Since 2012, the Devoncroft Executive Summit has assembled senior executives from broadcasting, media companies, service providers, technology suppliers, cloud platforms and investment firms. In their sessions, they debate and discuss the most important commercial issues facing the industry.
This year, on Saturday, April 23, from noon to 6 p.m., the summit kicks off this year’s NAB on the Main Stage (N4) in Las Vegas with a host of industry players assembling in person for the first time since the pandemic. The cost is $199 per person and it requires a separate registration from the NAB show itself.
The conference will open with the State of the Media Technology Sector, followed by Strategies for an Evolving Market with Gordon Brooks of ZIXI; Michael Hallén of Vizrt; Srinivasan KA of Amagi; and Larry Kaplan of SDVI.
Next comes the Commercial Implications of 5G, Edge Compute and Internet Contribution/Distribution with Lucy O’Brien of EMG and Patrick Sproule of Australian Broadcasting Corp.
In the afternoon, there will be a session called Cinematic and Live Virtual Production: Commercial Implications & Best Practice with Barbara Ford Grant of Prysm Stages, a division of NEP Virtual Studios; Steve Read of Versatile Media; and Dylan Boucherle of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Next there is a discussion of Blockchain Technology in media and entertainment with Scott Greenberg of Bento Box Entertainment and Michelle Munson of Eluvio. This will be followed by sessions with Gray Ainsworth of Lionsgate Entertainment; Frank Governale and Phil Wiser of Paramount; Raymundo Barros of Globo TV Group; and Mike Kralek and Chris Ripley of Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Joe Zaller, founder and president of Devoncroft Partners, spoke with Broadcast Beat’s Frank Beacham about the conference.
Beacham: Joe, what are the hot topics at your conference this year?
Zaller: There are lots of different types of conferences in the industry that talk about very technical or sales issues. We want to talk about the business issues, because the technology in this industry exists to support the business model. Media companies have been changing very rapidly. We use the results of our research to program an agenda that hits on the topics that are most important to people at this time.
We’ll talk about what’s driving the various organizations and their strategies. We’ll do a state of the industry presentation where we cover basically everything that’s going on from a business, commercial and financial perspective. There’s so much to talk about. Then we go into a series of moderated panel discussions and fireside chats with CEOs and other company leaders.
Beacham: What do you want to know from the CEOs?
Zaller: One key question is who funds technology? How does technology get developed? How does that development get paid for going forward? Our companies at this show all have different funding models. Then we’ll have a session about the kind of value shift in the future of productivity. You know, we see this enormous shift away from traditional broadcast, backhaul contribution, distribution, delivery, a lot of which has historically been done by satellite. So we see the internet becoming the pipe. Also, the cloud companies have huge cyber assets. This has big implications.
Beacham: What is the major thing that has changed since the pandemic?
Zaller: The business models have changed, obviously. Every broadcaster’s primary focus is on direct to the consumer. Data scientists are needed for that and cloud-based technologies are needed to make it economical.
Beacham: What about the chip shortage? Has that hurt the equipment business?
Zaller: Oh, definitely. We have examples of people who are having to redesign their products, because they can’t get chips. Some have to do black market chip scalping — whether it’s on eBay or somewhere else —just to get very low value parts. They sometimes pay 500 times more than they would normally for resistors. It has certainly caused a lot of headaches.
We’re looking forward to this conference. It’s a great networking opportunity, particularly since we’ve been locked down for 1000 days. We’re very excited to be back in person.
Beacham: Thank you, Joe, and good luck with the conference.