As US Election Wraps Up, NAB Show New York Takes Over Javits Center

November 11, 2016

By Elizabeth Johnson

If you watched the U.S. Presidential Election coverage on Tuesday night, you likely saw a crowd of people gathered under the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’s glass ceiling in New York. What you didn’t see was hidden underneath that crowd - NAB Show New York was set up and ready to open just hours later, early on Wednesday morning Nov. 9.   

Despite some unique operational challenges not faced by many show organizers—think Secret Service level security during move-in—the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) team put together a strong, successful event.

This is the show’s third year since NAB bought it, which is now fully branded as NAB Show New York. 

The exhibition featured 362 companies spanning 63,011 net square feet of exhibit space, a 15 percent increase, compared with 2015. Preliminary attendance also was 15, 404. 

Organizers have built NAB Show New York to bere intentionally different from its bigger sibling in Las Vegas. 

“NAB New York won’t cover everything that is covered in Las Vegas,” explained Chris Brown, executive vice president, Conventions and Business Operations at NAB. “Distribution infrastructure - wired networks to broadband - is not the focus here. New York is where we focus more on production, film and advertising communities.”

It reflects the community it serves, focusing its content on the advertising community, news community and live events community in New York. Well-known New York figures including Solidad O’Brien and Al Roker keynoted.

NAB Show New York caters to all distribution media, including broadcast, cable, satellite, digital and live production. It’s also working to expand its offerings to into another New York industry, finance, an appropriate way that would link it to the broadcast industry.

NAB is embracing the challenge faced by many show organizers affected by the rapid evolution of technology and its impact on their industries of staying relevant by constantly reimagining and tweaking the show experience. It works hard to understand where the industry is headed and who the players are, and tries to partner with them in interesting ways.

This year, it blended the educational experience with the exhibit floor. It took sessions out of classrooms and placed education theaters on the show floor, labeling them Inspiration Stages. It also planned a program that ties to the things attendees will see on the show floor to show how it interrelates.

“We challenged speakers to think differently about the educational experience,” Brown said. “We shortened the sessions and pushed speakers to make their sessions interactive.”

Walking the exhibit hall floor, it was clear attendees were taking advantage of the educational content available as seats in the various Stages were nearly filled.

New this year was a Live Streaming Conference prepared in partnership with Digital Media Wire. Together, they built a program that reaches new media and focused programming. NAB sees it as an opportunity to traditional media to digital and learn from each other. This area is something they will look to expand further in the future.

NAB is looking forward to the 2017 show. It will move upstairs in the Javits Center, move the show dates to mid-October, and co-locate with Audio Engineering Society (AES) which will create an event that attracts about 25,000 people. Partnering with AES allows NAB Show New York to offers its audience a category not currently covered—audio. The two shows will have separate, linked exhibit halls and work together on an education program and marketing campaign. NAB sees it as a first step to creating a full Digital Media Week.

On Wednesday, Brown said he walked the show floor imagining “what would a different show floor look like?” While he doesn’t yet have the answer, he is sure they need to think like a tech-centric show, learn to sell differently and work to create custom experiences for exhibitors.

“Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith more than having all the research and data and just test something,” he explained. “We can take more chances with this type of event, be a little riskier—it takes a little time to get where we want to be.”

And if a Presidential Election Night party can’t them knock them off course; they are well on their way to getting there.

NAB Show New York will be held at the Javits Center on Oct. 18-19 next year.

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