Brief Thoughts on NAB 2010

Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 20 2010

Like thousands of others (some of whom are still there because of the Icelandic volcano), I spent last week at the NAB show in Las Vegas.  The events of the show have been well covered elsewhere, so this is just a short note on my impressions of the show.

After a week in Las Vegas and more than 40 meetings with vendors, bankers and broadcasters, my take-away from NAB was not about any one technology, company or product. Instead it was the general feeling that the tide has turned, and that things in the industry are starting to improve. 

Most vendors conceded that 2009 was less than stellar, but several companies such as Pilat Media, Ross Video, and Utah Scientific reported that they saw growth and made money in 2009. 

The question is whether 2010 will be better for the industry as a whole.  Many vendors I spoke to at NAB reported many projects did not go away, they just “moved to the right”, and that some projects which had been shelved are now back on the table.    In an industry where major projects drive product purchase, this is reassuring news for the battered supplier community.

Prior to NAB, and at many of the booths and press conferences during the show, the majority of attention seemed to be focused on 3D.  Yes there was a lot of 3D at the show, but as reported by Ken Kerschbaumer at the Sports Video Group, It Wasn’t All About 3D (Seriously!) As Exhibitors See Bounce in 2D Business.

As I have said previously, I am skeptical about 3D at least for the near term. Despite the hype, it’s just not that important commercially to most broadcast professionals.  My recent global study of the broadcast market found that the most important industry trends in the broadcast industry are about completing what’s already been started (transition to HDTV operations), cutting costs while creating efficiencies (file based / tapeless workflows), and creating new revenue streams (multi-platform content distribution).  If you look at the 2010 Global Broadcast Trend Index, you’ll see that 3D is near the bottom in terms of commercial important to broadcast professionals.

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