Reflections from NAB 2013

By Hiren Hindocha, President and CEO, Digital Nirvana

If there is just one conference that you can attend in a year, then it should be the NAB show – at least if you are in any way connected to the media and entertainment industry. New products are announced, future technology is discussed, policies are debated, and industry luminaries speak. This is why more than 90,000 people from over 150 countries come to Las Vegas every April.

NAB never fails to impress, inspire and instill a sense of wonder in me even after so many years. The amount of technology involved in “engaging story telling” is amazing. If you want to learn about new technology or simply be inspired, this is the place to be. Indeed, attending NAB as a participant inspired the creation of MonitorIQ.

Every year there is a “buzz” about new technology or policy at NAB. This year’s buzz centered around 4K, the cloud, and streaming.

There was much talk about “TV Anywhere and Content everywhere.” Consumers are looking for access to content on all the devices they own, and content owners are scrambling to provide them with it.

Consumption of media has changed rapidly over the past few years and streaming media has specifically exploded with the growth of broadband and the increased bandwidth speeds it enables. Netflix, Google, Amazon, Redbox, Hulu and others provide streaming content. Content owners (both broadcast television stations and print newspapers) are all producing video. Every TV station in every major market is live streaming or on the verge of live streaming their content. Some are live streaming 24×7. With large publishing companies like the Wall Street Journal producing video and publishing it on the Web, the distinction between print and broadcast is narrowing.

What about Mobile TV in this context? In my opinion, Mobile TV is either dead or at least resting in a terminal state. By Mobile TV, I am specifically referring to the ability to receive broadcast signals on a device like phone and tablets using a Mobile DTV receiver that’s either plugged into the device or embedded in the device. For the widespread adoption of Mobile TV, the receiver needs to be embedded into phones and tablets. We’re not there yet.

In the US, phone technologies are dictated by carriers and there’s no gain for the large carriers to embed these chips. Instead they would rather promote streaming, which consumes bandwidth that they can monetize.

So, streaming is the future if you want to reach your audience. Not only does it allow you to reach your audience, but it allows you to gather rich data about your audience and your content.