NAB Show Preview

Q&A Series: NAB EVP Chris Brown

Chris Brown, executive vice president and managing director of NAB Global Connections and Events, was recently interviewed by SCN, a division of AVNetwork. As NAB Show prepares to celebrate 100 years of innovation, Chris shared his thoughts on last year’s return and what attendees can expect in 2023.

NAB EVP Chris Brown

SCN: NAB Show’s 100th anniversary is quite the milestone. How will you celebrate at the show?

Chris Brown: As we commemorate 100 years since the first NAB Show in 1923, we are offering opportunities for attendees, exhibitors, and other stakeholders to share their memories, engage online and onsite, and connect via a range of networking opportunities.

We launched a website that provides an interactive journey through NAB’s history with a timeline detailing landmark achievements, moments in broadcasting and at NAB Show, along with image galleries, broadcasters’ stories, and a digital NAB Hall of Fame detailing radio and television legends inducted throughout the years.

We also kicked off “Share Your Story,” a community campaign, encouraging individuals to share special memories, serendipitous moments, or remarkable stories about broadcasting and NAB Show. Additionally, we are planning registration incentives, contests, special events and activations, and recognitions of exceptional past NAB Show participation.

Above all, we are focused on creating a vibrant marketplace as well as programs and services that deliver substantial direct value to our community. This centennial year more than ever, we are striving to create meaningful connections that educate, spur innovation, facilitate partnerships, and drive growth for the industry.

NAB Show Ribbon Cutting
Chris Brown, center right, and the NAB executive team at the 2022 NAB Show.

SCN: Last year’s NAB Show was about getting back together after a three-year hiatus. Looking back, how successful was the show?

Chris Brown: It was an incredibly successful event, far exceeding expectations on every dimension. The NAB Show community is highly passionate about what they do. This is their opportunity to come together to see, feel, touch, get inspired, and soak in the industry—and above all reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

NAB Show is where that all happens. And this dynamic led to nearly 55,000 industry executives coming together for the show in April. They represented every facet of the media and entertainment landscape—business, technical, and creative—and came from every part of the world, with over 25% from outside the U.S. What we witnessed was a euphoria at being able to finally come together in person. With the memory of that experience, we are expecting the total attendance number to jump to 70,000 or more this year.

More and more, the show is bringing the right people together—those who are coming to do business and engage in true knowledge exchange, and those who are on a mission and serious about their participation. Last year, this made for one of the most productive shows in recent history, with a higher buyer-to-seller ratio than we have seen. The show’s nearly 1,000 exhibitors, including the leading technology product and service providers in the business, were especially pleased. The show received the highest satisfaction scores from these companies in its history.

By and large, trade shows are coming back strong as pandemic concerns subside and people get back to doing business in person. We are encouraged about what’s to come.