Since the decline of PMA, our industry has been looking for a trade show or convention to embrace. Thought-leading retailers have been looking for a place where they can meet the decision makers from their key vendors.
The more consumer/user focused shows (WPPI, PhotoPlus, Imaging USA, etc.) haven’t gathered key vendor personnel like CES or PMA did. With the overflowing and overcharging of CES, the NAB Show seems to be the refuge for imaging. While crowding in with 100,000-plus people in Vegas hardly seems “relaxing,” NAB’s tempo appears less frenetic and more business focused.
“NAB is on my list to attend next year. I’ll go to better my understanding of the overall industry and how Bergen County Camera (Westwood, New Jersey) can better serve our video customers. I don’t need to go for product purchasing. I have a crack team from PRO who will be there looking out for my interests with manufacturers,” commented Tom Gramegna.
The PRO buying group has four of their top people investing time at NAB this year. PRO COO Mark Leonard told us, “The lines blurred long ago between products used for still imaging and video capture. The majority of the traditional still camera manufacturers now participate in NAB because they’ve found a new audience for their wares. “Most camera store owners and product buyers are out of their comfort zone when the conversation turns to video imaging. Experiencing NAB is the first and easiest step toward gaining a better education about what excites professionals, advanced amateurs and younger users of DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Most important, it’s an opportunity to learn the names of companies you may not be familiar with but should be.”
“It’s a myth that video customers aren’t coming into camera stores,” said PRO’s director of sales, Mike Northrup. “I’ve worked the NAB shows in manufacturers’ booths. I can report that most of the consumers who came to the booths had traditional cameras that shot video.”
The 15-year industry veteran added, “When you look at the cameras hanging around the necks of those who come to the accessory booths, you know they shoot still and video. Retailers can enjoy exponential growth by helping their video customers be better shooters.”
Northrup joined the PRO team last September. “NAB more directly relates to our industry when compared to the CES show. It’s really more beneficial to be here. This is where the new products and trends are being unveiled and discovered for the imaging world.”
Paul Orzel, PRO’s director of product development, explained, “The excitement and vibe of the old PMA shows are now at NAB. There are halls where photo people can be very much at home, understanding all the products on display. Then you move to another hall and feel intimidated, realizing how much larger the rest of the imaging industry really is. It’s invigorating! NAB is what PMA used to be, but larger and more diverse. Representing PRO members, I’ll find the right people to meet, manufacturers to work with, and opportunities for finding emerging contacts and unfolding potentials.”
NAB Convention: The Educational Factor
Beyond product acquisition, NAB offers education and professional development to bring retailers up to speed in video technologies as well as broader communication concepts. One of the overriding themes is the M.E.T. Effect (Media, Entertainment and Technology). How these factors will influence us in the future is what NAB is all about. If you’re not sure how 360º, VR or AR will play out, walk the NAB trade show floor and listen. They’re all fighting to pitch you their solution to improving communication flow, whether for education, advertising or entertainment.
Jirair Christianian is the copresident of the 10-store Mike’s Camera chain (Colorado and California). He believes “video will be a larger part of our future. Mike’s Camera needs to better understand how new video accessories, products and new vendors will create a better customer experience.”
In addition to his PRO membership, Christianian is also a director of the Imaging Alliance (TIA). TIA is an industry-wide photographic trade group. The group is holding their board meeting at NAB. Moreover, it is hosting a reception for members and those interested in the alliance. “It seems like NAB is a better fit for the Imaging Alliance than CES. The logistics at CES were getting overwhelming and expensive,” he added. “We’re able to come to NAB and enjoy the fellowship and networking with others in our industry in a more relaxed yet focused atmosphere.”
Christianian also feels “NAB is the best place to boost our potential to complement existing customers’ photo needs and add helpful products to their equipment list that will enhance their video capabilities. We have professionals, consumers and bloggers who need the expertise and education Mike’s Camera can bring them as they expand their own portfolios into video. Every retailer is looking for growth, and that’s why we’re at NAB.”