Friday’s Memo — Richer Biz at NAB

Many consider attendance numbers at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas a barometer of broadcasting health.  Examining raw counts fails the reasoning of statistical analysis.  Evaluation of those visiting the American desert this week requires some interpretation.

Quite a few attending the National Association of Broadcasters confab were upbeat about business despite more than 20,000 fewer attendees.  Official NAB reporting of preliminary attendance is 83,842.  Final numbers are promised.  NewscastStudio writes attendance declined significantly from the 100-thousand plus report last year. 

The Radio Television News Directors Association meeting at NAB has yet to publish assemblage results.  RTNDA attendance pales NAB participation so much as to be insignificant.   RTNDA outgoing president Barbara Cochran in a TVWeek interview expected 2009 involvement to fall below 775 journalists attending in 2008.  

One thousand took part in RTNDA meetings in 2007, however same year numbers were a few thousand more for NAB.  A huge contingent of exhibitors and supporting staff haunt NAB.  The big one missing this year was Apple.  Fewer support RTNDA although many bankroll the PBS Technology convention held before NAB.

The Broadcast Education Association meets after NAB.  I can empirically tell you Las Vegas is a city abuzz when PBS meets early but a ghostly environ when BEA gathers late.

Broadcast Professionals’ group discussion on NAB attendance had a paltry three posts to give an indication of worldwide interest.  I spoke with a number, like myself, who skipped Nevada this year.  However, I also talked to a many who attended the technology flea market for broadcasters, content producers and distributors.

Those in attendance, everyone I spoke with or read about, agreed the quality of business discussions in Las Vegas this year felt more serious.  Many leave the desert expecting a greater chance of business opportunity.

The numbers of attendees were down at NAB but attitudes regarding commerce were greater.  Exhibitors felt those attending were essential decision makers offering solid transactions.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing examines news maps next week.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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