Three things we learned at NAB Show in Las Vegas

The popular tradeshow was back, in presence, for the first time since 2019. Here is what we learned from our trip to (viva) Las Vegas.

Two years felt like eternity. With a pandemic radically changing our habits and disrupting our routine, it couldn’t be otherwise. It was great to be back to a major tradeshow at the end of April, when we headed to Las Vegas for the annual edition of NAB Show. Not just a tradeshow, but the event that notoriously brings together industry experts and decision-makers from all over the globe. It might not have attracted the attention of as many as it did in the past, yet NAB saw some 50 thousand people attend, and it felt great to see some human interaction on such a large scale after a long period of time.

NAB Show coincided for us with the announcement of our brand refresh, and the launch of a new website that aims to strengthen the narrative around our updated value proposition. We had uncountable interesting conversations with industry peers, vendors, and prospective clients attending the show. And we packed our bags with three essential takeaways, which sum up what we learned from our trip to fabolous Las Vegas. Read on.

#1. Innovation is integral to better user experiences

Innovation, above all. A two-year hiatus meant intensified research and development led to the release of a variety of new solutions, implemented to satisfy new needs brought by a pandemic that changed the traditional content consumption patterns for many around the world. From physical hardware to continuous software development, a few things caught our attention during the days we spent in Las Vegas. One common denominator was – clearly – the element of innovation. And the mantra seems to be something like ‘keep your audiences engaged, or you’ll lose them’.

The world of linear broadcasting needs to adapt to a mobile-addicted world, so cloud-based production, clipping and editing functionalities, quick creation of on demand assets within minutes from broadcast are key to successful services. At Simplestream we pride ourselves for being innovators that keep working on the creation of so-called next generation TV experiences. Well, the world is moving in that direction, so it’s a nice spot to be in.

#2. Monetise more, monetise better

Monetisation was probably the word we heard more often across the floor of NAB and at the various speaking events. Our Technical Director, Ashley Horne, sat down with a prestigious lineup of speakers to discuss all things Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) channels and the revenue streams that are made available by ad-supported streaming models. It’s no mystery that the FAST segment is predicted to grow to a global value of $4.1 billion in the coming years, reaching a viewership of more than 216 million monthly active users.

News, sport, lifestyle, food, health: audiences are hungry for more content, consumable through ‘live’ linear distribution that allows operators to enhance revenue streams and achieve better return on investment more quickly and with lower entry costs. Technology partners are already ‘on it’, and solutions that can help automate the live distribution of existing backlogs of on demand assets, and ‘democratise’ online content, will be integral to future business success.

#3. Content aggregation and personalisation

Let’s face it: the breaking news of Netflix’s haemorrhage of subscribers (and revenues), was a common topic among the attendants at NAB. The necessity, for content owners, is to somehow contain costs that end-users  face to maintain intact, if not enrich, their portfolio of subscriptions to OTT services. Content aggregation and bundling of services are, yet again, a largely debated subject, likely to become real (again). Together with a more targeted use of advertising, of course. Something that contributes to a much deeper, more personalised experience for the end-user.

Technology is here to help. Vendors are looking to make solutions and products more flexible, able to integrate systems that would normally live on different planets. With operators’ needs in mind, but an eye on the audiences that will consume the content the craving.