The beginning of this week has been a quiet one in the Connect360 offices. Our energetic leader, Connect360 President Steven Edelman, has been in Las Vegas at the NAB Show.
The NAB Show is an annual trade show held in Las Vegas every April. It is produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. Over 1,700 exhibitors are in attendance this year, and more than 500 skill building sessions are scheduled for the 100,000 attendees. This truly huge trade show is filling 1,000,000 square feet of event space.
Before venturing out to the wild west, in anticipation of writing this blog post, I asked Steven if he could make note of a few of his big takeaways from the show. True to form, rather than sending a single bulleted list at the end of the experience, he has sent me enthusiastic emails every step of the way.
What follows is a synthesis of the three most valuable things that our company president learned about the future of broadcast at the 2015 NAB Show in Las Vegas:
“If there was one key message coming out of the NAB show, it’s the drones are coming.”
A number of vendors exhibited the use of drones for news reporting. Each demonstration drew large crowds.
Steven said, “I can just imagine dozens of drones descending on a live news event. I sure hope these things have good navigation systems and don’t start crashing into each other.”
“The second big trend concerns streaming video content on the web.”
“Over-the-top” refers to content that is delivered from a third party to an end user device (such as laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones, smart TVs and tablets) via the internet instead of terrestrial, cable or satellite transmission. Current providers include services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Broadcasters are looking at the growth of over-the-top as both a threat and an opportunity. Steven says broadcasters see it as “a threat because their monopoly on content distribution is coming to an end; an opportunity because they have lots of good content to distribute.”
Frequencies are for Sale
A third interesting topic that Steven learned about at the NAB Show was the sale of television frequencies.
The FCC and some broadcasters are looking to sell off former television frequencies to wireless cell phone companies.
The frequencies, known as “low band spectrum” could generate over $84 billion for participating broadcasters, several speakers indicated. Sprint and T-Mobile want to compete against AT&T and Verizon for the acquisition of these frequencies in the next FCC auction, which could drive prices higher. The process that is established in this auction could affect future sales.
With so much money at play, the divvying up process is important and controversial.
According to Steven Edelman, “$84 billion is a big number and the sale of more television frequencies points to a major change in communications as we know it.” It may signal the end of the age of broadcast television and a shift toward an era of internet-based over-the-top television.
It’s fair to say that Steven Edelman had a wonderful experience at the NAB Show and learned a great deal about the future of broadcast.
Until next year!