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Buying Into Future Stock

Complete Coverage: NAB 2012

In keynote speeches, panel sessions, conversations with regulators and tech demos on the convention floor of the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas last week, broadcasters were keen to position themselves as technology leaders, not some traditional media dinosaurs squatting and feeding on a lode of rich spectrum.

“What I do want to talk about is broadcasting’s vibrant future, and how radio and television can remain the indispensable media—even in a world of digital dashboards, tablets and smartphones,” noted NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith in his opening NAB keynote speech. Smith’s address set the stage for a week in which multiplatform delivery, social TV, the cloud, mobile video and other new media were some of the hottest topics tossed around in Vegas.

Such pronouncements about the future of broadcasting are nothing new. This time, however, it appears that TV stations are backing up their talk with some real cash. In a survey of broadcasters and TV executives shortly before NAB, the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM) found that 50% of its respondents named multiplatform content delivery as a top broadcast technology purchasing priority, followed by " le-based workflows (42%) and media asset management (42%), both of which provide crucial tools for handling and distributing much larger quantities of content to multiple platforms.

But multiplatform delivery and social media still comprise a small portion of revenue at most TV stations, which made new solutions that can streamline and automate the movement of content to the Web, mobile and social media particularly appealing. About 42% of respondents in the IABM survey said their top broadcast purchasing priority was products that would make them “more efficient or more money.”

Avid CEO Gary Greenfield, whose company launched new media asset management and multiplatform distribution products at NAB, agreed with the assessment.

“Managing those assets [efficiently for multiplatform delivery] is critical,” Greenfield said. “When we survey our customers…the two most important things that come back from them are asset management and metadata,” which is crucial for multiplatform delivery.

Efficiency is particularly important for social media and social TV efforts, which at the moment produce virtually no revenue. “Effective management of social media is the Holy Grail for broadcasters,” noted David Ross, founder and CEO of Ross Video, which ran demos of its new tools for managing social media feeds.

Not surprisingly, a host of other vendors, including Chyron, Vizrt, Grass Valley and Dalet also announced tools that would integrate the multiplatform or social TV efforts into existing workflows so stations do not have to increase staff.

Chyron, for example, introduced its new Engage platform, which allows stations using the Chyron graphics systems and work! ows for news and sports to launch new social TV products.

As part of that effort, Chyron also announced a number of partnerships with social TV players, including ConnecTV, which is working with a number of broadcast groups on what is the largest effort to date by stations to expand their social TV efforts.

On June 1, ConnecTV will launch secondscreen applications that are designed to provide additional content and ads to people watching live local broadcast content.