The annual National Association of Broadcasters show is always a spectacle on many levels. After all, it is held in Las Vegas - home of glitz, glamour and over-the-top (pun intended) everything. The show itself incorporates these themes - bright lights, attention grabbing demos, celebrity visits to booths on the show floor. Whatever it takes, exhibitors invest copious amounts of time, effort and plain old blood, sweat and tears to make a splash at the show. There is a surprising new theme at the show. More on that in a moment.
This year, a record 103,000 attendees made their way to Las Vegas to see the latest innovations in broadcasting and video. That last word is important to consider when recapping NAB. Remember, this is NAB, the B represents broadcasters. Despite the ‘B’, the show has become a showcase for video of all types, and Brightcove and I (and many others in this space) are bullish on the promise that video holds for viewing experiences ahead.
But a new theme emerged this year - one I personally am very excited about, although its preeminence at the show is surprising. I am, of course, talking about online video and cloud based workflows. Sure, 4K and HDR made their annual appearances and there was lots of buzz around the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard, for those highly technical broadcast readers. But online video and cloud were the leading theme of the show this year
Why? Just look at the number of new online video offerings that have emerged in the past several months. From HBO Now to Sling TV, CBS All Access to Walter Presents - an online video product, whether standalone or one complimentary to an existing broadcast, is table stakes in today’s marketplace. Let’s be clear. The message of NAB 2017 is true cohesion among broadcast, network and digital first programmers. No longer can broadcast and online videos be siloed elements that operate independently. Members of the Brightcove team heard one message loud and clear from technical and digital leaders: big pieces of infrastructure are moving from on-premises to the cloud. That’s a massive shift.
And these video workflows go well past simply pushing out a few streams. Now, elements like the presentation layer beyond the streaming ‘sausage factory’ and virtual channel creation and delivery are emerging as ‘must have’ components of a viable online video offering. Both of these were frequent topics of discussion at the Brightcove booth.
NAB is always a great venue for Brightcove to ‘take the pulse’ of our customers and new prospects. Two conversations I had at the show still resonate as I think back to last week. One former customer expressed interest (and relief) over Brightcove Live, our new offering for customers with event based or 24x7 live streaming requirements. They had been a Brightcove customer in the past, but moved to another provider because they felt their live product was superior. This has changed with the release of Brightcove Live, according to this customer, who will be re-engaging with us on a proof of concept test. Further, I had some digital staffers from a major media brand walk up to me at the show, saying they had internal research that showed that both Brightcove’s player and server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technologies were superior to others they’d recently tested. Though admittedly unscientific, this real world feedback from industry veterans ‘in the field’ is real validation that we are providing the value, tools and technology that today’s mature and robust infrastructures require.
NAB 2017 is a wrap and online video was the belle of the ball. A lofty position, to be sure. But well deserved too, considering how prevalent a role it plays in our everyday life. And Brightcove is poised to help organizations of all sizes to bring their 2017 plans to fruition.