This sponsored post is produced by Gordon Smith, the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

In recent years, media has transitioned from a basic form of entertainment to an all-encompassing content distribution arena. Audiences today have a vast amount media resources – from mobile to social, and television to radio. The possibilities only continue to expand and this transformation of the media industry will have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.

While broadcasting continues to be the largest force in the media and entertainment fields – generating $1.24 trillion in U.S. GDP and supporting 2.65 million jobs each year – pivotal challenges lie ahead for industry professionals as a result of rapidly changing technologies. The print publishing industry serves as one such indicator: what was once the go-to source for news now faces harsh economic challenges as readers are increasingly choosing to gather their news from ever-growing Web, broadcast and mobile sources.

In order for the field to cohesively address these problems and successfully adapt, the larger industry must be willing to break the mold and embrace innovation. New technologies enter the market daily, not only helping businesses to reach more widespread audiences but also understand what type of content these audiences are truly interested in, how they feel about that content, and how they want to interact with it beyond simply viewing it.

A successful example of this is the recent growth of mobile as a content platform. When IBM launched the first smartphone 1992, no one expected the device to become so widely adopted that eventually 58 percent of Americans would own one. As smartphone capabilities continued to expand through apps and delivery services, the devices became seen as direct competition to broadcast companies. Many organizations even voiced concerns about the future of regular television as mobile viewing grew in use and popularity.

However, mobile took an unexpected turn and transformed broadcasting by removing itself as a competitor, and instead, integrating with television to create the “second screen” experience. According to Pew Research Center’s recent “State of the Media” report, more and more people consume content interactively by pairing both mobile and television. As marquee televised events like the Super Bowl and presidential debates have shown us, viewers want to extend their viewing experience from the TV to the Internet via their smartphones and tablets. If consumers are embracing change through the second screen phenomenon, imagine what other disruptive technologies may have the potential to positively shake up the market?

The National Association of Broadcasters has shared these sentiments for nearly a decade. The annual NAB Show has served as the premier destination for growing media companies across many fields to showcase their solutions in an ongoing effort to embrace new forms of content development and delivery. The show captures the attention of more than 93,000 attendees across 156 different countries, all of whom join together to embrace both “new” media and “old.” The event has thrived by bridging the gap between content distributors and content producers, film and radio, advertisers and educators, and the list goes on.

Last year, NAB Show launched an extension of this mission in the form of SPROCKIT, a year-round startup program that spotlights disruptive new media and entertainment companies. Now in its second year, the program has nearly tripled in size and selected 27 startups to work alongside influencers from leading media companies — such as AARP, Cox Media Group, Disney/ABC Television Group, Google, Hearst Television, and Univision — to discuss the challenges the media industry is aiming to address through innovative media solutions. Together, both the startups and industry titans will explore ways to help the companies elevate their brands, expand their audience reach and successfully achieve widespread results.

Each of these companies provides a unique answer to the question of how media businesses can leverage innovation to sustain growth; some offer ways to reinvent content on mobile, whereas others set their sights on television engagement and analytics. Despite their distinctly different missions and objectives, these startups all share one thing: They agree that the media and entertainment industry is in need of pioneering changes to properly excel. Through their various solutions and entrepreneurial endeavors, these SPROCKIT participants set the stage for a brighter future where the media and entertainment industry can make significant strides.

SPROCKIT seeks to serve as a model program for all industries. By bringing new innovators and current luminaries together, and creating a community where they can collaboratively examine ways to improve the consumer experience, we are bound to see ideas and solutions that will lead to continued success for entire market.

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