There’s no arguing it, 2022 has seen quite a few ups and downs - the fact that the Collins Dictionary word of the year was ‘permacrisis’ says a lot. On the positive side though, a return to more normal social mixing post-pandemic has lifted spirits. We’ve seen the return of in-person shows such as IBC2022 and NAB, as well as a host of awards events and the resurgence of the annual office Christmas party too.
On the digital media front, an annual analysis of the biggest search topics of the year by Google has revealed that the UK’s favourite TV show was Stranger Things, with The Watcher, Euphoria, House of the Dragon, Inventing Anna, Dahmer and Moon Knight all making the top ten.
In film, Encanto, The Batman, Uncharted, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Adam, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion and Morbius were the top searched films of the year in the UK, with Everything Everywhere All At Once from studio A24, scoring the seventh most searched film - according to the search giant.
More widely, other key topics in the media and broadcast industry from 2022 include these 10 super-hits:
1) FAST one of the hottest topics of 2022
The rise of FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) - and certainly companies talking about it - has been one of the standout trends in the whole media industry. As the SVOD subscriber curve begins to flatten, the question of where to seek revenue has become more pressing. FAST not only potentially offers extended reach and an ad revenue stream, but also the opportunity to recruit linear TV users seeking a similar leak-back experience.
A recent Global FAST Report report from Amagi found that the cost of living crisis is driving consumers to unsubscribe from paid-for SVOD services and turn to free advertising-based video on demand (AVOD). Globally, AVOD ad revenues are expected to hit $56 billion by 2024, the report said. In terms of the type of content, news is the top performer worldwide, attracting 35% of ad impressions and 30% of HOV.
2) OTT discussion continues
As with FAST, OTT has been everywhere in 2022. From enterprise-focussed delivery platforms to cross-industry debate over monetisation strategies and emerging business models, it’s safe to say that OTT will be a fixture for some time to come. This theme was explored intimately in the IBC webinar - Launching OTT and Fast Services.
Indeed, in a market that is increasingly eyeing the value of globalisation to bolster revenues and SVOD players eyeing a switch to AVOD, the overall trajectory looks secure, especially with a new wave of varying-ly flavoured streamers launching in the last weeks alone - ITVX in the UK, Paramount+ in Germany and Disney+ Basic in the US.
3) Sustainability drive goes up a gear
Far from paying mere lip-service to the question of minimising carbon footprints and optimising workflows, the media and broadcast industry has been actively engaged in sustainability. Production-based projects such as the Albert programme and the Green Production Guide have taken root, while wider debate is generating awareness across the value chain, especially from a technology and streaming point of view. As was revealed at a recent IBC panel discussion, a one hour scripted television show produces about 80 tons of CO2 emissions, and a large budget production produces over 1000 tonnes - quite substantial targets to tackle.
4) The value of in-person interaction
It is strange to look back and realise that even in late 2021 meeting in person was unreliable, thanks to the pandemic and the rapidly changing public restrictions aiming at managing the infection rate. Fortunately 2022 saw a return to something like normality, and the return of the IBC show, back at the RAI in Amsterdam for the first time in several years - check the main IBC2022 highlights here. The dates for 2023 are 15-18 September, so register now for IBC2023!
5) Market consolidation continues
While every year holds plenty of market moving and shaking, 2022 has seen a real bonanza of activity as incumbents shore up their positions, and new disruptors move in. Arguably the biggest of the year was the formal completion of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia, valued at a cool $43 billion. This has brought together brands including Discovery Channel, discovery+, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, CNN+, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, TLC, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel and others.
Not to be outdone, Elon Musk’s eventual buyout of social network Twitter eventually went ahead in late 2022 too, for an estimated $44 billion. Whether an initial bumpy ride for users and investors will smooth out in 2023 is still very much up for debate.
6) AI beginning to deliver value
Although AI is arguably one of the most overused and over-hyped technologies to date, the reality is that practical use cases for AI in broadcast are beginning to emerge. A recent IBC webinar explored in considerable detail just how and why AI analytics can deliver on its wider promise to deliver unprecedented granularity of insight into your audience, faster and more effectively than ever before.
AI’s usefulness in automating metadata has been well documented, and more exciting applications of this mass-data-crunching ability are beginning to emerge. The World Cup 2022 in Qatar saw 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium tracking the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, so that their exact relative positions on the pitch could be calculated in real time. The ball also contained inertial sensors, the data from which could be combined, mapped onto a 3D model, then used to assess offside calls and the like.
7) Virtual production gathers pace
Meanwhile, the power of modern tools like Epic Games’ Unreal Engine have made virtual production into an everyday practicality, rather than an exotic budget-busting one off. By tapping into tools like Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, entirely virtual worlds can be rendered in near real time, as IBC365 investigated in The Evolution of Broadcast Graphics.
8) IBC2022 Accelerators hit their stride
The IBC Accelerator programme was launched in 2019, and has gone from strength to strength, tackling some of the most challenging technical questions in the industry, as well as bringing together some of the biggest broadcasters and tech names to do so. 2022 saw a laundry list of the same come together ahead of the IBC2022 show to address a series of challenges including Cloud based live event-based workflows and localisation blueprints, 6DOF Immersive Audio and Blockchain projects, as well as Volumetric Video.
9) 5G continues to inspire
As 5G inspired two of the main Accelerator projects (5G in remote production and the arena of the future for XR events), so the potential continues to inspire the wider industry. From the early days of wondering about the theoretical potential, to now actually being able to use 5G connectivity to aid capturing real world events and news moments, there’s still much to be explored about the new radio technology.
Indeed, the 5G remote production Accelerator project proved this quite conclusively by becoming part of ‘Operation Unicorn’, broadcasting coverage of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland using the 5G ‘Network in a box’ solution developed during the project.
10) Cloud maturing fast
Last but by no means least, cloud technology has continued to mature from a broadcast perspective. Now being actively used by a large proportion of content creators and rights holders, cloud is actively delivering on many of its obvious benefits, especially where the media supply chain is concerned. The continuing requirements to be able to work flexibly and remotely with experts of all kinds, from producers to editors, colorists to production teams, and the need to distribute content globally, rapidly and efficiently, are all continuing to drive adoption and innovation - a scenario that is guaranteed to continue into 2023 and beyond.