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NAB Promises a “Reimagined” Event

Three major trade shows return to in-person formats in the next five months

Welcome to Las Vegas and NAB Show signWhen the NAB Show returns to Las Vegas in the spring, three years since the most recent one, it will feature some new themes. It also will use part of the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which was under construction when broadcasters last visited.

Early registration is open for the 2022 convention, though right now you can only sign up for access to the floor and certain content. Registration for full paid conferences and workshops is to follow.

In the next five months, assuming current plans hold, at least three major trade shows of interest to radio will return to conducting events in-person: IBC 2021 in early December, CES 2022 in early January and the NAB Show in late April.

We can expect that all three will be watched closely for indications of how their underlying industries are bouncing back from the pandemic. What will major trade shows look like now? Will they draw the many thousands of people that they did in the past? Will attendees be sufficiently comfortable with health and safety precautions to turn out in force? Will international travel rebound?

For its part, the National Association of Broadcasters says its signature event is being “reimagined” and that it will feature “distinct destinations focused on three main pillars associated with the content lifecycle.” The pillars will be called Create, Connect and Capitalize.

Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president and managing director, global connections and events, was quoted in the announcement saying the goal is “to more closely mirror today’s media, entertainment and technology ecosystem in a way that is intuitive and makes it easier for attendees to navigate the event.” He said the show will include “curated experience zones” that support innovation, networking, education and “new ways of thinking.”

Specifics are sparse so far, but you can read more about what the organization hopes to offer on this page of the show website.

The Central and North Halls will focus on the “create” part of the equation, “from pre-production to post, including the latest tools and advanced workflow options to elevate storytelling.”

The new West Hall is where companies that support content distribution and delivery can be found, “from cloud computing to new media infrastructure.”

The North Hall will also feature “content monetization solutions.”

A fourth pillar is under development; it will focus on “critical components impacting all aspects of content creation and delivery.”

The convention will not use the South Hall facilities in 2021.

Will there be a specific radio area of the show floor?

“Generally speaking, exhibits of interest to radio broadcasters will be spread among the halls,” NAB Senior VP of Communications Ann Marie Cumming told us.

“For instance, radio programmers and talent are focused on creating compelling content. While engineers may be more focused on the ‘connect’ area associated with technologies that enable delivery. Capitalization means finding new revenue streams as radio companies increasingly become multimedia companies — something of interest to the sales and management side of the business. There are also plans in the works to make sure radio broadcasters enjoy a specially curated experience with content relevant to them.”

Before the pandemic, the IBC Show in Amsterdam was reporting around 56,000 people attending each year. CES said attendance in 2020 in Las Vegas was about 170,000. NAB reported about 91,000 at its most recent Vegas show in 2019.