Major annual industry conferences such as the National Association of Broadcasters Conference (NAB) and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and others are vital to the industries and market segments in which we work.
While we closely track technology and business announcements throughout the year and attend events for our business as well as for how they impact our clients and their vendors and competitors, the annual conference enables us to track various trends and the penetration of many tools, techniques and services.
Year to year changes are often little more than incremental as additional companies enter the field with various technologies.
Continued presence over a period of several years proves the sustainability of technologies and concepts, provides better insight into the progress, or lack thereof, and assists in determining market acceptance, the ultimate goal.
A product’s introduction may be limited initially to but a few companies that work in that segment. In time, the segment grows, spawning other business and support organizations, not just along the horizontal value chain but in the verticals as well, as the markets presumably expand with customers to support the innovations on a national and global level.
The basis of the analysis is not limited to what we see on the show floor, but what is said at the various panels and related conferences, as well as what is said in discussions we have with people at events, in addition to the many press accounts we read.
This is an observation, the evolution of various technologies, that we have been thinking about as we return from several informative, engaging and even entertaining days at NAB, especially as it pertains to the future of TV and content production and distribution.
It is a macro overview of the many diverse, but often interconnected businesses that comprise a major show such as NAB.
In particular, 4K and cameras & cine gear had a significant presence at this year’s conference, although not the only observations we have from NAB 2014.
GoPro and mini cameras and related products –GoPro is a company that seemed to come out of nowhere several years ago and has experienced significant growth since then. Their booth is packed throughout all shows we attend where they exhibit. Their products are not just at their own booth. In the years since their founding, an entire eco system has grown based on GoPro products.
We have seen products such as steadi-cam types of carriers for the cameras, from one that can be held with a single hand to those that can be added to tracks, whether suspended on a guide wire with and without a stabilization unit, to traditional tracks used in a motion control set up.
Due to the full features of the GoPros and their very light weight, we were not surprised to see drones of all types for this product.
This is but a small part of the overall impact this company is having on production of content of all kinds.
Seeing the impressive infrastructure of related products enabled by the GoPro, leads me to think that it will bode well for how their forthcoming IPO will be received by the market.
Drones – During the past several years, there has been a growing number of companies with drone related products. This year’s NAB, with the show’s emphasis on production related tools, has had the largest presence of drones to date.
This category seems to be dominated by helicopter type drones, although there were a couple of traditional airplane style devices.
While the user friendly nature of a Go Pro on a drone was prevalent, there were companies showcasing drones that could hold one or two traditional digital cine cameras. It would seem that with the right sensors on the acting talent and picture cars, and with GPS on the devices, the drones could track shots easily. They will also be instrumental in getting shots that a crane may not be able to get or in places where it is too dangerous or otherwise not conducive to accomplishing it efficiently and economically.
Look for this market segment to grow considerably over the next few years. This is a business that for all intents and purposes is still in its infancy, but will soon reach adolescence.
In time, there will be FAA regulations over how they can be used, where, items that can be carried and many more.
Cloud – It is impossible to reflect on NAB without a discussion of the impact of cloud related services. From digital storage to services and technologies involving migrating files from point to point and on to security considerations, rendering, compute cycles and more, the cloud was a term front and center throughout the conference.
With the increased bandwidth and innovative technology that enables large files in the world of big data to move more efficiently, the use of the cloud will continue unabated. Perhaps it is paving the way for the long awaited IPTV content delivery that will be ubiquitous in the next few years with cloud DVRs at its center.
Dynamic ad insertion – It appears that there were was an uptick in the number of companies offering the ability for dynamic ad insertion. This ties in with the use of DVRs and in IP delivery. If a show aired originally on a Thursday night, the night when there are a lot of movie trailer ads for “tomorrow’s” releases, why present an outdated ad if the show is viewed several weeks later on DVR? While there are presumably various rights and other business issues involved, they can be solved and most will in the coming years.
UHD/4K – There is no denying that the ecosystem for 4K is developing almost unabated as the TV producers are seeking to future proof their content, and movies will be shot more and more in 4K or higher to ultimately provide a better cinema experience than is now the case. Inevitably, as we have written in the past on several occasions, the theater operators will need to upgrade their systems to compete with the at home experience. Christie and Laser Light Engines are two technology companies that we have seen to date that are taking the right leap into next generation projection and given what we saw at NHK projected in 8K and in several camera systems, 8K while not a certainty by any means, is moving forward. Stay tuned until next year.
Consolidation – Inevitably as industries grow and market segments abound, some form of consolidation takes effect. Some companies create a better product/service and thus succeed while others fail to gain traction in the market, while others, even with the “right” product, do not succeed due to not having the right team to execute or due to other market forces.
