More than 43,000 people came to IBC2023, representing a 16% increase in total attendees compared to the event in 2022. Hall 5, which houses Content Everywhere exhibitors as well as the Content Everywhere Stage programme, certainly enjoyed its fair of visitors.
Indeed, Rick Young, SVP, Head of Global Products, remarks that this year’s IBC “was definitely one of the busiest. The hustle and bustle of the show floor was a testament to how hungry the industry is for innovation”.
So what were some of the key themes under discussion in Hall 5 and beyond? According to Young, the transition towards IP was a major topic of conversation for LTN, “and it was interesting to see how the EMEA region is at a different stage of the roadmap than the rest of the world. It was clear that companies are realising that moving to IP makes sense from both a business and technology standpoint. We are entering one of the most exciting periods for the industry, and IP will be central to its evolution”, he says.
Where’s the money?
A prevailing topic was the impact of macroeconomic events on wallets and budgets. Sally Winship Comollo, Director of Communications at Edgio, notes that all major media organisations “are looking to do more with less. Driving profitability while reducing complexity was one of the biggest talking points at the show”.
During the show, Winship Comollo spoke to the IBC Daily about Edgio’s collaboration with four other exhibitors in Hall 5 to tackle what they see as the industry’s most pressing need for delivering OTT video: to simplify and manage complex media workflows while reducing costs.
Edgio is leading the alliance as managed service provider, working with Accedo, Bitmovin, Grabyo, and Vimond, to integrate technologies across the entire streaming tech stack – from content production, personalisation and distribution to user experience and monetisation.
“Content providers are trying to find a simple way to piece together the disparate technologies required to build a complete streaming workflow,” Winship Comollo says. “With this in mind, we’re seeing increased interest in the managed service model with pre-integrated partners to give media brands one centralised point of contact and faster launch times.”
She also observes that customers are asking for greater flexibility. “They want seamless access to a flexible, pre-integrated ecosystem that enables them to create a full chain streaming solution while simplifying multiple siloed workflows. Media leaders don’t want to spend time and money managing multiple vendor relationships and complex technology integrations – they want to focus on their business differentiators and audience growth.”
Vijay Sajja, CEO of Evergent agrees that maximising monetisation, while reducing costs, was a central discussion point.
“Given economic headwinds, media companies are laser focused on driving subscription revenues while also looking to experiment with new business models at multiple cost points for consumers. Streaming companies are seeing previously rapid subscriber growth slowing down post-pandemic, and now they are looking for new ways to retain and grow their audiences to secure profitability,” he says.
Sustainability remains one of the biggest areas of concern and a number of Hall 5 exhibitors showcased products that aim to promote sustainability among customers and partners.
For example, Accedo promoted a new service called Healthcheck, a specialist consultancy offering to assess the performance and viewing experience of streaming services, and providing insights to help improve them. The company also launched new criteria targeting sustainability in Accedo One Marketplace.
A key focus of IP video platform provider Zixi was helping customers to achieve sustainability targets while improving their bottom line. And Bitmovin is engaging in sustainability research in collaboration with the University of Klagenfurt in Austria, working on a climate-friendly adaptive video streaming platform called GAIA.
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Meara, VP of Marketing at The Switch, remarks that he was asked more than once for his views on how companies involved in live production could “do better”.
“It’s a fair question, but it does raise a difficult point. Why are there fewer remote live productions today than there were a couple of years ago? COVID-19 is the obvious answer. But the question still stands: having proved that REMI/remote works, why are there fewer REMI productions now and why are many organisations moving back to rolling OBs on-sight to produce games? It’s a genuine question. If sustainability is one of the key topics that companies are supporting and getting behind, why are their actions not reflecting that?” he says.
All eyes on AI
It was inevitable that AI would feature at the event, although Jon Dahl, CEO of Mux, suggested to the IBC Daily that AI was not at the show “in a big way”.
“But it will be next year”, he added. “I think it’s starting to poke its head up … it’s probably a year or two away that every stand will be AI.”
Sajja observes that while AI was a hot topic at IBC2023, “it’s worthless unless it can tie into high quality data.” For example, he says that predictive analysis “can give media organisations deeper insight on user preferences, intelligent churn deflection tactics and benefits that keep sports fans engaged outside of the regular season, or step-down payments to help retain subscribers with more affordable price models.”
Sajja also notes that churn “was the biggest challenge we spoke about with media organisations at the event. Whether combating involuntary churn, (e.g. when a subscriber’s card payment is declined), or voluntary churn (e.g. choosing to cancel a service), streaming providers need a multi-pronged strategy. Even making minor improvements across a number of these areas can help generate significant additional revenues”.
Content Everywhere takes the stage
This year also marked the tenth year of Content Everywhere as the heart of IBC’s coverage of the ever-expanding OTT scene. A unique feature of this part of the show is the Content Everywhere stage programme. In response to growing demand, the programme was this year presented on two show-floor stages in Hall 5.
Among the presentations was A View from the Terrace’ from Cinedeck, which described it as a “fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the unique features of our multicam ingest workflows and foster meaningful industry conversations”.
Veset also participated in the Stage programme with a presentation titled Comprehensive Playout Entirely in the Cloud. “Having the opportunity to present resulted in visitors to our stand so we could provide a demo and answer further questions”, the company says.
A look ahead
IBC is already planning to build on this year’s successful event. According to IBC director Steve Connolly, “we’re ready to continue evolving for next year’s show to keep up with increased demand, and we’ll be expanding our footprint with additional outdoor pavilions and the opening of Hall 14 for IBC2024.”
According to LTN’s Young, “as we look towards 2024, it will be interesting to see how we all use the IBC show as a platform to drive greater collaboration, overcome the market’s challenges, and thrive from the new opportunities it creates.”
In the meantime, the IBC Content Everywhere monthly newsletter will continue to report on industry trends throughout the year. Contact Anne Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about forthcoming issues!