Convention to Focus on New Media Topics

Apr 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

With new media as its mantra for the first time, the National Association of Broadcasters is on track to lure more than 104,000 attendees to Las Vegas for its annual convention next week.

The 2006 convention will include sessions covering Internet protocol television, Web and mobile development and mobile video and TV. The show will also feature a summit designed to train broadcasters on the legal, marketing and how-to issues of the new business of podcasting.

“This year is a really big year for the show in terms of new media events,” said John Milner, spokesman for NAB. The new conferences are designed to help broadcasters learn the nuts and bolts of producing for new platforms, such as how to build integrated audio and video and rich media into their Web sites. “The big idea here is that where everything is going right now … is related to the idea of the production and distribution of content over multiple media platforms,” he said.

That’s because developments such as last week’s decision by ABC to offer its prime-time shows on an ad-supported basis online indicates that media companies have moved beyond just sticking the figurative big toe in the water.

Local stations too will look for ways to follow suit. Some are making strides to take advantage of the full potential of their Web sites and also make their broadcasts available on mobile devices.

But they still have a ways to go. In general, TV stations should offer more video on their sites, said Mike Steib, general manager for NBC Weather Plus, who also helps to spearhead NBC’s Affiliate Futures Committee and will attend the convention. Stations need to determine what their best new media opportunities are, he said. “The Internet now is all about video. That’s what broadcasters have right now that radio and newspapers don’t have,” he said, “We have to give the consumers as compelling a video experience online as we give them on air. More video is certainly a start.”

The benefit of new technologies is the ability to reach different consumers, including those who are younger and have more tech savvy, said David Payne, senior VP and general manager for CNN.com, who plans to attend NAB. CNN offers audio podcasts for now, but video podcasts represent a possible new opportunity, especially because the video quality and the user experience with iTunes are strong, he said. “You can see how close we are to a lot of these barriers coming down, where the quality is so good and you will want to use these products,” he said.

The conference will also feature an Internet television super session on Monday, April 24, with Brightcove Founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire, who will talk about the implications of broadband video for broadcasters. Later that day Microsoft’s Phil Corman, director of worldwide partner development for the Microsoft TV Division, will headline a session on next-generation TV.

“People have been talking about how the digital convergence is going to happen,” Mr. Milner said. “There has been a lot of hype and hope and buzz, and people have been wondering when it’s going to happen. But in the past year with all these content deals going on, the conference really reflects these developments.”