with amazing technologies. The potential for discovery, connection and inspiration is unparalleled, and we’ve done our best to help everyone make the most of it.
Along with new skills and knowledge, business contacts and connections, and creative ideas and solutions, I hope people gain a sense of the progress our industry has made over the past 100 years. After all, the NAB Show centennial is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and honor the generations of great and passionate storytellers, technicians and businesspeople who built our fantastic industry.
This year, more than any other, I hope people come away from the show with a sense of wonder at how much we’ve accomplished over our history — and an even stronger sense of possibility and excitement, as we look toward all the amazing things our future might hold.