AI, Accessibility, and Localization: Takeaways from NAB Show 2024

Apr 22 2024 VITAC
Wide shot of a crowd of people waiting to listen to VITAC's technology discussion at the 2024 NAB Show

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NAB 2024 is a wrap!

VITAC would like to thank everyone who took the time to meet and visit with us at this year’s show. Our team had a terrific time on the show floor, hosting a number of networking and thought-leadership sessions, sharing information about all our captioning, audio description, transcription, and localization services and learning about the newest innovations and solutions in media, entertainment, and technology.

This year’s show attracted an estimated 61,000 attendees from more than 160 countries and nearly 1,300 exhibitors from 41 countries. Covering broadcast, cable, streaming, satellite TV, film, radio, production, and post-production, NAB always is a great way to catch up with customers, make new connections, and chat with industry colleagues.

Read below for a few of our show observations and takeaways.

AI in the Spotlight (Again)

Artificial intelligence and the demand for AI services is showing no signs of slowing down as the global AI market topped $200 billion in 2023 – a number that some expect to jump to nearly $2 trillion by 2030. So it was little surprise that AI and generative AI continued to be hot topics of discussion at this year’s NAB show, which included more than 130 sessions and nearly 200 exhibitors featuring AI or machine learning solutions.

As AI technology advances, companies, including broadcasters, are finding new ways to enhance and expand their services and offerings. NAB exhibitors and attendees noted that AI and AI-powered products are playing a larger role in transforming production, distribution channels, and content creation, including making that content more easily accessible via captions and transcripts.

VITAC showcased our new AI-powered captioning and transcription solution, Captivate™, at this year’s show. Developed by transcription, speech, and machine learning experts, Captivate provides high-accuracy transcripts and captions, guaranteed uptimes, customizable solutions, and integrations with multiple platforms. Trained on diverse language models that enable it to understand languages, accents, and speech patterns better than generic ASR engines, the technology can be customized and tailored to fit customers’ unique needs.

seated on the NAB stage for VITAC's technology discussion are Dr. Christian Vogler, Doug Karlovits, Jeff Burgess, and Ramon Foster

Thinking Locally in a Global Creator Economy

A study by Goldman Sachs Research predicted that the creator economy – or ‘influencer economy’ – could nearly double in size, climbing from $250 billion in 2023 to $480 billion by 2027.

This year’s NAB show spotlighted this fast-paced economy with a new Creator Lab zone that featured exhibits, panels, workshops, and networking events focused on creators, equipment, distribution channels, and monetization techniques.

VITAC, a YouTube Recommended Vendor, was the closed captioning sponsor for Creator Lab, captioning discussions, demos, and panels held on the Creator Lab stage. We also hosted two sessions on media accessibility, including one on video localization and how adding things like subtitles, dubbing, and translations can help boost a video’s SEO ranking, improve user experience, and increase brand awareness.

With more online content being viewed around the world than ever before, it’s important that you speak to your entire audience. Localizing video content to make it more accessible to different audiences in different locales ensures that you’re connecting with all your viewers. In fact, videos with subtitles or dubbing have six times more engagement than non-localized content.

Yair Amsterdam and Doug Karlovits are seated on a couch for an IABM TV interview

Broadcaster Choice

VITAC and ENCO, a global leader in innovative broadcasting solutions, announced a strategic partnership at NAB aimed at providing broadcasters with expanded choice for hardware encoders and cloud captioning.

This unique collaboration gives broadcasters access to a comprehensive suite of captioning tools and services, enabling them to enhance the accessibility of their content and reach a broader audience while providing additional choice of service and connectivity based on caption quality and reliability.

“We are excited to join forces with VITAC in this strategic partnership,” said Ken Frommert, ENCO President. “By leveraging our respective strengths, we aim to offer broadcasters a broader range of options for caption encoding and delivery, ultimately enhancing their ability to deliver accessible content to viewers.”

Doug Karlovits, VITAC General Manager, said: “This partnership underscores our commitment to delivering innovative, cost-effective captioning solutions that meet the diverse needs of our clients. With the integration of Captivate into ENCO’s suite of encoder solutions, broadcasters will benefit from robust choice in their captioning workflows.”

FAST Not Slowing Down

The rise of FAST channels such as Pluto, Tubi, the Roku Channel, and Freevee over the past few years has given TV viewers a new yet familiar way of enjoying content. The continued growth of these platforms means an increased need for content, and programmers are finding a wealth of already-produced shows in markets around the world that easily can be localized via subtitles, translation, or dubbing for audiences everywhere.

FAST – free, ad-supported television – is essentially a mix between the worlds of cable TV and subscription-based streaming. It’s developed into a billion-dollar industry that offers viewers another way to watch TV.

According to research on global TV trends, the total revenue for TV and movies on FAST channels will reach $17 billion across 138 countries in 2029, more than doubling the $8 billion it generated in 2023. In the US, 47% of households are now watching FAST programming each week, a sharp increase from the 24% reported at the same time last year.

And as FAST content increases across borders, more localization resources will be needed to launch more channels.

As a localization provider, VITAC can walk customers through this developing FAST channel market and work with you to find the solutions that fit your needs. We deliver high quality at lower rates, always consider your budget, and find creative ways to meet that budget without compromising the product.

Ramon Foster interviews David Landsberg and James MacPherson on the Creator Lab stage

NextGen TV Making Inroads

NextGen TV has been launched in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia over the past 12 months, bringing at least 75% of U.S. households within reach of the service.

NextGen TV – also known as ATSC 3.0 – is a hybrid over-the-air and broadband-connected TV that offers 4K ultra high-definition video quality, improved sound, and mobile reception. It enables local TV stations better personalize broadcasts with information and interactive features and more targeted information.

Exhibitors and attendees noted several recent product announcements impacting NextGen TV, including television manufacturer TCL’s plan to equip certain TV models with integrated NextGen TV capabilities. A number of consumer devices also have been introduced over the past year, including the first set-top box certified to carry the NextGen logo.

In anticipation of the growth of NextGen TV services, the FCC last April announced the “Future of TV Initiative” that lays out a roadmap to transition to ATSC 3.0. The initiative includes working groups focused on consumer perspectives and post-transition rules. The group’s first report is expected to be released later this year.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped to see us at this year’s show. We look forward to seeing everyone at NAB 2025 in Las Vegas, April 6-9!