This was only my second year at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, so I’m hardly an expert. But with a tight focus on IPTV and its players, I have a good sense of what is going on.
Show veterans (and Vegas cabbies, always a good source of information) said NAB attendance was off significantly, both in terms of vendors and attendees. The aisles were wider, several noted, the outdoor equipment display was much smaller and here and there, booth spaces were empty. Attendance was notably down from last year — for every busy booth space, there were at least two more occupied only by their booth personnel.
That said, every single IPTV vendor I talked to, and I talked to lots, said NAB was a good show for them, and some used works like “tremendous.” Booth traffic may be down - although companies like Tandberg saw little dropoff - but universally, the vendors said the people they want to see, those making buying decisions on IPTV, were at this show.
John Glass, executive vice president of marketing for Nevion, was typical in his remarks. “We understand that people’s travel budgets were cut,” Glass said. “But the decision makers are here, and we are having good meaningful discussions.”
More than one vendor contrasted NAB with TelcoTV and said this show was much better for them as a sales opportunity, which, we must remember, is what trade shows are all about. So has NAB become the U.S. telecom industry’s defacto video event? It may be early to draw that conclusion, but right now, the answer seems to be yes, especially for independent telcos (anyone other than AT&T and Verizon). Those folks were here in force, the vendors said.