Michael McEwen is Director General of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA). McEwen also served as a former Secretary General of the organization from 2001 to 2005.
From 2006 to 2012 McEwen was a consultant advising on Media; Strategy, Policy and Broadcast Digital Technologies, McEwen is a former Chairman and Director of the UK based Media Asset Capital ltd.
He is past President of Canadian Digital Television (CDTV) and past President of the World Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) Forum. In addition, McEwen spent over 27 years with the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (CBC/Radio-Canada) in production and executive management roles, including Executive Vice President in charge of all Media, French and English during the nineteen nineties.
December, 2013 - January, 2014
Time flies when you are having fun. I can’t believe we have arrived at December and the holiday period is looming large, but it is probably in part due to a very busy November for our Association.
As one example, we had a terrific International Satellite Operations Group (ISOG) meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the first week of November. It focused on both next year’s FIFA World Cup and the IOC’s Summer Olympics in 2016 and what the operators and broadcasters will face in terms of challenges and services during those massive events. Hosted by Brazil’s Globo Network and the International Association of Broadcasters (IAB) this was one of the few times that the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) has held an ISOG Forum in the Southern Hemisphere. It was productive and thought-provoking and we should not wait so long to do it again.
This was also Dick Tauber’s last meeting as ISOG Chair after more than 20 years in the role. Dick, as many of you may know, is retiring from CNN at the end of the month. He has made many friends from around the world in broadcasting and with satellite communities in particular. We will miss him, but I suspect Dick will keep a close watch on us and let us know his views from time to time. Akira Ogawa from NHK has taken the Chair of ISOG for 2014 and he will have our full support as he brings a steady hand to the issues of the day.
Work has picked-up on the Next Generation of Television front with an Ad-Hoc Board Committee being struck and supported by a sub-committee of the Technical Committee Chaired by Bob Plummer of Fox. This group evaluated all 146 ATSC 3.0 requirements and will report to the Ad-Hoc Committee and the Board on December 9th and 10th respectively. These requirements shape the proposals for the physical layer of the next transmission standard. Our Board and TC felt it was important to review them in light of our own White Paper on requirements last year and assess whether our thinking has evolved to the point that we need to make further views known. Basically, a lot of analytical important work over a short period of time.
I believe these discussions and ones similar to them will be very much a part of our work over the coming year. There seems to be more questions than answers, at least at this point, about what will be the key drivers of the Next Generation of Television. We, “the users,” really must define clearly what we require.
You will notice that Jim Starzynski from NBCU has a major contribution in this NABAcaster on the evolving work of the “File Format” sub-committee and reaching out to other industry organizations. I can’t stress enough the importance of this work that has been communicated to me by our membership. Even if you are not directly involved in this area, it is important to all aspects of the broadcast “food chain” and therefore impacts workflow, productivity and at the end of the day the very economics of this business. As you will see from Jim’s article we have done a lot from a standing start a year ago, but we have a long road to go.
The Broadcaster Treaty discussion at the World Intellectual Property Organization still is very robust, but as yet we have no commitment for a Diplomatic Conference. Meetings this December and likely in the spring should determine whether we have this Conference in 2015. The tireless efforts of our Legal Committee have been focused on achieving this goal and will continue to be so. Protecting our signals from piracy is the first step in securing revenue for what we create and air. Without a Treaty that recognizes the challenges of the Digital Age that first step is very hard to secure, indeed. We’ll have more on this in the months to come.
Our first meeting of the Radio Committee will take place on December 17th by teleconference and then face-to-face in New York at our Annual General Meeting Event in February. It will take a few meetings to define the mandate, subsequent work plan and deliverables. However, I think the opportunity the Board has given our members to focus specifically on Radio issues is terrific and will benefit us all.
So with these brief notes I will bring my column to an end by thanking all of you for your contributions, participation and interest in NABA over this past year. I remind you that we count on you for an equally exciting 2014. Warm and sincere wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday and a spectacular New Year.
Director General, NABA
Recent Publications by Michael McEwen