Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Openning Session

It’s Monday time to get to work. I had an 8am breakfast with a client at The Flamingo and still time to catch the Monorail to the LVCC in time for the 9:00am opening session. The only problem is to figure out where it is. I like everything about this show except the lack of availability of conference schedule and room info. I have no idea where the session is being held and nor does anyone of the dozens in my monorail car. I looked for the info all last night on the NAB website and it was nowhere to be found. The NAB show daily has the secret hidden on page 58 so I head over the Barron Room of LV Hilton and although 15 minutes late it has still not started. While many think these awards focused general sessions to be content light, I find the list of issues and priority given is insightful. I was not disappointed. David Rehr (NAB president) leads off with mention of You Tube as an example of rapid changes the industry is facing and makes the point that although change is not always welcome, it can be the source of new opportunities that can have an upside if you recognize the change and adjust your business to take advantage of the new environment rather than be a victim. The You Tube examples shown were very funny by the way. David continued with the not surprising wake up call the DTV is coming (fast!) but he stopped short of a recipe for how to align business in such a way to gain advantage. Instead he gave the example that although radio had been written off, it has been re-invented and it actually growing. The implication is that the same is possible for TV. Examples of how radio is dealing with change were provided as food for thought as to what TV might do. One radio example is that auto OEMs are offering HD in new cars. David continued that availability, or push, is not all that needs to be done. He described a promotion called “Radio Here” to create consumer demand pull as well. Switching back to an acknowledgement of current tough times for OTA broadcast TV, David described a program of consumer education that will lead to an average of 642 exposures/household of DTV education between now and the Feb’09 transition. The unstated implication is that DTV improved signal quality and increase in OTV program choices will lead to improvement in business for broadcaster. However the home run for me was his next topic of TV to mobile devices. With 345 mobile devices as possible platforms for OTA DTV reception, to me this represents some real opportunity. NAB efforts in this regard are participation in industry groups such as Open TV Coalition to get standards compatible with mobile handsets such as Advanced ATSC adopted. Left unsaid however was how advertising supported OTA TV would position itself relative to subscription models such as MediaFLO and perhaps new offerings by Echostar on their recently won simple spectrum. Just before breaking for the awards part of the session, David offered a not surprising admonition that broadcasters must make “the internet part of their DNA”. He concluded with a review of NAB lobbying efforts in performance tax, DTV education, opposition to the XM-Sirius merger, fighting white space allocations, and increasing visibility of the importance of localism. My objective in attending this session was worthwhile and I found of particular interest the viability of delivery of OTA TV to mobile devices to be a possible big win for existing broadcasters.

If you have an interest in the impact of storage on image capture devices, stop in to hear my presentation Tuesday morning at The Creative Storage Conference (an NAB partner event).


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