Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

  • NAB said WHAT?

  • Tim Wilson

    September 10, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    The basics of the announcement are pretty straightforward: no April show in 2021, and taking the former New York dates to be in Las Vegas in person in October.

    But this conversation swings a little wider than usual. They announced it DURING their main competitor’s show (and NAB will be the first to tell you that their growth in recent years has very much come from Europe and Asia, not the US, whom they’d already largely maxed out), and did it in a particularly condescending way that I think overplays their hand for the entire industry. At least imo. The timing of this announcement and next year’s show certainly isn’t going over well with those European and Asian companies who have fueled their growth.

    I think we can have a non-political discussion about whether they’re on crack to think that people will be ready to the uniquely potent germ incubator that is the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2021. Seriously, think about it. I’d been going to NAB for 25 years, and every year, everybody was talking about coming home with the flu, or “NAB crud” or whatever they want to call it. EVERY YEAR. I think they’re delusional if they think this is a good idea.

    Looking at the conversation elsewhere on the web, I think they’re delusional to think that most people think that they need NAB anymore. Enjoy debauchery on the company’s dime? Sure, they miss that. But looking at the reaction among broadcast manufacturers who are willing to go on the record, they’re resentful of NAB’s high handedness in general. That the announcement began by “acknowledging” how much the industry “needs” NAB feels infuriatingly condescending. To IBC, to Europe, and I think to the industry as a whole.

    Who needs who again? We’ve already proven that we can get through the spring and summer without them, and they’re the ones scrambling for an answer, not us.

    European broadcasters are also furious that NAB announced this during IBC, and they’re forcing people to make choices that could cost them a fortune. There’s a whole thread of comments collected at TVBEurope. You should definitely check them out. There’s also a ton of threads on LinkedIn, and none of them especially positive toward NAB.

    A major theme: only a month after IBC, sea freight won’t be an option, so people will have to pay exorbitant air freight rates, or pay for two complete booths (Avid’s booth ran upwards of $1 million back when I was there, and I have no doubt that are companies paying even more), or just plain skip one of the shows.

    I’m also seeing a number of manufacturers (including Ross Video) saying that they’re currently inclined to skip anything in 2021, and think about maybe April 2022 assuming that NAB will be landing back on that date.

    (What do you think of that? Does a permanent move to Q4 seem likely, or is this just throwing down on IBC in the short term?)

    Me, I’m wondering if NAB has experienced their “Sony tsunami” moment, and just not realized it yet. Remember in 2011, we were all wondering about the end of tape in broadcast, where most TV still went to air on HDCAM rather than spun off drives. Then the tsunami follows the Great East Japan Earthquake, there’s no more HDCAM tapes for sale, and after the last boxes sold on eBay for 10x the original price, the decision was made for us.

    (Looking again just now at an article written in the early aftermath of the quake is interesting reading in this context. I’d forgotten that Blu-ray availability was also affected, and I wonder we should also chalk up the acceleration to stream as a side effect of this.)

    In retrospect, the most remarkable thing about the sudden shift to tapeless is that it barely caused a blip. We hadn’t made the change because we hadn’t had to. When we had to, we did it, and it was done. When HDCAM tapes were available again, the demand was practically nothing.

    I’m not saying that the demand for NAB will ever be nothing. Some of you will feel that your life won’t be complete again until you can get the flu with your friends from around the world. Rofl Fine. And I think that the North Hall will still be running after our insect alien overlords have taken over. You can’t very well take a new antenna array to all your potential customers. You need to bring them to you.

    Anyway, these are a few of the reasons why I feel that this conversation spreads a little wider than the usual “does anybody need NAB anymore” conversations. We have somewhat established that we categorically do not, but we also get to evaluate NAB’s declared belief that the industry as a whole “needs” them, the future of trade shows in general, and NAB’s intentionally rude timing for both this announcement and next year’s show.

    I’d love to hear what the rest of you are thinking about all this!

  • Jeremy Garchow

    September 11, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Me, I’m wondering if NAB has experienced their “Sony tsunami” moment, and just not realized it yet.

