Content Everywhere exhibitors set out their hopes and expectations for IBC after a three-year hiatus enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the huge number of emails, queries and press releases is anything to go by, anticipation is building among Content Everywhere exhibitors as they prepare for the first in-person IBC event since 2019 at the RAI in Amsterdam next month.
IBC has certainly changed from the event three years ago. For one thing, it has been trimmed from five days to four and includes a wide range of free educational content. The number of visitors is also expected to be lower than before, with IBC CEO Michael Crimp indicating that attendance is currently tracking 28%-30% below the record 56,000 that came to IBC 2019.
Content Everywhere exhibitors will also have to get used to a new hall location and number, with Hall 5 replacing the familiar Hall 14 this year.
Despite all these changes, and while the pandemic may have persuaded some to stay away for another year, many Content Everywhere companies cannot wait to get back to Amsterdam in order to meet colleagues, exchange information and pick up interesting ideas.
So what are they hoping and expecting to see this year after such a long time away? The Content Everywhere Newsletter has been contacting some of our regular contributors to find out what lies in store.
Happy to be back
Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo (stand 5.D65), expresses the view of many when he says he is thrilled to be back at IBC to meet partners and customers in the industry once again, and share experiences of the past two years.
“Personally, trade shows like IBC are a way for me to have my finger on the industry pulse. It’s much harder to see through the slick online marketing messages from everyone without actually seeing for yourself and discussing with key people in the industry,” Lantz says.
Martin Prins, Head of Product at Media Distillery (5.H42), agrees with this sentiment. “After almost two years without big trade shows, we are more than happy to return to IBC in our hometown of Amsterdam. For Media Distillery it will be the first time with our own booth, so we hope to welcome many visitors, catch up with our industry friends, and show our latest developments,” he says.
Nick Thexton, Chief Technology Officer at Synamedia (5.A66, 5.A69), adds that he is “really looking forward to looking people in the eye directly rather than through a computer camera.”
And Steve Russell, chief product officer at Red Bee Media (5.H48), sums it up when he says there is nowhere better to “connect across” the converging broadcast industry landscape than at IBC. “I can’t wait to get together with old and new friends. To reacquaint. To laugh together. To move forward together,” he says.
In terms of what the leading trends will be, Lantz says he expects to be discussing the overall impact of the current macro-economic turbulence on consumer over-the-top (OTT) spending.
“TV has always been quite insulated from economic downturns, but at the same time, many consumers are struggling with inflation impacting their spending power. I’m looking forward to discussing how video service providers can find new ways of monetising customers and mitigating churn in this environment,” he says.
Tom Dvorak, CCO and co-founder of XroadMedia (5.C28), says it will be interesting to see how streaming services have really taken off, and how personalisation is becoming central to those services. “We expect some exciting news and innovations, particularly in the areas of user experiences and service monetisation, mainly around targeted advertising,” he says.
Meanwhile, David Vargas, CEO of DVEO (5.F41), points to “a great movement in the market” in search of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels and low latency streaming services.
“People are investing more and more of their time into engaging programming. However, several on-demand services are available, leaving viewers confused about what to watch. So what we’re seeing is that some viewers are looking for linear yet personalised content that delivers what they want based on their interests. With that in mind, FAST channels are a great opportunity,” Vargas says.
David Thompson, Chief Product Officer at Veset (5.D36), adds that the management of distribution to FAST platforms is a hot topic this year. “Although this is getting easier as many platforms are using the same formats and technologies, it will be good to see new technologies that can streamline and improve the process even further,” he says.
Bart Lozia, CEO of Better Software Group (BSG/5.A55), also identifies the rise of FAST channels as something to watch, in addition to application and content personalisation and viewer retention. “Discovering new possibilities — this is what IBC gives us all, and that’s why we come back every year”, Lozia says.
Synamedia’s Thexton is expecting to see “a seismic shift from a highly customised, bespoke approach to a more productised world where customers’ pain points are more quickly addressed”.
He highlights a rising appetite for advertising among content providers and thinks video networking “in particular with regards to low latency, is ripe for disruption”.
He adds: “Piracy is a trend that continues to get bigger and bigger. Streaming pirates can easily break the chain of proof of content ownership so it’s vital as an industry we continue working together to keep one step ahead.”
Rick Young, SVP for global products at LTN Global (5.A77), says he hopes to see attendees “engaging in great discussions about the next chapter for our industry”.
“We are in one of the most exciting transitions, and there is no better time to start putting ideas into practice and sharing our knowledge. The evolution of cloud-based technology and remote production has made great strides in the past two years, and we hope to not only showcase what LTN has been doing in this space but also discuss the trends that are shaping the future of media,” Young says.
For his part, Alex Liu, co-founder of NETINT Technologies (5.C30), is hoping to see the industry tackle the challenges brought by the huge growth in streaming video.
Antonio Corrado, CEO and founder at MainStreaming (5.H34), also notes that many issues related to video streaming still exist, “and often the delivery of content is not up to the quality audiences are used to with traditional mediums”.
He adds: “Live events, in particular, need flawless streaming for the ultimate viewing experience. Data has to flow seamlessly and overcome all the obstacles on its path to reach the users on time.”
Of course, one of the best parts of IBC is the social element once the day’s meetings are over. There will no doubt be plenty of opportunities to swap stories over a pint of Amstel or Heineken accompanied by a side dish of bitterballen and old Gouda.
Some exhibitors are even bringing their own beer. Matt Hughes, chief commercial officer at M2A Media (5.H57), says the company will be offering pints of M2A Craft beer during the M2A Media and Mux Happy Hour at its stand on Friday from 4-6pm.
For those with a sweet tooth, Media Distillery will be serving the famous Dutch Stroopfwafels.
See you all at IBC!