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NAB 2000: The Next Episode

The NAB event offers us various opportunities: to overdose on information, to regain the ability to be amazed and surprised, to suffer technological intoxication, to participate in a physically exhausting experience, and to rediscover that it is materially impossible to see everything.

Every year "everything" is much more. This is one of the prices of convergence. Convergence is the magic word that has served to describe the event for the past few years. And it's also the most overwhelming reality in our industry. Several years ago NAB ceased to be an exclusive show for the radio and television industry. It is now the meeting point of a complex industry that brings together entertainment, production, consumption and communications around the topic of information transport.

What is the keyword? Diversity. The strong segmentation of our industry is evident at NAB. This event is divided by many formal and informal lines, drawn by the inexorable force of supply and demand. NAB is a commercial event, and necessarily, a reflection of the mobilization of capital that conditions the development of a very American industry.

Traditionally NAB has been the stage chosen by the most important players in the industry to make their designs public. Explosive statements, such as the publication of the agenda for the migration process to DTV in the northern country, are a good example. Seemingly anodyne lectures whose importance is recognized many years – and many dollars – later. Launch of companies, products or ideas. And many technological demonstrations that can become historical events or resounding failures.

In short, NAB is for some a grandstand, for others business space and for most a monumental high-tech supermarket. And for everyone it is, above all, the opportunity to catch up, to soak up information to remain competitive.

- Publicidad -

The world is a handkerchief

NAB's exhibition area is a projection of the market conditions of information transport technology. In fact, the distribution of spaces makes important market trends evident. The alert viewer can see how some companies cling to their traditional niches while others seek success by making an effort to stay present in several sectors at once. Some of the visionaries who a few years ago entered the arena with original ideas offer great deployments, while others simply do not return. And as is often the case, the most important events occur far from the public, in private spaces, where the agreements that will determine the character of the industry in the future are closed.

Faced with this pocket version of the world of communications, what is the role of the participants of the commons? For many NAB has an almost mythical character, which this year may be accentuated somewhat by the millenarian farce ... After all this is the first four-digit NAB. In NAB2000, as every year, you will find a heterogeneous mass of entrepreneurs, students, musicians, photographers, videographers, editors, artists of all kinds, designers, producers, engineers, technicians, directors, managers, presidents, filmmakers, journalists, sound engineers, and all kinds of curious people.

Questions and Answers

When the world was simpler NAB was an inexhaustible source of answers because it offered reasonably precise solutions to clearly defined problems. Many of the great technological migrations in the radio and television industry were driven by the periodic appearance of novelties at NAB or other similar events. NAB was the space that allowed us to know "the next step", the new toys that the industry was going to force us to adopt.

In the current circumstances all the characters who are interested in events like NAB share a question: What is the space they should assume in the industry in the near future? This question is of the utmost importance both for those who will attend NAB2000 and for those who will observe it from a distance, aware of its importance as an industry forum and space for reflection. Each year NAB is expected to help clarify the picture, to provide lights that help orient itself in some way in the midst of the chaos produced by the accelerated development of the industry in our daily lives.

At this time the problem of updating is not limited to selecting products that are on the shelves. Our real problem is figuring out who we want to be in the industry, because the above definitions just ran out. NAB is no longer a resource for answers because product procurement is not enough of a response to continue to function successfully in our industry. For responsible professionals NAB should be a source of questions.

- Publicidad -

NAB2000 is one of the last opportunities we will have to help us define who we are and what we want to do, because after the upheavals of recent years, the industry is already acquiring a stable character. Convergence is already a fact, a market space rather than an advertising slogan. The race to a new way of doing things has already begun and traditional media is no longer viable. Now the problem is one of competence, not experience.

What about us?

For Latin American entrepreneurs, the problem of remaining viable in the information transport market has a completely different character. We have to admit that our communications market is not compatible with the high-consumption environment that supports the industry model presented to us by an event like NAB.

It may be interesting to observe the poor results of the big Internet entrepreneurs who intend to attack the Latin American market and that must be assumed as an alarm bell: Our markets are not ready to support the rapid development of electronic commerce thanks to the accelerated development of virtual communities. It is even possible that in some countries the market will not be able to support even the commercial models of free access to the network.

A market that works in this way is clearly not ready to support a rapid migration to video on demand, interactive content, mass digitization or high definition. At least it is not ready to migrate at the same pace as the markets that originate technological development in these areas and this seriously limits the options of local entrepreneurs.

This problem loses some relevance thanks to the bitter reality that in many cases simply forces producers to put innovation aside. A mass media market that is inserted in strongly depressed societies tends to leave aside cutting-edge technology. Although it must be recognized that in the last two or three years many television companies in our region have achieved great successes by balancing high technology and traditional systems, especially when it comes to setting up totally new operations that do not have to drag the burden of large investments in obsolete equipment.

- Publicidad -

In short, Latin American traditional media entrepreneurs face two problems simultaneously: They have the immediate need to create new business models that are in accordance with the evolution of technology while developing a market for these models in the midst of especially difficult conditions and essentially different from those of the environment for which these new communication options have been designed. on. And on the other hand, they have to write the script and also create the stage for the next episode of the development of the industry in our region.

However, it is clear that technological innovations will have a very strong presence in our region in the coming years, both to support the consumption of new media in the sectors with greater purchasing power and to support the inevitable development of businesses based on data transport. These market conditions will again impose on us the need to operate as peripheral customers of a communications market that is maturing very quickly. And in this framework, it is especially important to rely on events like NAB2000 to be able to ask the right questions.

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