The wonders of NAB Show 2024

Another edition of the Las Vegas trade show is in the books: here is what we learned from the amazing NAB Show.

There’s no rest for the wicked. We know this much is true, in the vibrant world of streaming video. Our industry is one that never sleeps, even more so when nearly all the stakeholders of the globe congregate in Las Vegas for an almost full week of networking and business activations.

NAB Show is the pinnacle of our industry’s events (together with IBC in Amsterdam). It brings together experts and decision-makers from all over the world, in one of the weirdest – albeit fascinating – places on the planet. Las Vegas never goes to bed, and it’s seemingly impossible to decipher what’s going on at the heart of it. Quite like in the video industry, to be completely honest.  

This year’s edition of the NAB Show brought to our attention several key aspects, with a few unexpected nuances. In this blog post, we round up what we learned. Read on.

Artificial Intelligence, the suite is yours to stay

Approximately 180 companies exhibiting at NAB this year had AI at the forefront of their value proposition. More than 150 sessions – part of the rich conference programme – highlighted the central role (more prominent than ever) AI is having in transforming media management, live production, and so on.

Hyperpersonalisation stood out among the various trends in the AI space. Innovation in this context is set to extend way beyond technology, and pave the way for content that will be tailored uniquely to individual end-users. It's fair to assume that in the near future every media brand will be leveraging AI to enhance content production, with reflections on the way video is consumed, closely aligned with audiences' preferences.

It’s clear, at this point, that AI is no longer just another term for execs to drop into conversation to stay relevant. It’s become integral to automated processes, enriching user experiences, and – most importantly – increasing the overall success and impact businesses in the broadcast and streaming space have. And it will be even more present in the years to come.

Creativity as we know it – still at the heart of the video content industry – will be enhanced by GenAI patterns, yet in a hopefully thoughtful approach that cannot do without adequate balance between the adoption of new tech and the nurture of the human element that will still remain prominent in the creative industries.

IP-based broadcasting

In the age of cloud-based solutions and so-called hyperconvergent solutions (another buzzword the Simplestream team heard out loud at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the past few days), the shift to IP-based broadcasting is taking a final turn. It’s allowing for more widespread remote production capabilities and streamlined workflows at any level. And, inevitably, IP-based broadcasting will be the only way in just a few years.

Today’s agenda: profitability

Making a streaming service work is… hard work. Undoubtedly, in times of uncertainty, profitability becomes a must. The industry today is primarily driven by financial constraints, and the need to make finances work with impactful monetisation strategies is a key element (hear from Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, on turning Disney+ into a growth business).

Building customers’ lifetime value is a priority, especially when retention is effectively the first weapon at a brand’s disposal to generate ROI. It all goes hand-in-hand with improved acquisition strategies too, for a final result of increased engagement.  

A quote, to conclude. Industry leader and creator Carlo De Marchis (also known as A Guy with a Scarf on LinkedIn), reported from his coverage of the NAB Streaming Summit:

Streamers are over-investing in ‘quality’, for instance using excessive bandwidth when not needed. Having solutions – with the help of AI – to just get the quality that end-users do really need can save a lot of money.

It came from a point made by Yahoo’s Managing Director Rob Gelick, and this seems to be the way forward.