We are just back from a week in Las Vegas at the NAB.
NAB stands for National Association of Broadcasters - and it's their big annual trade and equipment show.
The Convention Center in Las Vegas is filled with miles (literally, probably) of gear from satellite trucks to cameras to edit suites.
The theme of this year's conference was: The Great Content Shift.
And by this they mean, the shift from TV to online. Which is great, but in 3 days of looking and meetings and more than 1520 booths and exhibitions, we saw lots of evidence of broadcasting but very few of any shift to online.
They understand that you can put video online
, which everyone swears they can do with varying degrees of cost and complication, but they're all dyed in the wool broadcasters at heart and so their world is and always will be - broadcasting.
That is - we make it, you watch it.
Which is fine, but limited.
They see the web as a place to watch TV shows.
They see the iPhone
as a place to watch TV shows
They see the iPad as a place to watch TV shows
They see your laptop as a place to watch... TV shows.
This is about look looking at a telephone in 1962 as a place to listen to music.
You can do that, of course. You could dial up Lincoln Center and listen to a concert (live!), but the phone could do a lot more.
So can the web.
The problem is the 'broadcasters' just can't seem to wrap their heads around this novel idea that the web is about 'participating' and 'contributing' and not about 'watching'.
How many people go to Facebook.com to 'watch' Facebook?
Like... no one?
And Facebook has 800 million - what shall we call them? They're not viewers.... They're viewsers. (Viewer+user). 800 million viewsers.
The Oprah Winfrey Network has, what?, 20,000 viewers.
Whom are you going to listen to here? (or watch? or interact with? - even if that is ending in a preposition).
In all our time and meetings at NAB, we only found tiny handful who think 'web', instead of thinking 'put TV on web'.
One of them was Jon Labes, the founder of a small tech company called stationcreator.com
This is a very cool bit of tech that allows anyone to create their own TV network online.
And it seems to do pretty much all the stuff that the 'big boys' are selling for many millions of dollars.
Well, that's technology for you.
Maybe the Great Content Shift is more about everyone making their own TV network for free, as opposed to paying out millions of dollars to old analog tech firms to try and do it for you? Could be.
In the meantime, maybe David Zazlov, the CEO at Discovery Networks should give Jon Labes a call.
He could save a LOT of money on his OWN.... so to speak.