IBC has a vital role to play in continuing to help the industry plot its way to future success, says IABM Chief Executive Peter White.

IBC bills itself as ‘The world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show’, but what’s in a title? For me it has always been much more.

IBC continues to be a place where the industry gets together not only to review and explore current and coming technologies and ideas, but also to work together to plot a successful way forward for all sides of the industry.

That’s why, as well as its influential conference, in recent years we’ve seen IBC initiatives on cyber security, 5G, telco and media innovation and of course, the Future Zone – in which IABM is curating theatre presentations this year to look at what’s next for our industry – and what’s likely coming after that too.

Peter white

IABM CEO: Peter White

Moving forward
All sides of the industry are having to come together as never before to navigate the new broadcast and media world – now no longer a ‘push’ business but very much driven by consumers, who expect the content they want, at the time and place they want it and on their devices of choice. IBC is the perfect place to move things forward – and IABM is proud to be playing a prominent role in enabling the collaboration that is so vital to this ongoing and successful venture.

Ours is a fast-evolving industry with rapidly changing business models; change is now not an option – it’s an absolute necessity for survival. The latest IABM Buying Trends Survey perfectly captures the current state of play – the continuing shift from hardware to software in most sectors of the industry, to virtualised services that can be spun up instantly, and from capex to as-a-service and pay-as-you-go opex. Efficiency is the number one priority of broadcasters as they battle to maintain and grow revenues in an increasingly competitive and fractured marketplace.

This drive for efficiency is changing broadcasters’ business models as they fight back as FAANG enters the media landscape and changes viewing habits. Technologies such as the cloud and AI are increasingly being tapped, not only in streamlining the content supply and delivery chain, but also helping in the discovery of what is in demand with viewers – where to invest in content production.

More and more companies are no longer making large one-off capex investments, but instead are spending incrementally – upgrading each area and function individually as required. According to IABM data, average financial capex in the industry declined between 2015 and 2017 although general media technology investment has grown at most media companies – meaning that more money is being spent on opex.

“All sides of the industry are having to come together as never before to navigate the new broadcast and media world driven by consumers who expect content where and whenthey want it”

From capex to opex 
Even though on-premise infrastructure will not disappear any time soon, media companies now require more flexible payment models from technology suppliers. This extends to technology integration – 98% of them regard interoperability as a top priority; fully interoperable systems can be replaced or upgraded as required, so companies can continue to develop to meet changing market needs without large chunks of capital outlay.

This transition from capex to opex is hurting some media technology vendors in the short to medium term; a one-off income of $1 million compared with say $20,000 a month will take over four years to match, but as subscription revenue increases, the future then looks much more stable and predictable.

Another growing trend uncovered by the Buying Trends Survey is the increase in media companies’ in-house development – now up to 37%. The technology they need to keep their businesses agile, flexible and growing is not always readily available, and certainly not from one source, so media companies are using components in the cloud, leveraging APIs and microservices.

There is still a prominent role for broadcast and media technology vendors in this process, applying their specialist expertise and understanding of media workflows to enable these solutions. But this new way of working also requires a new relationship between technology vendors and buyers – a move from transactional selling to collaboration: working together to solve the media company’s problem.

Heads together 
And here lies the crux of the matter: if we are going to continue to be successful in this ever-changing media landscape, we all need to get and keep our heads together to understand what’s going on and how we can best move forward to stay ahead.

That means creative collaboration – a continuing conversation and close relationship to ensure that vendors – all 1700 of them at this year’s show – and their customers, the tens of thousands of broadcast and media companies that are visiting, have a platform for all to work towards a common goal.

IBC2018 is the perfect place to develop the conversation; in reality, it’s much more than just a show – it is the place where we all get together to take this great industry on the next stage of its journey. That’s why IABM is proud to be both an IBC partner and provide the platform for collaboration that will ensure all our continuing success.