Buzz and Excitement in Las Vegas and Beyond: Spring 2024 Insights

Agile Content’s Johan Bolin reflects on a busy spring, filled with more events than ever. Here in the Nevada Desert during the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

The spring of 2024  will go down in history as one of the busiest from a show and conference perspective. The prophecies from the COVID years that exhibitions and conferences would never return have long been forgotten. We now know they did. And in greater numbers.


That said, some have clearly taken a toll, while others seem to have grown stronger. To what extent this is due to COVID or simply a result of a fast-changing market is hard to tell. Anyhow, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of them this spring, including the EBU Production Technology Seminar in Geneva, the DDP European Broadcaster Summit in Munich, NAB in Las Vegas, and Streaming Tech Sweden in Stockholm.

Any common thread? Yes. A few.

Let me start with the obvious one that is not only a common thread but rather a red elephant in the room: AI.

No matter where you go, you will be exposed to plenty of messages about AI. While there are now examples of actual usage of AI and even Generative AI in applications, there is still a lot of just buzz, with AI mixed into some boring messages to spice them up.

At NAB Show this year, the main theme of the entire event was cost reduction. Create more content for less money. 2023 was a year when many media organizations experienced layoffs, restructuring, and a shift in strategic focus from subscriber growth at any cost to profitability, including in streaming. Many content companies have seen layoffs and restructuring, essentially meaning that fewer people must get the same amount of work done—or actually, even more work done. Because while there is a need to reduce costs, there is also a significant need to produce more content.

Another theme was hybrid models. Hybrid was used in several dimensions from technology (traditional vs. streaming) to content (scripted vs. live), but I believe the more important aspect is related to business models, combining subscriptions with advertising in various forms.

In a market where consumers are keeping their dollars tight, complementing with advertising and maximizing the value of advertising is obviously important. Discussions and presentations at NAB and surrounding events also concluded that the shift to digital is in full motion. This is reflected in how broadcasters are cutting costs and reallocating budgets. Budgets for traditional distribution are being cut, channels are being closed, and the focus is shifting to OTT/D2C, ad insertion, and applying AI across workflows.

While these challenges together might seem like a lot to take on (and they are), at least one good thing is that new technology addresses many, if not all, of these challenges!


Three hot words at NAB were Cloud, Data, and AI. And they interact.

Let’s start with Cloud. With cloud platforms and cloud software technology, costs can be significantly lowered since these are technology stacks where many larger industries help finance innovation. But those benefits only apply if broadcasters and content providers adapt workflows, applications, and ways of working to those in the
cloud rather than just “lifting and shifting” broadcast-specific applications to the cloud. But we want to do that anyway. And the reason is that to lower costs, we don’t only want to reduce technology costs due to shared investments in innovation; we also want to adapt organizations and ways of working to a more IT-inspired model and be able to hire talent from a wider talent pool more easily.

There were also many talks about data. All kinds of data. Data about user behavior helping to make better decisions, from what content is produced to how it is presented on the screen. But also internal data used to automate technology and infrastructure to improve availability while reducing costs due to over-provisioning or idling
capacities. Data partly goes hand-in-hand with the cloud, since the cloud means you get a lot of data from multiple different applications “in the same place” and somewhat accessible for use. It also means that the elasticity of the cloud can be leveraged by using this data and feeding it back to workflow and application orchestration solutions.

So what about AI? Perhaps the hottest topic, and the one that is both exciting and a little scary. One significant step forward in the “hype cycle” of AI was that this year it was much more about the actual applications where AI can assist, with more focus on “assist” rather than replace. Impressive tools were shown, e.g., by Adobe, for extending scenes in time or space. And as a consequence of AI, content integrity is also getting high on the agenda. How can we tell if content is real or the result of generative AI? This subject includes authentication means throughout workflows starting with the camera.

And one last thing: sustainability. At first glance, I’d almost say that sustainability was a little less of a poster child compared to IBC2023, but when talking with other vendors and even more so customers, sustainability is as important as ever. It has just matured, I guess. It has become a natural, prioritized requirement when decisions are made and is now more concrete and backed up with substance rather than just a label.

As we reflect on these insights and advancements, we anticipate what IBC2024 in September will bring to the table. Hope to see you then! Read more and book a meeting with us here.

By Johan Bolin

CEBO - Content, Broadcast and MVDP, of Agile Content