Companies push drones for media use at National Association of Broadcasters convention

By End the Lie

The Schiebel S-100 Camcopter shown here marketed to the military in 2008 with a missile attachment (Image credit: skuds/Flickr)

The Schiebel S-100 Camcopter shown here marketed to the military in 2008 with a missile attachment (Image credit: skuds/Flickr)

As I recently reported, the calls for the use of drones as routine news-gathering tools have only grown over the past year and now drone companies are marketing directly to the industry.

It seems that there is a quite concerted effort to expand the drone industry’s reach into the realm of news-gathering and one can imagine that it will be at least somewhat successful.

Yet at the same time there is a massive nationwide push against drone use. Indeed, today it was reported that the Florida Senate voted unanimously to restrict drones while one small city in Minnesota has banned drones, another city in California is considering similar action and a city in Virginia has also banned drones.

In Seattle, Washington, the mayor forced the police to abandon their drone program while a massive number of states are considering legislation to restrict drone use.

Interestingly, the fact that drones were being heavily marketed at the convention received very little coverage.

As far as I can tell, only one article by Derrick Harris of Gigaom covered the drone presence at the show and even that gave it very little space.

Schiebel was among the various companies marketing drones to broadcasters at the convention, which is far from surprising given that they are leading the push to get media outlets to adopt drones as part of their arsenal.

“The Schiebel Corporation has partnered with Brain Farm and Snaproll Media, both U.S. companies, in order to turn the Camcopter into a platform capable of capturing high-definition, broadcast-quality footage,” I reported last year.

At the convention, Schiebel had the civilian version of their Camcopter S-100 drone – originally marketed to the military as you can see – with a price tag somewhere in the range of $400,000 according to a 2005 article.

Gigaom confirms that the sticker price is “several hundred thousand dollars” without listing the price in precise terms.

Freefly Systems also had a presence at the convention, promoting their considerably less expensive “CineStar” drone.

There are several CineStar drones produced by Freefly but the particular drone in Gigaom’s picture appears to be the CineStar 8 or CineStar 8 HL model.

An unassembled CineStar 8 basic kit costs $3,649 on one website while a “ready to fly” model costs $8,026.05. Freefly does not list prices on their site.

For the large organizations that are part of the National Association of Broadcasters, prices like that are far from prohibitive.

Interestingly, there was even a ground-based “video rover” on display, although Harris does not identify what it is or who manufactures it.

It will be interesting to see if news outlets begin to pick up drones or if other broadcasters begin to adopt the technology.

With the increasing opposition to domestic drone use, it seems that it will be quite difficult for the media to use drones if cities, counties and states adopt legislation significantly restricting their use as some already have.

Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.

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One Response to Companies push drones for media use at National Association of Broadcasters convention

  1. Anonymous April 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    This is disturbing. We should push back against this NOW while we still can.


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