    I think there are a lot of things that are experiencing a Sony Tsunami moment.

    The rush to digital remote has been accelerated. Literally, today, I just got Gigabit fibre installed in my home for cheaper than the 120Mb down 12Mb up that was nearly twice as expensive as this Gig fibre. With remote learning with our son, lots of transferring big files by me, and nearly constant Zoom and Teams meetings with all of us, our internet was crippled. It would literally kick all of us off four times daily in the middle of the work/school day. It’s a bunch of hot garbage.

    That’s not the story, the story is that the technician, who was very good an knowledgeable, and helped to clear what I would imagine is about 40 years worth of of coax out of the way to make room for the tiny fibre, was having trouble getting the modem to light up. Signals were good, everything was good all the way in, but the modem wouldn’t respond. He then tried another modem with the same results, he then went down the street to make sure that the junction was hooked up correctly and it was, so then he called the home office. What wasn’t on the install ticket was some sort of fibre termination box. Turns out the fibre termination box is 10Gb hardware. So fibre comes in to the house, goes to this 10Gb terminator, then ethernet out to the modem via 10Gb. Right now, it’s a 1Gb connection, but there’s 10Gb supposedly coming. WTF? That means I’d have 10Gb to home from the office 10Gb. That means (in theory) I could VPN in to the office and edit with the files in the office, from home.

    I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it seems like it would change a few things.

    We are speccing shoots are there will be zero client and agent on set, but rather they will be in video village at their respective homes while we stream the set back to them. We are speccing out shoots where none of us will be there, and all of us will be viewing remote while we direct talent who is also setting up the lights, camera, and audio that we have shipped them.

    Will these types of scenarios last forever? I don’t think so, but what will happen as a result of this rush to remote? What will stick? What will our clients have learned? Certainly, some forms of production will change forever.

    This is a long way of saying, that I can’t imagine that NAB would remain the same as it ever was, because nothing will be the same as it ever was. I don’t see how things get better in time for 2021, even later in 2021 (~a year from now). There have been lots of things that companies have been forced to adopt and overcome and I imagine having two trade shows near each other in time, and far form each other in space will be another year of doing things differently than have been done before out of pure necessity. It’ll be great, it’ll be terrible.

  • Craig Seeman

    September 11, 2020 at 3:48 am

    … or perhaps international travel is still going to be a rare occurrence by late next year.

    Currently NY lists people coming from 35 states that must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

    Perhaps the real message is people in the USA will likely stay in the USA and people in Europe will stay in Europe. IBC goes first and any companies that want to come to a show that’s likely to be USA attended only can go (or maybe they have offices in the USA already that can equip the show).

    Let’s stretch this further. Las Vegas may even be impractical next October. NYC economy is tanking, hotels are even housing the homeless, the city and state have one of the lowest COVID19 positive test rates. The west coast situation is strange with heat and fire no less. What does next year look like? Perhaps an NYC show can be done for less money than ever before and, for those who want to travel from Europe, it’s a shorter trip on a flight which some find risky. NYC may even be smaller than a Las Vegas show could be but it may be all the industry can sustain.

    Not saying this will be the case but an “international” show in Las Vegas in April 2021 seems difficult.

  • Ron Lindeboom

    September 11, 2020 at 10:44 am

    This thread over at LinkedIn is quite intense and shows some of the ire that many are feeling in the wake of the announcement…

    As I remarked in that discussion, I think many are seeing that even though we had no shows this year, the market remains vital and exuberant, filled with motion, innovation, and great new products and ideas. So many new and creative doors have been opened — some kicked open despite the despondence of some who are bewildered by the phenomenon — in what some errantly imagine to be a marketing vacuum without centralized leadership. Like much of the audience of tradeshows, leadership itself is becoming more and more “localized” within the sphere of market need and desire.

    End customers for the shows will be local but for those supplying companies, they will be forced to make the either-or decisions. If they do both, exhaustion and an onerous financial burden on marketing budgets paid in a single quarter are likely going to be the result. To end-users, the preponderance of marketing messages could also become a voluminous blur of TMI.

