Trends In Content Consumption At NAB Broadcasters Conference

Written by Lauren DeLisa Coleman

trends in content consumption
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”: Join the Rebellion – Erich Ippen, Marla Newall, Eddie Pasquarello and Noah Kadner/ Image: NAB Broadcasters Conference

The annual National Association of Broadcasters conference (NAB) comes to a close today at the Las Vegas Convention Center after nearly a weeklong frenzy of panels discussions, exhibits, private events and industry parties.

The show is designed to bring together tens of thousands of professionals in various parts of the ecosystem of content broadcasting as they intersect with breakthrough technologies and innovations across media, entertainment and technology.

In case you missed NAB conference, we’ve got you covered. Here’s an insider look at some of what will shape the future of content and technology.

There is still a lack of diversity at such events which signifies major opportunity.

NAB kicked off with Avid Connect, a special insider two-day event held at The Wynn Hotel this year.  I was asked to speak regarding millennial trends in content consumption and emerging tech behavior.

Avid is the software that powers editing ability for nearly everything from “Game of Thrones” to “Empire.”  Such insights are becoming more and more key for editors today because they want to better understand the audience for which they are cutting material.

At panel discussions both during Avid Connect and into NAB itself, the hot topic was the cloud and challenges and opportunities for future usage and storage of video content. Intel had a large presence on the exhibit floor to showcase its offerings and hold sessions around this crucial area that supports the growing worldwide demand for content.

Other tech showcased included everything from cutting-edge live-streaming capabilities, cable-less on-set production, real-time VR series, AI-enabled video/face recognition and much more.

Notable figures like ABC-TV anchor Robin Roberts added to the depth of the conference. Roberts was on hand to open the show along with YouTube’s chief product officer. Actor Zach Braff joined others to discuss the trend of the adaptation of top podcasts into TV series. High on the must-attend list was the session involving the filmmakers of “Black Panther” as they discussed navigating and developing the special effects and editing that contribute to the worldwide success of the movie.

There is still a lack of diversity at such events which signifies major opportunity. This is about owning and heading the technology that powers the content — typically sought-after solely on an idea concept or actor participation by demographics of color.

Eric Johnson, SVP of sound and engagement at Trailblazer Studios, told me:

“I’ve been attending NAB for a number a years and I must say that in 2018, I’m disappointed that I don’t see more people that look like me among the 100,000-plus attendees walking the miles and miles of floor space at the Las Vegas Convention Center.”

He continued, “Obviously trade shows like this are open to all and there is even a strong desire by many in the industry of all races to see more diversity. I can speak from personal experience to say I didn’t see (and still don’t see) many people of color in behind-the-camera production and post-production positions. So many people of color and women aren’t aware of the wide array of amazing careers in these areas.”

Trailblazer Studios creates, produces, and completes content of all kinds for TV, film and digital platforms. The company has provided content seen on TV networks such Discovery, PBS, BET and HBO and on digital platforms such as Amazon and via such content as “Sister Wives,” “Kate Plus 8,” and “Holocaust Escape Tunnel,”  a PBS special, among others.

“NAB is a very important conference for several reasons. Many think of it as just a ‘gear show,’ and it’s true that NAB provides the opportunity to see the absolute latest technology including cameras, editing and sound mixing hardware and software, drones, VR/AR gear, and so much more. But,“ he adds,  “attending the convention gives one the opportunity to see and touch (in most cases) the gear but more importantly, one has the opportunity to speak with the manufacturers of the gear and peers in the industry using the equipment. What many don’t realize is that every day is filled with panels and workshops featuring leaders in the entertainment and tech industries speaking about the top films and content we’re viewing now and what we may expect in the future.”

Johnson feels that the networking and educational opportunities are key for driving and increasing diversity in this powerful, multi-billion dollar arena.

As we look to the future of content and technology, perhaps one of the most impactful plays will be that of new voices, mindsets and creations that will reflect various hues of the viewing audience itself.

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