As IBC2019 opens IBC CEO Michael Crimp looks at some of the key themes that will impact this year’s shows.
Our constant goal in preparing for IBC is to ensure that we reflect the real industry talking points of the moment. IBC is the place that the real issues are debated, where knowledge and experience can be shared.
One way we do that is by ensuring our exhibition is genuinely all-embracing. As well as all the established players, we make it easy for smaller companies, and particularly companies new to the industry, to take their place. This year, for example, we have a new way to help new businesses: an arcade of pods on the elevated walkway between halls 7 and 8.
As usual, hall 14 focuses on Content Everywhere. With its own stage as well as extensive exhibition space, particularly tailored at smaller exhibitors, this provides a coherent space for everyone in rich media production, devices and apps, digital marketing, social media and second screens. Newcomers with radically innovative solutions in big data, AI and cloud services can also be found here, too.
Our long-standing emphasis on multi-screen, multi-platform delivery is an important reflection of the way our industry is changing, developing, growing. What once was a broadcast business, dependent upon achieving the best quality, now has to meet audience expectations of being able to access virtually infinite amounts of content, wherever they are, whenever they want to listen or view, and on the device that is convenient at the time.
That is not to say that quality is not important, and there are jaw-dropping demonstrations of high resolution, high dynamic range video all around the show floor. Next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo will see NHK’s public Super Hi-Vision transmissions: the 8k, 22.2 channel audio system we have been showcasing here at IBC since 2008.
But much of the excitement today comes from new ways of creating content, and new ways of delivering it. It is important that IBC remains in the forefront of these initiatives, which is why last year we forged a partnership with the TM Forum, the body that supports telecoms and media convergence.
This has brought fruit in the Media-Telecom Convergence Catalyst, with three completely fresh and exciting projects on the show floor. Major players like Al Jazeera, Associated Press, BBC R&D, RTÉ and more are using 5G, AI and big data management to develop practical solutions to creative, business and technology challenges.
One new media initiative that I am really excited by this year is the Esports Showcase on Tuesday. Esports have risen rapidly to become a global phenomenon, drawing vast audiences but posing a unique set of technical and editorial challenges. In short, it is a major opportunity for the skills of the IBC audience.
At IBC we do not believe in dry debate. If you want to understand a topic you must experience it. That is why, alongside the conference sessions, we are hosting our own contest. Two professional teams from ESL’s National Championships in Germany and Spain will go head-to-head on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, in the RAI Auditorium, our largest space.
We are investing significantly in building all the facilities an esports extravaganza demands, and everyone is welcome.
In the space available to me I can barely touch on all that makes IBC2019 so special. The Content Steering Group, chaired this year by Claire Hungate, has developed a perceptive conference programme around the theme Putting Consumers First: a New Era in Media.
There are great screenings, including a session analysing as well as watching an episode from the last series of Game of Thrones. We have added new categories for our awards programme, including social responsibility and our search for a Young Pioneer: join us on Sunday evening in the Auditorium to find out more.
And seize all the opportunities IBC has to network, to share information and to prepare yourself for the media year to come. Whatever your goals at IBC this year, I hope they are exceeded.