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A (Quick) 2017 NAB Show Marketing Retrospective

Here’s what NAB looked like to me, in a nutshell:

NAB = IP + VR + UHD and 4K + HDR + ATSC 3.0

I’m sure there were other things that people were talking about at the show, but I didn’t hear anything else above the roar of those half-dozen topics.

And as much as I wanted to dig into the technology, my assignment from the editor of broadcastBuzz was to stick to researching the marketing and sales aspects of the show. I was tasked with reporting on how vendors were getting attention and drawing people in to their booths to show off their technology and products. What marketing tricks and tools did folks have up their sleeves this year? What worked and what didn’t? Thankfully, I had help from the whole Wall Street Communications team at the show.

My summary report would be to say that there just wasn’t anything overly dramatic or stunning, though a few things caught our eyes. At the Harmonic booth, members of Blue Man Group would periodically pop up out of nowhere and surprise (some said “terrorize” and “terrify”) unsuspecting visitors while they were watching a Blue Man Group performance through VR headsets. It attracted a lot of attention and was said to be genuinely fun.

Other things we saw were more subtle. I really liked the white-board tables at the Utah Scientific and Arista booths. While not a marketing tool at all, they were really great for engaging customers once they were interested. Utah Scientific staff could sit down with customers and draw out and work through system diagrams right on the table. Personally, I saw some pretty intense sessions at the those tables.

Foosball was the name of the game at the Calrec Audio booth. And apparently, over the course of the show, there were some very heated matches at the table. It wasn’t just about competition, though. The foosball table was miked up, and it served as a demo of what the Calrec gear can do in a live sporting event. Clever. And fun. (I tried to convince the nice folks at Calrec that it’d be a lot easier for me to get the foosball table back to Portland after the show than it would be for them to haul it all the way back to the UK … but they were having none of that.)

Probably the most successful thing I saw at the show seemed to involve very little marketing effort at all, or at least not much beyond the basics. And that was the IP Showcase. Supported by AIMS, SMPTE, VSF, AES, AMWA, EBU, MNA and The IABM, the booth featured an interoperability demo … or maybe we should call it the Great Wall of IP Interoperability, with more than 40 vendors supplying gear to ...

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