Huge demand for Indian content in US: Chris Brown, NAB Show prez

06 Nov,2011

Chris Brown, President, The NAB Show, talks to MxM India’s Rishi Vora on how he’s looking at India to participate in a big way in the global event starting April 14 – 19, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.  Edited excerpts:

Q: It’s been 90-odd years since The NAB Show was first introduced. How has the event evolved over the years?

The NAB Show started as a television-radio event in the US at a time when media—primarily radio and television—were just about introduced. The focus was on technology, very basic in nature. The industry was evolving and you basically had small station operators. Over time, technology became more sophisticated, the internet started to become a potent medium, software started to play a major role. Then came high-definition TV which is a big plus for the industry.  Our audience became much more diverse; they began to expand into whole world of production and that tied us with the film community—the Hollywood and the Bollywood community. We then got into the enterprise community, covering segments such as retail and healthcare, companies that want to build content for entertainment or communication purposes.

So effectively what we are doing is bringing buyers and sellers onto a common platform to meet business needs, to enable buying, selling and distribution of great content around the world. We get participation from more 150 countries. We are the world’s largest media and entertainment event. Our audience demographic is very wide, it covers television in all forms – cable, satellite, internet, mobile and cinema—and it’s a big reason why we’ve come to India.

Q: Does the majority of the participation come from the US?

Thirty percent of the total participation is global, and that’s a very high percentage. More than 2,500 people come from different countries.

Q: What are your expectations from the 2012 event as far as the number of delegates are concerned?

We expect to have 95,000 participants out of which 25,000 to 28,000 will be global participation.

Q: How many do you think will participate from India?

About 750 to 1,000.

Q: What are your plans for the 2012 event that is schedule to take place in April?

There will be focus on things like connected TV, and we’ll have new things like an Apps pavilion and a Cloud Computing pavilion. We are also bringing focus on Online Video.

Q: Are you talking to YouTube too?

YouTube is a company that has been on the show in the past, not in a big way but we’re trying to get them back. They have not committed yet but we hope they do.  But yes, there is no doubt we’re putting heavy focus on content platforms like these and that’s why we’re here to talk to companies and try and get them to the event, meet other companies from around the world, and explore business opportunities.

Q: What’s the USP of NAB as a global event?

We’re very strong on the digital media side, helping folks on the buying and selling space connect to each other. So YouTube and some major players in India and US, we try and get them together. The other part is just the straight connection of international content where it makes sense around the world. And in the US, we think, there is a huge demand for Indian content.

Q: What’s in it for Indian participants?

It depends on what kind of a company they are and what their focus is. If they are coming from more of a technology side, I think what they would want to do is come and understand trends—where is technology heading and how is that going to drive the business going forward. The other thing on the technology side they can do is, develop partnerships with companies that can help leapfrog their business to greater levels. If they are in the content business, they would want to build international alliances, partnerships and JVs etc.

Q: How was the response from India last year?

We had about 600 delegates from India.

Q: Why is it that a delegate has to pay a separate fee for the conference and a separate fee to participate in the show?

The conference is a different offering, and hence we charge a fee for that. We get the best speakers across the globe to share their knowledge and experiences, so there is huge value on that. However, it is not a huge revenue generator for us by any means. This year your focus is more on India, China, US and the UK. What are the parameters that determine the focus countries?

For the last four-five years, China has really been on that list with India. So we look at economic stability, how much growth, whether there has been transition to HD TV etc. Brazil is generally the top country in terms of participation with close to 2000 participants every year. India is very much the focus country now. We are spending more time in India than in China. That’s primarily because our focus is on content. India is today producing top quality content that needs to go global, whereas China is a hardware driven market.

Also, what we bring to the table for our participants in India is the scale. We are the largest media and entertainment event in the world. It’s a showcase of the world’s latest technologies.

Q:  What companies in India are you initiating talks with?

We are speaking to Balaji, Shemaroo, Idreamz, UTV, Reliance, Hungama, Big Synergy, Tata etc. The idea is to get a cross section of companies, across television, digital and films.

Q: How big a challenge is it to market this event globally?

It’s tough! We do a lot of work through the US Department of Commerce, so that connects us with embassy contacts around the world and that helps us reach local companies in different markets. We also work with trade associations in different countries, publications etc.

Q: Should we expect many Indian participate as speakers in the event? Have you already got some names on board?

We’re trying to get them but none have confirmed yet. We are hoping to get some really good speakers from India. We have extended our invitations to companies like Reliance and UTV.


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