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At NAB, what happens in Vegas can’t remain in Vegas

At NAB, what happens in Vegas can’t remain in Vegas
April 03
03:36 2024

For most people who see Las Vegas as the Sin City, what happens in Vegas remains in Vegas. They hardly want to talk about what goes on in those big hotels, how they lost hefty money at the casinos, how their boxing favourite lost a fight where they paid huge sums of money for front row seats at MGM Plaza, or how they splurged handsome amounts to fly copters over the city that seems to host all the lights in the world, especially at night.

What happens in Vegas remains in Vegas. At least, the food is cheap but good. One can say that. The hotel rooms are affordable. But you can get rooms that go for several hundred thousands of dollars, if you harbour such an esoteric taste or you just want to have a little taste of fantasy that can crush your fortunes. After all, some guys in entertainment want to expire mid flight or when the ovation is loudest. So, they indulge. It is a matter of choice. Vegas has a place for all, the rich and the poor, the boxers and the human martial fighting machines of the UFC or the ordinary guys who just want to revel on the Vegas Strip. I do not want to suggest that you should challenge Israel Adesanya on the Strip no matter the amount of beer in you. The guy spares no fools.

What happens in Vegas remains in Vegas. But for most of the people visiting Vegas from April 13 – 17, 2024, what happens in Vegas cannot remain in Vegas because they will be attending the NAB Show where they expect to learn about an industry, which knowledge will be very handy and useful in their various jurisdictions.

The National Association of Broadcasters Conference and Exhibition is the biggest broadcast show in the world for broadcasters, equipment manufacturers and vendors, content creators and buyers, tech geeks, broadcast engineers, and even broadcast regulators, entertainers and Hollywood big boys, among others. A programme that originally started on October 11, 1923, with sixteen radio stations and twenty-three attendees, has become a major hit over a century later, playing host to those who really want to excite themselves in the world of broadcasting. And Vegas adds some more colour of flash and dash.

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If you are a regulator, like the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which superintends the nation’s broadcast industry, Vegas is the place to be this April because at the NAB Show, there is so much knowledge available, so much expert information and master classes from the industry – manufacturers, vendors, software developers, programmers and even entertainers, that the regulator must soak itself in the midst without giving only the operators the opportunity for such knowledge. The regulator must be steps ahead if it is to provide proper regulatory direction and leadership for the industry.

The other day, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, justifiably placed a moratorium on travel by top government functionaries, including civil servants to stem the drain on the country’s lean finances and more to save the naira from a destined collapse. The action has paid off. Sometimes, some of these actions are taken because of the unfortunate perception that most of the trips embarked on by government officials are for jamborees. Some of these perceptions are as real as day and night. These guys don’t even try to salvage their little self respect. I have been at major global programmes with some of them. They don’t even show up at events or even lectures.

But life doesn’t have to stop because of the stupidity and failing of others. This is why I want to make a case this morning. The broadcast regulator should be allowed to be in Vegas this April for the good of industry and country. A year out of Vegas by the regulator is like a year out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). It may take several decades to catch up, and the world and its inventions do not wait for the sluggardly.

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For instance, the three major pillars from which several themes at the conference emanate are: Create, Connect and Capitalise. Speaking about this year’s NAB Show, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, NAB Global Connections and Events, Chris Brown, said: “We have organised this year’s program around three main pillars – Create, Connect and Capitalise. Within each one of those pillars, we are breaking it down to focus on those different subject areas, depending on which view you are most interested in. Whether you’re coming in from a distribution view or the actual production creation side of the equation, or if you are just trying to figure out your ad model, there’s something valuable for everyone.”

So well spoken. Over 1, 200 exhibitors and over 70, 000 attendees will work within the opportunities provided by the theme and sub-themes to squeeze out some advantages and requisite knowledge for their organisations.

Brown notes that since the programme started over a century ago with men wearing suits, the internet has hit the sector, changing so many things. Products and services are now offered as software, meaning that in this year’s event, the station’s IT departments might be the ones walking around the show floor, along with its chief engineer and technical staff.

In broadcasting, so many things work together to create some kind of magic that will not fail to enchant or arrest. Apart from human capacity for knowledge and creativity, nuanced technology has juiced up the broadcast sector so much that it is difficult to ever contemplate impossibility in any sector of the industry.

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All things are therefore possible, at least with the three Cs – Create (content for producers, creators, dreamers and streamers); Connect  (content for engineers, technologies, implementors, coders and geeks), and Capitalise (content for broadcast executives, advertisers, marketers, analysts and executives). There is something for every player in the industry, the only challenge in Vegas is to locate where you and your organisation fit in.

Some of the themes featuring this year are: CaptureNew Audiences, Capture Your Vision, and Embracing the Future of Artificial Intelligence. Also to feature within  the conference are: Post/Production World, Programming Everywhere and a Streaming Summit.

As it is becoming a permanent feature in most conferences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will attract maximum attention at the NAB Show. Organisers have informed that more than 120 Sessions will focus on AI, addressing generative AI, Legal Concerns, and the latest technological breakthroughs.

To go a step further, an AI-powered humanoid, named Ameca, will present a unique study on AI media alongside Futuri CEO, Daniel Anstandig. The internet brought so much change to the world, AI will take such change to a new height and indeed teach humans how to do a better and more efficient job in every field of endeavour, and broadcasting is taking AI very seriously.

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For the regulator, this remains a challenge, new ways of doing things have emerged so suddenly. Streaming media, Artificial Intelligence, production for all aspects Social, and Over-The-Top (OTT) operations. The regulator has to find balance and be able to deal with new media as well as traditional media which may never fade away. One pot of knowledge is in places like Vegas where our regulator should maintain a robust presence. With them, like many others,  what happens in Vegas can’t remain in Vegas.

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