2024 NAB Show Stock Photos

2024 NAB Show Stock Photos

NAB 2024, was a whirlwind again. By the end of it I came to feel that the vibes were cautious and practical. For the most part, there were few if any grand pronouncements and promises of radical transformation; at the same time, the doomsayers had been forced to temper their prophesies.

A few reflections from the show:

First: Everyone is trying to do more with less, or perhaps selling a solution to help customers do more with less. Content owners and rights holders are feeling pressure to show profits like they have not felt before. Budgets are under a closer microscope and this translates to services and providers promising new ways to monetize existing assets or squeeze more operational efficiencies out of workflows. This is a functional adaptation. In comparison, to 2023 when everyone spoke about the likelihood of recession in hushed tones. They feared it to be likely but afraid that giving voice to the idea would call it to reality. No crash has materialized. However, persisting high-interest rates have forced a new kind of budget discipline and the ecosystem is responding.

Secondly: as we have seen so much consolidation recently, there is a lot of talk about modularization and composable software. Providers are pitching that customers need not buy the one big toolbox, they can pick and choose which tools they want if they already have a preference for one or another that they want to keep. Niche tools are being bought up and bundled together, and while many of these providers have a long-term aim to unify the portfolio they are at least for now emphasizing that it is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Third: One of the few areas of significant growth potential is live sports. Leagues, broadcasters, and a variety of rights holders are trying to bring to wider audiences content that has been relatively segregated and hard to find or not broadcast previously. This new arena is driving a lot of the conversations up and down the value chain, with new toolsets coming out to help content owners squeeze out every last bit of monetization potential.

Finally, no discussion would be complete without mentioning AI. It continues to be a looming presence just about to rapidly transform everything. However, I think expectations have been tempered to some extent. There are a lot of companies making noise about AI, but few have brought forward products that actually transform workflows…yet. I have seen a few companies and talked to some at the show, that have tools -and if they do what they seem to do- could really be game-changers in managing media content and making analytics intelligible to the layman. But these are not commercially available yet. Perhaps by Q4 of this year, we will see real world implementations.

This marks my second occasion to trace the broader impressions from NAB. This year seemed to have less traffic than las year. Many Exhibitors/vendors I spoke with had the impression that they saw less casual traffic, but there were still deals to be made. So if the quantity was noticeably down, the quality was about the same.


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About Nicholas Baugh

Nick Baugh works in Frost & Sullivan’s Digital Content Services team covering content delivery, media workflows, and emerging content formats.

Nicholas Baugh

Nick Baugh works in Frost & Sullivan’s Digital Content Services team covering content delivery, media workflows, and emerging content formats.

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