    Some companies have already been eschewing the timeworn “April/September release mantra.” The pandemic is going to escalate that phenomenon. The distance between the customer and the product/service provider has changed radically over the last 20 years due to the ever-increasing ubiquity of the internet. Value propositions have changed but perceptions often follow at a slower pace — at least for those who refuse to admit the obvious. But reality marches on, whether we recognize it or not.

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    September 11, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    For the rest of us who live in Asia, and particularly in India, its going to be a choice between an 8 hour flight to IBC Amsterdam or a 24+ hour flight to NAB Vegas. As long as it was April for one and September for the other, we could do both trips every year. But eventually most of us chose one over the other.

    Then, its the visas. Most of us have a 10 year visitor visa to the US, but the Netherlands makes us trudge to an office downtown with our tax and bank papers for 3 years, take fingerprints and pictures, and then grant a visa that could be as short as 8 days and as long as 12 months. So, basically, we had to do this every year to get to IBC.

    I think most of my Indian friends will choose NAB over IBC if they are just a month apart. Because, for NAB we just hop on to a plane.

    About the NAB flu, I haven’t heard of anyone here getting it. Jet lag and fatigue, yes, no flu as far as I remember.

  • Tim Wilson

    September 11, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    I started this reply to Craig Seeman’s post last night and fell asleep before posting it. Rofl Oops. I’m going to go ahead and post it now, and reply to other stuff separately.

    Not saying this will be the case but an “international” show in Las Vegas in April 2021 seems difficult.

    Oh, I’m not surprised in the least that they’re calling off April 2021. That’s the least that they should do.

    I’m just saying that October 2021 seems almost exactly as imprudent.

    To me, the “B” in NAB might as well stand for “bug”, because evvvverybody comes back from that show with a bug. At least none of THOSE bugs carried lifelong consequences if you’re one of the ones “lucky” enough to get through it.

    My cousin, just a few years older than me, was not. She died from COVID last Friday. I know that you’ve all got plenty of these stories, too. And NOW is the time that NAB has to announce this? NOW? Really?

    Yes now, because the point was to mark their territory. And guess what, IBC, early autumn is now NAB’s territory.

    It’s also not that I’m taking special umbrage on IBC’s behalf. Let these guys duke it out, what do I care? It’s that NAB is wrapping themselves in the mantle of, “We know how much everybody depends on us to drive this industry” that rankles me.

    We already know how little energy an online version of NAB generates. They sent out a press release to announce that 40,000 people came by their site during “the show.” You can guess how many of those were the vendors checking to make sure that their stuff was playing correctly, so subtract that number from the total of “real” visitors. Not many.

    One thing that people are learning is that, sure, NAB was fun when everything was easy. But necessary? No. They’re talking about themselves like they’re the engine driving the industry, but no. There will come a day when it’s worth taking advantage of the expo in some context or another in a way that benefits US, and they can take their slice for the service they provide, but they need to understand that WE are the engine that drives THEM.

    Which I think they absolutely do understand. But I think we’ve learned a lot about them by how they’re going about making their case for continued relevance, and none of it looks good.

  • Tim Wilson

    September 11, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Ron wrote:

    Some companies have already been eschewing the timeworn “April/September release mantra.” The pandemic is going to escalate that phenomenon.

    Blackmagic and Apple are among the companies who’ve operated strictly on their own cycles for years, and I think that we will be seeing more of this. We should! It’s the right thing to do!

    Part of what I find so galling about NAB’s “acknowledgement” that they are responsible for driving spending and innovation is the reality that nothing creates a greater drain on productivity, and does more to prevent stable launches, than the stranglehold that they have artificially and arbitrarily created.

    (I was going to say, “and have now just as arbitrarily moved”, but of course we know that it wasn’t arbitrary at all. To quote one of the people on that excellent LinkedIn thread you link, they have parked their tanks on IBC’s lawn.).

    Here’s the problem. Products have a development cycle that takes as long as it takes. Maybe it fits into NAB’s calendar, maybe it doesn’t. Mostly it doesn’t. This is the root of vaporware. I call it fearware. People are desperate to show SOMETHING because NAB has convinced them that they will die if they do not.

