There were many great topics, podcasting gear, video equipment, and conversations at New Media Expo (NMX) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. Here are my biggest thoughts and takeaways.
Podcast Awards 2015
Let's be objective and separate the Podcast Awards from the awards ceremony. I fully support the Podcast Awards and even believe in the power of the daily voting. Year after year, this method proves to make winners out of podcasters who may not have the largest audience, but they have the most engaged audience. The most notable winner in 2015 was Rob Cesternino's Rob Has a Podcast beating Serial for the People's Choice award! Rob has nowhere near the audience size that Serial does, but Rob's audience is far more engaged because of Rob's authentic personality and approachability.
I do believe the nomination and voting process should be improved, and we'll probably see that before the awards in 2016.
Now, I'll be honest about the awards ceremony. I expressed concern when the ceremony hosts were originally announced, but I was assured that they would keep it classy.
To mass disappointment, the hosts were not classy. I've heard different reasons why, including the true fact that the teleprompter wasn't working and the hosts had to improvise. However, what resulted was an outright embarrassment that reflects badly on the hosts, the podcasters, New Media Expo, and even the leading sponsor. I'm just glad I warned my audience ahead of time that the live-streamed ceremony would probably not be family friendly.
The other aspects of the ceremony were great: design, production, and stage flow (aside from the hosts). Let's just pretend misspelling “education” was a little joke for us!
This ceremony also felt less like a community event. Perhaps that's a consequence of rising status. The only sponsors who were recognized were the top sponsors: PodcastOne and whatever ads they awkwardly inserted. None of the podcast sponsors were even thanked during the ceremony.
Despite all these downsides, there is one certain thing: next year will be different.
New Media Expo (NMX) 2015
This is the first year that NMX was colocated with NAB Show. It had its oddities, due largely to this being the first year and the amount of time there was to plan. But I think that most of the social-media people came for NMX, not for NAB Show. I think that this new colocation (which will repeat in 2016) is probably the best thing that could happen for NMX, but I'm not sure it's the best thing for the attendees.
Downsides at NMX 2015
First, the downsides. NMX was in a hotel next to the NAB Show in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The space was nice, but very spread out. This made it hard, at times, to network with fellow attendees. The “opening” keynote was on the second night in one room and the “closing” keynote was the night before the last day and in a different room.
Because of the colocation, there were many times that a crowd of people would pass through, but none of them were interested in NMX.
I'm a believer in staying at the event hotel, but NMX was held in the Westgate, which cost nearly $200 per night. The parties were held at SLS Hotel, which was about a block away. (Las Vegas blocks are very big.) Because of the high hotel cost, many people—including me—chose to stay at other NAB-official hotels for a fraction of the cost. Being this spread out meant fewer networking opportunities. There were several people I eagerly wanted to meet, but couldn't find.
Most of the parties were, yet again, far too loud. The unnecessary music was blaring so loud that everyone had to yell to do any actual networking at the networking events. (Networking party tip: Keep the music quiet or off and host the party in a large, carpeted room or outside.) We were also forbidden from bringing in our own water and forced to pay $8 for a bottle of water! The sponsor only covered a single kind of alcoholic beverage, so we couldn't use our drink tickets for just water or soda.
Positives at NMX 2015
I wasn't able to attend many sessions this year, but I heard that they were great! My own session, “SEO for Podcasters” (an extremely concise, stripped-down version of my SEO for Podcasters video course), was packed!
The opening-night party was fabulous. We were outside around the pool at SLS Hotel. Being outdoors with that much space, it was easy to get away from the loud music and be able to actually network without yelling.
Pat Flynn, from Smart Passive Income, had the opening keynote. I don't know if anyone could top his Back to the Future introduction! The other keynotes, by Joel Comm and by Norm Pattiz and Rob Cesternino, were also good—even with their controversies. These keynotes were far better than the previous disasters (remember the live TV show that didn't use real tweets, or the person who literally threw money at the audience?).
This date for NMX worked a lot better than previous years. It wasn't so close to Christmas to make taking extra time off from work difficult, and the weather was much easier for travel.
Having NMX colocated with the NAB Show was great for the exhibitors. I heard some NMX attendees mention walking the NAB Show floor and seeing cool stuff. That's an opportunity many might not have otherwise had! It was also great to see a company like Telestream (makers of Wirecast and Screenflow) have a second booth in the NMX area. The NMX exhibitors also seemed to be far more relevant this year.
Before this NMX, I was questioning this conference's place among my other favorites: Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) and Podcast Movement (PM). Now, I think that being with the NAB Show helps NMX grow up a little more. It means exposing our messages and methods to a wider audience of traditional media professionals. Now, “new media” has an equal place next to “traditional media,” which can only help us get more attention and respect. I also think that NMX is now differentiates itself enough from SMMW and PM that it still has a place for professional and hobbyist content-creators.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show 2015
I have attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) before with TechPodcasts Network. It is a massive expo with a wide range of products. I would often find very few things relevant to podcasters at CES. But at NAB, there's a lot more for podcasters—either within our reach or to inspire us.
Downsides at NAB Show 2015
NAB Show was a bit overwhelming. I tried to find companies I could interview or build relationships with, so I spent a lot of time on the NAB Show floor, which meant missing a lot of NMX time.
NAB Show tailors more toward multimedia-content-creators, such as podcasters and “web TV” creators. I think there's little relevance there to social-media marketing or blogging.
Positives at NAB Show 2015
There were many companies I got to talk to that I might not have otherwise had the opportunity. I attended a Sennheiser press conference and was given their new MicClip Digital lavalier microphone for iOS devices (review coming soon). I gave some product input that was well received by the team from Zoom (makes of the H5, H6, and other great recorders). I planted ideas with some audio-processing companies—TC Electronic, Neugen Audio, and iZotope—to make affordable solutions for podcasters. And I recorded many other video interviews or starting building relationships with companies that make great products podcasters can use. Make sure you watch Podcasting Video Tips on iTunes and YouTube for my videos from NAB Show!
Congratulations to the Podcast Awards winners! But I wish the ceremony would have been more classy.
NMX is still a great conference to attend and 2016 will be even better.
NAB Show is now accessible for podcasters and it can be a lot of fun.
What did you think of the Podcast Awards, New Media Expo, or NAB Show in 2015?
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