NAB '23 Highlights with Industry Expert Rich Wolf

NAB '23 Highlights with Industry Expert Rich Wolf

We sat down with Broadcast and Media Expert Rich Wolf to pick his brain on the takeaways, trending buzzwords, and future industry predictions from NAB ’23.

Rich’s background includes 30+ years in an executive operations role at the ABC Network.  Following that, he spent 5+ years at The Switch, and now serves as an Advisor to Brklyn-Media. Having attended dozens of NAB shows in the last few decades we wanted to know what he thought the key takeaways were.  The following has been paraphrased from his words, but you can watch the interview in its entirety here.

Top 5 Takeaways:

  1. The energy of NAB is back following the pandemic:
    2022 marked the return of the NAB show following the Covid-19 pandemic at its regular calendar date. However, attendance only hit around 50-70% of what the show regularly sees. 2023 felt like the first show attendance was expected to return to pre-pandemic levels and while we’re still waiting for the numbers to confirm that, the energy of the show felt back.  It seemed positive and most were excited to be there.
  2. The evolving role of The Cloud:
    Large public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, have solidified their standing in this industry. These are solid providers, but we seem to be at a point where companies are beginning to question the need to have all things in The Cloud.  I think we’re beginning to realize that diversification, like most things, is best and that a mix of public, private and on-premise solutions is necessary. Additionally, the cost of running a 24/7 linear channel through a public cloud may not be sustainable as people search for cost savings due to current economic conditions.
  3. IP will continue to dominate:
    Internet protocol continues to be the preferred method for moving video around with many choosing to build their new technology centers around IP domain. Though some traditionalists may still consider IP a bit of a science experiment its agility, flexibility, and ability to deliver to the home is going to continue to fuel its growth.
  4. The importance of partnerships:
    The value of supplier partnerships is more important than ever with suppliers realizing they can’t be all things to their clients. Aligning with the right partner with a common vision and goal will drive more value to both company and customer.
  5. How AI will affect Broadcast:
    Across most industries, but particularly in Broadcast, AI is really in its infancy.  The mass adoption of automation and machine operations is taking a long time to gain a foothold in this industry, mostly because the nature of live television doesn’t allow for mistakes.  But as we evolve and when implemented properly within a correct governance model, AI will drive a more compelling and personalized user experience, enhancing the role of the operator.  However, people will never be totally replaced by machine learning in Broadcast.

What will NAB ’24 look like?

Walking around the show this year it was evident that there were a lot of vendors who did the same thing.  Lots of “delivery networks with low latency” or “asset management systems.” For a lot of these segments of the industry it seems like there may be more suppliers than buyers and therefore I think were going to see some consolidation. Will that be next year or five years from now? Not sure. But if I had to estimate I would say we see 20-30% less suppliers in years to come. Differentiation is key and I think that were going to see a lot more driven by personalization in content. That’s where the industries growth is going to come from because that’s really attractive to advertisers which in turn leads to monetization—another major buzz word from this year’s show.