The convergence of AV with traditional broadcast explains why more visitors and exhibitors at ISE 2024 are spanning both worlds, reports Adrian Pennington.
The worlds of professional audio visual (ProAV) and media and entertainment have definitively overlapped, at least in technology terms, in a message underlined at the AV industry event ISE 2024. The overlap is being called ‘AV Broadcast’ and it is growing twice as fast as traditional media tech (at 2.9% CAGR versus 1.8% between now and 2027), according to research released at the show in a telling collaboration with the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM).
The technology market for broadcast AV is worth about $26bn of which over $14bn is media tech products sold to ProAV buyers. Going the other way, some $5bn of the broadcast AV market are ProAV products commonly used for media and entertainment.
“What we’re seeing is the blending of a lot of media technology and ProAV use cases and the emergence of a lot of new technology buyers,” explained Tom Morrod, Research Director and Co-Founder of Caretta Research, which carried out the report for the IABM. “These buyers are not traditional media and entertainment companies, but really live in a new space.”
The broadcast AV audience includes YouTube creators starting to build professional studios and even run production and post-production teams. It includes sports clubs, leagues and esports who are streaming and curating videos as part of a broader fan experience. Universities, schools and museums are increasingly incorporating video into how they make teaching materials and exhibits accessible both in-person and remotely. Many corporate and enterprises are running high-quality video productions for town halls, investor relations, internal and external conferences and consumer marketing which might end up on YouTube.
“Much of that content might not strictly be coming from a ‘broadcaster’, streamer or pay TV operator, but in many ways the same general process and requirements is used to make and deliver video,” Morrod said.
Many vendors have already bridged the gap. Adobe offers the same package of tools in its Creative Cloud suite for professional and consumer users. From the AV spectrum, an example is vMix, maker of a software vision mixer, now being used in the broadcast AV space.
“ProAV vendors are providing tools that are more than capable for a lot of applications where high-quality video is made and delivered,” outlined Morrod. “At the same time, media tech vendors have made their tools more accessible by migrating products to the cloud and changing business models to SaaS. It all means you can pick and choose your technology that bit more freely between what was once ProAV kit and what was once media tech kit.”
The backdrop to this is that media tech vendors have been selling around 15% of their products to non-M&E buyers for years now. At the same time, products from ProAV or the fringes of media tech have been bought by broadcasters and production companies.
“ProAV buyers are already doing professional-grade production, and media tech vendors already have non-media customers,” noted Morrod. “Ultimately, it’s about serving the need for high quality video production and delivery, which will come from whatever vendors and products are best suited for that need.”
It’s why companies like Ross Video are enhancing their presence at ISE. “ISE is an invaluable platform for companies to unveil solutions that effectively bridge the gap between traditional broadcasting and emerging AV applications,” Oscar Juste, SVP of Global Sales, Ross Video told IBC365.
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Aside from applications involving video in studios, stages, and stadia, Juste points to the global rise of “surfaces for engagement,” (mainly LED) as an opportunity for Ross to provide “immersive video experience solutions in applications extending beyond the confines of live events and broadcast environments.
“This growth is fuelled by tech advancements, changing consumer behaviours, and an increasing understanding among corporates of the powerful impact that advanced broadcast production technologies can have on their communications strategy,” he said.
Addressing the term ‘AV Broadcasting’ Juste said it had varied interpretations. Some view it as technology tailored for dynamic live video productions but not every brand using audio and video tech beyond its core business is automatically a broadcaster.
He said: “A large corporation orchestrating dynamic shows with remote and on-site participants might use a mix of ‘AV’ and ‘broadcast products.’ However, they might not label themselves as ‘AV Broadcasters,’ preferring terms like ‘live events’ or ‘live streams’ for the events they are producing.”
He added: “The use of ‘AV broadcasting’ and the classification of brands as broadcasters hinge on nuanced perspectives, industry context, and how audiovisual technologies are applied in diverse business scenarios.”
Film director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy flew in from London where she is prepping the next feature instalment of Star Wars to deliver the show’s opening keynote. Her message, about how technology can be used to speak truth to power and to shape narratives in impactful ways, seemed a strong one but it was delivered to a sparsely populated audience in the main ISE 400+ conference arena. That may be because, despite the marketing rhetoric, the idea of ISE as a content creation and production show doesn’t yet resonate with the bulk of its attendees.
