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Who Will Answer the Call to Innovate in Broadcasting?

by | Jun 22, 2016 | BIA, Blog, Broadcast

The National Association of Broadcasters is placing bets on the broadcasting industry’s future by offering cash awards of up to $20K in its PILOT Challenge for those submitting winning ideas that present innovative value propositions to both the audience and broadcasters, as well as its viability or execution. Ideas are due by September 23, 2016.

Key judging criteria will include:

  • Value to Audience: How valuable is the concept to the audience?
  • Value to Broadcasters: How valuable is the concept to broadcasters?
  • Viability: How likely is it that this concept could support itself and turn a profit?
  • Feasibility: How well thought out is the concept implementation?
  • Originality and Creativity: How unique, original and creative is this concept?

What’s behind this initiative?

Times are a changing and that’s motivating NAB to see and act on things a  bit differently. NAB’s president and CEO Gordon Smith when asked whether the definition of “broadcasting” was changing, responded, “This is not your parents’ broadcast business. We’re moving to different platforms, not just the TV and radio. But just because we’re innovating how we deliver our content doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten who we are.” So the challenge for broadcasters is both (a) how to “remember who they are” while they are (b) innovating, adapting and remaining essential to a market filled with disruption, competition and opportunity.

Smith, committed to broadcasting’s future, recruited Capitol Broadcasting Group’s Sam Matheny to his team a couple years ago as CTO/EVP to bring his record of innovation and success in broadcasting, technology, and entrepreneurship to this challenge. Matheny’s been busy and delivered in interesting and meaningful ways including developing a broadcast innovation venture investment portfolio, educational programming and a new non-profit entity, PILOT that focuses on innovation in broadcasting.

PILOT describes itself as, “A coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technologies and cultivating new media opportunities.” To run PILOT, Matheny recruited his former Capitol Broadcasting Group colleague, John Clark.

Together, Matheny and Clark have developed an interesting portfolio of projects, investments and initiatives all working to implement Smith’s vision that “this is not your parents’ broadcasting business anymore.” This latest initiative to stimulate awareness, interest and participating in broadcasting’s future is something we see as a good thing. It’s an interesting group to keep an eye on.