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NAB Announces New Direction for NAB Labs

It will become PILOT and bring in companies like Google, Akamai and Yahoo to encourage innovation

NAB Labs is heading in a new direction. And in the announcement you can sniff the evolving nature of broadcast media itself.

The National Association of Broadcasters today announced the planned “evolution” of its four-year-old NAB Labs technology division to become Pilot. It describes the latter as “an initiative to bring together leading-edge companies, organizations and educators to advance broadcast technology and broadcaster innovation.”

Charter members of Pilot announced today are Accenture, Akamai, Frankly, Google, Nielsen, Shareablee and Yahoo, along with NAB. They also are associate members of NAB itself.

John Clark is hired as executive director of the program. He will lead its launch and evolution. An NAB spokesman said no existing jobs within NAB are eliminated by this move.

John Clark “Clark brings 18 years of experience in the digital media space, most recently with the Reese News Lab in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to UNC, Clark conceived, built and managed some of the most successful broadcast television websites and mobile applications in the industry.”

NAB stated in the announcement that the program aims to be a coalition of broadcasting and tech stakeholders, “such as new media broadcasters, measurement and attribution companies, advertising partners and technology enablers.” It envisions creation and implementation of new tech for media through working groups and committees.

With this move, it appears that NAB EVP/CTO Sam Matheny continues to make his thumbprint evident. Since he join NAB in 2014 from Capitol Broadcasting Co., where he was active in digital strategies, NAB Labs has been in the news with several notable activities and investments.

In the announcement, Matheny is quoted saying, “As the definition of what it means to be a broadcaster broadens, it is critical to work with traditional and new media partners on innovations to better meet the needs of future generations of consumers.” He said the new program will seek to build partnerships among “visionaries.”