Vision, light and sound
As always, parts of the exhibition floor resemble Times Square with digital billboards and flashing giant-size LED screens. Lang unveiled a 1.95mm thin super-sized display with versions suitable for indoors and outdoors. Sony showcased its Crystal LED technology in the first outing for its 220-inch CH series display targeting corporate meeting rooms and screening rooms. Samsung and LG were among those presenting latest transparent screen, a feature that allows viewers to see through the screen, creating an effect that looks like a floating hologram. Retail and hotels are two target applications here.
Virtual production stages were on many booths. Sony for instance showed how this technology can be used for a high-impact product launch with Honda’s motorbike as the demo example. Alfalite had a Ferrari on its stage to show off one of the principal use cases for Volume stages which is shooting realistic reflections of ‘moving’ cars. LG demonstrated an XR studio intended for the executives of bluechip corporations to deliver their internal and public messages. LG provides the LED display with ARRI, Mo-sys, RED camera and Fujifilm also involved.
Merging digital and real worlds in real-time, the local VP studio Plató Nou was on hand to will present something genuinely immersive: a performer dunked in a water tank with her body movements transformed into an augmented reality environment in Unreal Engine. It looked like something from the set of James Cameron’s Avatar.
Indeed digital content creation like this is being taken to another level with the maturing of digital art a theme across the conference.
“Digital art is still not as valued as analogue art,” said Pep Salazar, the executive director of the Barcelona based OFFF festival. “When we go into a museum we trust what the museum tells us about the picture frames on the wall – but there is still not so much digital art in museums.”
One way we can give digital art value, he said, is to talk more about the artists behind them and to avoid using cliched terminology like ‘interactive’ and ‘immersive.’
“We need to think about different triggers,” he said, “such as sensory, memorable, multidisciplinary, transcendent and never ending. How colours, textures and music and all the design of technology combine for a new experience. When you go to a dance show, the theatre and even the opera now you will see a lot of innovation by adding layers of technology. Digital artists are taking cues from the video game industry which combines different creative disciplines from storytellers and graphic artists to sound designers and programmers.”
The latest discipline is AI and the debate about who (or what) has creative ownership of AI content is a live one. Salazar is in no doubt: “The owner of the digitally intelligent work is the human artist telling it what to do.”
Anna Bulakh who is the Head of Ethics and Partnerships for Ukraine-based AI-voice developer Respeecher said that while AI can speed up the creation of content many questions remain unanswered.
“There is a huge market division between those who want to adopt the tech really fast without guardrails and those who are investing in building trust in AI.”
Respeecher honours the copyright of actors whose voices it uses to produce AI clones and is a member of the Adobe-led Content Authenticity Initiative. “Adding metadata to all AI generated audio means we can verify its provenance for accountability and royalties,” she said.
Also speaking at this AVIXA sponsored panel on AI was Jessica Cooper, Account Director at creative agency Pixel Artworks. It uses AI for ideation and for main production of projects.
“Early AI delivered an uncanny valley of colours, shapes and forms which has become a style of its own,” she said. “AI is more than ChatGPT. It’s a huge pool of data that we can draw on to imagine different worlds in different ways. One of the digital media industry’s goals should be about building trust between tech providers and consumers that will provide protection of their personal data.”
Aside from content creation AI is also being deployed to supercharge analytics of consumer movement and interaction within venues. It’s one reason ISE Managing Director Mike Blackman claimed, “We are ahead of the AI phenomenon. The AV industry is ahead of that curve.”
ISE to expand
The show itself fielded 1400 exhibitors and was a third bigger than 2023. A new 32000 sqm of space will be available at the Fira centre from 2025 giving ISE “plenty of room to expand,” Blackman said.
“We’re still hungry, still ambitious and have great plans for the next 20 years.”
An example of this is a two-day conference about the Latin American market which show organisers have identified as a “rapidly expanding market which is poised to generate AV growth.”
The LatAM audience constitutes 10% of ISE attendance with Brazil, Mexico and Colombia the primary countries to watch.
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