The NAB Show 2023 report
It's been a busy NAB. Our CEO Romain Bouqueau was there. He could find time to visit the show. Here are his findings!
Globally this NAB was a pleasant experience. The organization was flawless. Conferences added value even though -toward the end of the show- the organizers turned a bit into a self-satisfactory and self-promoting event. NAB'23 last 3.5 days (same as IBC) which is good. And Las Vegas is defintely a way more convenient venue than Amsterdam.
From a technical perspective, the main drivers were Sustainability, Costs (profits) and AI. All relate in some way.
There is a general trend toward doing more with less. After some years of grow (and maybe over-consumtion during COVID), operators realize that they need to better utilize the resources they have. The battles over costs, contents, and churns all relate to that.
Initiatives like GreeningOfStreaming seem to gain traction. Recently I've attended the Meet and Greet April 11th 2023 webinar. A lot of people and companies are still missing in this battle, which will eventually disrupt our whole industry.
Open-source fits into the scope of sustainability. For example software like GPAC, FFmpeg, and VLC are written in C (low level language) with a focus on efficiency. Processing high bitrate, high resolution content wouldn't be possible otherwise.
When costs and convienency are considered the migration to IP technologies continues. See for example the new 2110 products at BlackMagicDesign. Every year, a lot of hardware technology enters the software realm.
The Bitmovin's Video Developer Report for 2022/2023 tells that "controlling costs" is the number 1 challenge with video technology today.
I think that open-source allows to drastically reduce costs. Most comes from mutualization rather than zero-cost licenses. There are still humans who need to pay bills. Think of open-source like an infrastructure: do you want to battle for all of the technology stack? Or, like Netflix, do you think it is not worth competing when open standards are available?
Sadly the response of the industry is ad-centric. I think there is zero chance it works if it brings no added value to the customers. Customers consume content, so the best we can do is offer them the best value for their time instead of cash-cowing them. If they think the price is too high for the quality they may go elsewhere (video games, piracy, etc. or even go for free or non-digital activities).
Interactivity was also trendy. However, wherever I asked, I could not get a definitive answer on the added value. Interactivity also often means ow latency streaming + Web applications. Content owners seems to underestimate the value of connecting their audiences around contents.
There was a lot of interest and discussions in AI. Yet the advances from OpenAI were too recent for most companies to showcase anything at the show.
A notable exception was Newsbridge with their MXT-1 automatic indexing feature leveraging natural language modeling.
Another really interesting conversation happened in the Future Parks with a EZDRM CP2A (Content Provenance and Authenticity) provenance and authenticity hosted by DASH-IF. With more AI-generated fakes, controlling the source and history of distributed media content is a challenge.
As Devoncroft put it in their Introduction to the conferences, the broadcast market is still shrinking. The future is on creating value through content but not always (communities, etc.). Flexible workflows are probably the basis of profitable companies.