There is no shortage of topics to cover in a Perspective on NAB, but the foregoing provides a front of mind discussion of some that we see as significant to the industry, our clients and to many of us as consumers and observers. Follow our posts on social media for other commentary on the exciting changes that take place in this dynamic NAB marketplace.
As for The Shindler Perspective
With clients in various aspects of content production and distribution, either directly or indirectly through the wide range of support services, we monitor the latest occurrences in the broad industry of entertainment and entertainment technology.
To that end, the various conferences that we attend, such as NAB, and the many other industry conferences and panels in which we get involved are a means of not only remaining current, but also serve as a means of leading discussions on forward thinking topics of import to the industry and, of course, to our clients and prospective clients.
Digital Hollywood has been a forum in which I have played a role for many years with panels on a wide range of topics. For the spring conference, there are two vital and very timely topics, which, along with the panelists are:
Tom Adams, Senior Principal Analyst, US Media, IHS Screen Digest
Greg Ireland, Research Manager, Consumer Markets: Video, IDC
Cindy MacKenzie, Managing Director, Entertainment, Media and Communications, US, PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers)
Dounia Turrill, Senior Vice President, Client Insights, The Nielsen Company
Eric Bee, Product/Lead Producer, Chaotic Moon Studios
Barry Sandrew, PhD, CEO, Legend 3D, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Green Hornet
Blair Westlake, Principal, Mediasquareup
Nicole Prentice Williams, Founder and Chief Media Strategist, Prentice Williams Media (Two-time Emmy Winner)
Evan Young, Senior Director, Product Marketing, TiVo Inc.
With the backgrounds and experience as well as the companies represented by these individuals, these panels promise to be informative and engaging.
Both are on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:45 AM and 10:45 AM, respectively. Digital Hollywood is at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey, California.
Cloud computing and storage are a part of our everyday workflow, at least for most of us. How we get files to/from the cloud is at times a challenge, depending on where we work, live, size of files, and other factors.
At the Creative Storage Conference, a conference dedicated to what is important to the creative community, I am moderating Trekking to the cloud – wired, wireless, cellular enabled and satellite – looking to the future. The event is June 24, 2014 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Culver City, CA. Panelists will be announced soon, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or Google +. Click here for a discount of $100 for the Conference.
We do not often comment on or post about prior panels, but the Amplify Roundtables The Business Of Sports…How Technology Is Changing The Game event held at and sponsored by United Talent Agency was particularly pertinent, with the SuperBowl having been held a week prior. Not surprisingly, it was a very well attended event. The discussion included not just football, but a wide range of sports biz related topics, from retrofitting stadiums/arenas with the latest technology to broadcast techniques and cameras, replay systems, streaming media and social networks, among others. If you missed it, you missed out.
Trends in the Marketplace and Other
Trends in the Marketplace – In our most recent newsletter, we mentioned the decision by Paramount to discontinue distribution of movies on film in the United States. Since that time, for those who may have missed the announcement, Deluxe Laboratories has announced that they are ceasing to process film in Hollywood, having already closed their London facility. Celluloid – RIP
Comics reflect reality – Many producers, directors, talent and others comment about Hollywood studio accounting, some for good reason, others, not. However, it appears that even Spiderman may not be getting his due in this Bizarro comic. Although written a number of years ago, Understand Before You Sign is still relevant. If any of you know Spiderman, please send him the link, too.
All that said, I am looking forward to the forthcoming Spiderman movie. Are you? Will this be a blockbuster or not?
We are constantly keeping our eye on trends in the marketplace that shape all manner of products and services in entertainment and entertainment technology. In between these periodic consulting newsletters, we post comments, links to informative news articles, comics reflect reality and news of events we attend and speaking engagements on LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, and Google +
In the coming months, we’ll be watching such diverse topics as consumer electronics, TV and movie content production and distribution, virtual production, box office, incentives and their impact on the industry, among others. So, be sure to connect on those social sites if we are not already connected there.
Please feel free to send your feedback on what you read here, pro or con or other matters of interest to you.
For The Shindler Perspective, Inc.
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© 2014 The Shindler Perspective, Inc.
Marty Shindler is CEO of The Shindler Perspective, Inc. a husband and wife consulting practice with a pedigree that includes a Big 4 firm and a top 5 business school, with additional experience at 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lucasfilm/Industrial Light & Magic, Kodak’s Cinesite and Bank of America. Shindler has been involved as either a panelist or a moderator at forward thinking events for The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, SMPTE, NAB and Digital Hollywood among others, all on matters related to the business side of entertainment technology.
Visit www.iShindler.com for more information.