IBC Partners share their expectations and priorities going into 2018, after a year which saw the rise of FAANG, companies merging, industries converging and the continuing shift in audience power.
Six international bodies - IABM, IET, IEEE, RTS, SCTE and SMPTE - are the partners behind IBC, representing both exhibitors and visitors.
Looking back over the last 12 months IEEE Broadcast Technology Society President Bill Hayes said the developments related to UHD are progressing as he expected but the real surprise is “the speed that SMPTE ST 2110 has been rolled out to bring IP interconnection into the professional environment.”
”Constant transformational change is now a fact of life in the broadcast and media industry” - Peter White, IABM
SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange made a similar point. She said: “Over the past decade, we’ve seen the progress towards an IP-oriented infrastructure within the media ecosystem. We are seeing that trend accelerate which is creating a chaotic environment as there are those who can adapt well, while others, not so much.”
Lange said it is an exciting time seeing the disruptors emerging and growing as large players with huge influence in what was a previously traditional and legacy-centred industry.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Group Financial Controller, David Bunyan said the entry of Facebook into the sports broadcasting arena and its ability to bid for rights is a development he expects to dominate in the future.
The key for longevity success is “developing business models to monetise content coming across OTT providers,” he explained.
“Constant transformational change is now a fact of life in the broadcast and media industry,” said IABM Chief Executive Peter White.
“The industry is embracing it, with technology suppliers working ever-more collaboratively with broadcast and media companies to meet the new challenges.”
White told IBC365: “While technology is enabling the transformation, what is driving it is the shift of power into the hands of consumers, who now demand and expect to get the content they want, anytime, anywhere and on any device.
“This shift of power was well in to its process in previous years, 2017 was the pivot point to a fully ‘pull’ industry.”
Consequently these changes have seen major movement in traditional broadcast and media companies’ business models. White foresees company convergence and consolidation to continue into 2018 and beyond.
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The Society for Broadband Professionals (SCTE) Chief Executive Roger Blakeway said the transportation through IP will change the supply chain, however he emphasised the real question is on the investment cycle in new technology and the value it offers.
He said: “The final distributors (of content) will have to adopt the new technology and be the bi-directional doctors.”
The Royal Television Society (RTS) Chief Executive Theresa Wise spoke about the power of audiences, pointing at BBC’s Blue Planet signficant viewing figures and the huge success of ITV’s Love Island.
“These programmes continued their extraordinary success with most age groups,” Wise said, explaining that the watercooler angle combined with high quality editing combined to generate success across genres and contexts.
Trends to look out for
With the news of Disney set to buy 20th Century Fox, the most common trend suggested by partners was for major broadcasters to pursue direct-to-consumer relationships.
White expects in 2018 to see major broadcasting companies become more efficient and agile in a response to the market changes as well as in an attempt to capitalise on their audiences reach and to monetise offerings.
He said: “Technologies such as the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) will help them navigate through this strategic shift. This trend is set to disrupt the relationship between content creators and distributors, with the former going direct-to-consumer and the latter acquiring content companies to shelter themselves from this storm.
“This should bring and increasing convergence between content and distribution, as demonstrated by recent acquisitions.”
Wise said that industry consolidation is a trend altering the media industry and one which is likely to continue into 2018. “It is a race to scale,” she said.
The migration to an IP-oriented workflow will be the biggest trend in 2018, Lange explained.
She said: “More specifically, there will likely be trends that appear which support that migration. SMPTE is working on relevant standards and specifications that fully support this transition.”
“I think SMPTE-2110 will be a hot topic for the next couple of years,” Hayes said, adding that the roll out of ATSC 3.0 will dominate 2018 and for a few more years going forwards.
“While it is primarily a North American roll out, the underlying technologies have implications on a global scale. The media industry will also be quite focused on the development of 5G infrastructures and their application in media.”
Blakeway spoke about the importance of emerging regions in the global market. He said there are 4.5 thousand cable operators in India, there is a huge digital market and the broadband distribution divergence will be ever present.
White added: “Technology commoditisation is increasingly democratising the use of video, creating new media opportunities for both media companies and technology suppliers.
“We have seen this in the rise of sectors such as live streaming and e-sports, which are already big areas of interest for media companies. New media technology users will also emerge as a result of this trend that sees video used for a variety of purposes.”
Bunyan concluded the changes will see major industry changes however the biggest impact to dominate the industry he believes is the threat and challenge of cyber security.
He said: “There will be a great impact if you are not cyber safe. From being hacked and the reputational risk of fake news, cyber security is not going away.”
Priorities for 2018
One of the resounding priorities for all partners in 2018 is the need to champion and train talent. Bunyan said: “We will be encouraging the next generation to invest in an engineering career, particularly female engineers as there is only 9% of females represented in the industry.”
Similarly, Wise said: “We want to continue focussing on the educational area.”
Looking into the future Hayes predicts the broadcasting industry as we know it today will not exist, rather a methodology for distribution content. He said: “I expect to see a blending of wired, broadcast, broadband and cellular technologies into a massive layered network.” As such education across the new technologies will be significant focus in 2018.
Blakeway explains SCTE’s main priority for 2018 is to continue to improve broadband engineering, as well as championing young talent through training courses and offering new entrants a status within the industry.
White said: “In this time of unprecedented change timely, authoritative and comprehensive business information and support services are invaluable to members.
“IABM will continue to develop its business intelligence portfolio and add yet more services to support members in doing better business. But perhaps most importantly, we will continue to promote creative collaboration between our members – the technology suppliers – and their broadcast and media company customers.”
2017 was an impactful year for SMPTE, with the approval of the ST 2210 suite of standards, Lange explained going into 2018 its priority is to remain ahead of the IP-oriented workflow transition across the ecosystem.
She said: “We are actively working on industry standards that support that effort, and we will be launching a new virtual course to help educate people.”