2018 Innovation Challenge

The 2018 Innovation Challenge will launch August 15. Sign up for updates.

For information on the 2017 Innovation Challenge, see below.

Challenge Prizes

First Place


In addition to the prize money, the winner will present at NAB Futures in Palo Alto, Calif., have access to industry experts and demonstrate their idea at the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nev.

Second Place


Present at NAB Futures
Access to industry experts
Demonstrate at 2018 NAB Show

Third Place


Present at NAB Futures
Access to industry experts
Demonstrate at 2018 NAB Show

3 Innovator Awards


Present at NAB Futures
Access to industry experts
Demonstrate at 2018 NAB Show

Important Dates

Oct 19

12 Finalists Announced

Oct 26

Top 6 Determined and Notified

Nov 12 – 14

Top 6 Present at NAB Futures

What is the Challenge Question?

What is an unconventional way broadcasters and other local media could serve communities?

What do I need to do?

All you have to do is submit your idea. PILOT is looking for original ideas or concepts that answer the challenge question in a compelling way, but are not yet commercially available.

Key judging criteria will include:

  • Originality (50%) – How original or unique is this idea? Has this already been tried?
  • Desirability (15%) – How desirable is this idea? Is this an idea that is clearly needed or desired by someone specific? If it comes to fruition, would it be valuable to someone and is that someone clearly defined?
  • Plan (35%) – How clear, logical and likely are the steps outlined in the submission to demonstrate the potential of the idea?

A variety of concepts will be considered including (but not limited to) the following:

  • New products, services, or solutions
  • Applied technology, devices, statistical methods, and algorithms
  • Additive or incremental innovations with an original approach

PILOT will not consider standalone ideas for television and radio shows, or other talent-driven content, that does not include a novel product, service or technological innovation.

Then what?

Submissions will be judged by a diverse panel of experts from the broadcast, venture capital, media and tech industry. Submissions will be narrowed down to 12 semi-finalists by the end of September. From there, a smaller panel of judges will select the top 6 finalists. The winners will be decided by participants at the NAB Futures conference in November.

What if I win?

If your solution is selected as one of the top six that best addresses the challenge topic, you are a winner! In addition to prize money to help you get your idea off the ground, the PILOT Innovation Challenge winners will receive relevant mentorship, access to key broadcast executives and unmatched exposure at industry events.

Thanks in part to a grant from Knight Foundation, the top six entries will be awarded cash prizes, with one prize each in the amounts of $30,000, $25,000, and $20,000 and three prizes in the amount of $15,000.
In order to maximize the effect of these prizes on innovation and to track prototype or product development, winners will also be required to provide reporting on their progress and use of funds in the form of two activity summary reports to be delivered throughout a set of development windows through April 2018 following the challenge.

What if I have questions?

We’re here to help!  Contact us for more information.

Key dates

April 23 Launch (DFX)
April 24 3 p.m. and April 25 2 p.m.   – Office Hours (NAB Show Futures Park)
May 23 Office Hours (virtual)
June 21 Office Hours (virtual)
July 14 Office Hours (virtual)
August 15 Office Hours (Media Transformation 2017, in Chicago)
August 30 Office Hours (virtual)
September 15 Office Hours (virtual)
September 22 Submissions Close
Oct 19 12 Finalists Announced at NAB Show NY
October 26 Top 6 Determined & Notified
November 12 – 14 6 Winners present and are announced at NAB Futures in San Jose, CA
January 15, 2018 – Winner’s First progress report
March 15, 2018 – Winner’s Second progress report
April 2018 Winners present at Futures Park at NAB Show Las Vegas

Knight Foundation

Thanks to Knight Foundation for their support of the Innovation Challenge.