    So people twist themselves into knots for weeks or months before the show, working crazy hours that wreck their immune systems at exactly the wrong time. They rush announcements, then rush releases, and customers are stuck waiting for the “fix” that SHOULD have been the actual release in the first place. Everyone has wasted time, and the amount of money that developers have wasted getting to the show is colossal. They would have made more money, had happier customers, and gotten through the year in better health if they’d just kept a reasonable pace and released the products when they were ready.

    Then there’s the drain on productivity across the industry as people leave work, get sick or hung over, come back needing a vacation, and work like zombies until they can take a break.

    Look, if it’s fun for you, good. I know that companies make plenty money during the show, but largely because customers have been trained to wait. It’s not BECAUSE of the show.

    We’re not going to get anywhere with assessing how to create a better way forward until we’re honest about how unhealthy this has been for our entire industry. The one group that has benefitted from this is a tiny cabal of Washington DC lobbyists who are fighting for the exact future that not one of us really wants, where billionaire terrestrial broadcasters are calling all the shots for media production and distribution.

  • Tim Wilson

    September 11, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Jeremy wrote:

    I think there are a lot of things that are experiencing a Sony Tsunami moment.

    What a great observation! I think it’s worth exploring in a separate thread that I think I’ll start. Movie theaters come immediately to mind as another.

    We are speccing shoots are there will be zero client and agent on set, but rather they will be in video village at their respective homes while we stream the set back to them. We are speccing out shoots where none of us will be there, and all of us will be viewing remote while we direct talent who is also setting up the lights, camera, and audio that we have shipped them.

    I’ve seen photos of sets like this, and it really is remarkable. Properly set up interviews with people in different rooms, rather than just screencaps of crappy Zoom calls. I think that we really are moving very quickly into something different, and we’re all going to have to learn a lot about processes and tools to make this possible.

  • Mark Suszko

    September 11, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    I’m thinking it may be time to go back to an earlier era when there were more and smaller shows in multiple key market cities, rather than one annual consolidated mega-show. In Chicago, it was always the Swiderski Open House that was our “mini-NAB”; you could make the drive, see everything, have a nosh, hobnob, and get home before bedtime.

    Then later in the year, we’d drive to a VMI show in Saint Louis, see the stuff that didn’t make it to Chicago, talk to some other vendors. The shows went for 2-3 days, but you really only needed one. And our visits to those mini-shows led to actual purchases. It was certainly cheaper and more convenient than the Great Migrations to Las Vegas. We never could get permission to travel to NAB, mostly *because* it was in Vegas, and there were always fears by management that the trip would get talked about in political columns as a “taxpayer-funded junket to the city of sin and gambling”. Had the NAB been held in practically any other major city, no such issues.

    As time passed and the internet came along, the need to physically go there dwindled for us more and more, and I started picking up the info I needed in places like Dv magazine and the COW here. What attending a show in person does is let you get the hands-on experience with a product while you talk to someone about it. That’s *if* you can get past the throng of people at the show exhibit and get enough of the demo person’s time… not always possible, at any show regardless of size, when the demo is something very hot and trendy and popular….

    But if the vendors have that product available at regional rental houses, you have the ability to go to that closer place and get that same hands-on demo, without the time pressure. Anyway, more and smaller is what I think might become a new-old trend over time. That’s good for the rental houses too, as it builds the local biz contacts with potential gear renters.

  • Oliver Peters

    September 11, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Moving NAB to fall is just dumb. It’s shooting yourself in both feet. It sets up the choice between NAB and IBC, not only for attendees, but also vendors. This runs the risk of hurting both shows with no upside.

    If potential growth is outside of North America, then it would seem that given the choice, IBC will win, potentially making NAB a smaller US/Canada/Mexico-centric event. Plus many of the bigger companies can get most of their message out via their own targeted events in NYC and LA plus the web. So if you are Avid or BMD, host several regional events in US and then skip NAB in favor of IBC for the full trade show push.

Viewing 1 - 10 of 17 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy