NAB 2016

NAB 2016: Tech Advances You May Have Missed, Part 2

No surprise, NAB 2016 was packed with as much innovation in every product segment as the 2015 edition. So it’s a pleasure to walk to the edges of each hall in search of technology breakthroughs attendees may have missed.

Part 1 covered innovations in video and TV technology. Here’s a look at hidden gems in social TV, an area I’ve been studying for years.

Social TV From … Microsoft?
Never.no, iPowow, Telescope, Postano, Tagboard, Vidpresso, Wayin, ExciteM, Maestro.io: these interactive/social/participation-TV companies have cropped up over the past few years to help sports networks bring viewers into co-creation of live TV content. These vendors have brought us a long way from the iconic viewer-voting success of Fox’s American Idol, sponsored by AT&T Wireless.

Now Microsoft has come out with a product that could take social TV across the finish line. At NAB 2016, Pulse was tucked away at a pod within the Azure booth, and it’s another big win for CEO Satya Nadella’s cloud-led turnaround at Microsoft. With Pulse, Microsoft has the opportunity to consolidate the wild west of social TV. I was glad to see such a mature, well-designed product from the Azure team.

Pulse allows you to easily create polls and track audience sentiment at any time during a broadcast. It is a browser-based product. That’s a big win since the social-TV startups that tried to push app downloads have failed.

In terms of features, Pulse seems to have everything the upstarts have and more. In short, it may well take interactive and social TV to a new level, tapping into an estimated audience of 57 million viewers, who vote, post, share, or comment on TV today (source: The SocialTV Index 4th edition).

Social-Content Recycling
Anyone who has maintained a social presence for a brand, sports network, team, or league knows that the operational side of content marketing is about as relentless as it gets. There’s a flood of social content that marketers need to cut through, which requires a stream of fresh, compelling posts. Or does it?

My own social-marketing experience tells me there’s another success factor in achieving high social-content ROI: recycling. The business of sports is truly anchored in real-time stats and live games. However, precisely because of that, it could be that sports-media companies are undervaluing the potential for recirculating and recycling content from the past.

For that reason, TrueAnthem’s pitch, from the NAB 2016 Sprockit exhibit, resonated strongly with me. TrueAnthem uses a sophisticated analytics platform to intelligently detect content that can be relevant beyond its publish date and then automatically recirculates that content when it will be most effective.

The recycled content mixes with other, fresh content that may exist on or off a network’s owned website and social platforms. TrueAnthem takes robust content scheduling to the next level with content ingest, scoring, and predictive analytics to enable a robust, automated social-media–recycling program.

Social-Video Creation: Squares, Rectangles, Verticals
If you think back to the popular topics at NAB 2011, you’ll recall that
“fast-turn content workflows” was a featured user story at many MAM vendor booths. Also in 2011, SnappyTV was launched, validating the digital teams’ demand to get “stuff from air to digital” as quickly as possible.

We’re past that now, and content-creation workflows have become faster, if still not quite fast enough.

But, between then and now, managing the turnaround of content from live and/or linear TV creation into publishing pipelines across all the social platforms has become enormously complex. It’s not just how fast it can be done. It’s whether the video is square, rectangular, or vertical and whether the text and graphics placed on the video will even be viewable in all social, mobile viewing contexts.

Vizrt’s Viz Story is a new social-video–editing and -publishing product that focuses on bringing simple, multiplatform social-video–publishing tools to its roster of broadcast-television customers.

It’s a browser-based product, which makes it well-suited for the complex collaborations needed between digital-media teams and live-broadcast–production teams.

The product is designed to make it easy for digital teams to repurpose on-air video to any social platform on any device, accounting for square, rectangular, and vertical resolutions and leveraging advanced NLE, graphics, and voiceover tools to maximize the production value of the repurposed content.

It was great to see so much innovation at the NAB Show again. Next up: IBC!