As media companies face unprecedented challenges, IABM’s Lorenzo Zanni looks at the key themes from IBC2019: Transformation, collaboration, and aggregation

IBC2019 Lorenzo Zanni

IBC2019: Lorenzo Zanni

Media companies and technology suppliers alike are going through an unprecedented transformation dictated by the move to direct-to-consumer (DTC) models. At IBC 2019, we heard how media companies are transforming their business and technology strategies to fit the new DTC paradigms. They are experimenting with new business models, including a mix of SVOD and AVOD; investing in consumer-facing systems, and re-skilling their employees in new technologies as well as DTC relationships.

Technology suppliers are going through a similar transformation as they move to subscription and consumption-based payment models. At the IABM Opening Keynote Executive Session, we heard how vendors like Grass Valley are adapting to this. As argued in our IBC Special Report, change is happening faster with dire consequences for those who do not adapt quickly enough.

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Source: IABM

As argued in our IBC Special Report, scale in content, data, technology, and revenues is key to survival in this crowded marketplace. This was a recurrent theme at IBC 2019. As digital giants launch streaming offerings and pump money into original programming, traditional broadcasters are forming alliances in revenue-generating activities such as OTT and advertising to better compete with them. In the IBC Conference session on AI/ML I chaired on Tuesday, it was interesting to see RTS conveying the need for collaboration through a slide showing that many small fishes can beat a big fish. Collaboration affects people, business and technology. On the supply-side of the industry, partnerships are proliferating to enable interoperability of different technology solutions and business flexibility as well as solve the new problems posed by digital offerings.

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As DTC offerings proliferate, standing out in a crowded marketplace is becoming increasingly important. Personalization is key though, ironically, a need for aggregation beyond the old pay-TV bundle has emerged. This was another recurrent theme at the show with some of the digital giants being highlighted as potential winners in the long-term. As argued in our IBC Special Report, the points of contact with the consumers, be they streaming devices or smart TVs, maybe where the focus is moving.

Some media companies are liaising with consumer electronics manufacturers to make this happen. From a technology perspective, the industry is following a similar trend, as an increasing number of small media specialists provide their services on top of large cloud platforms. Media companies still have a strong preference for best-of-breed solutions though some technology suppliers may become the ultimate gatekeepers of specialist media services.

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Lorenzo Zanni is lead research analyst at the IABM

The IABM is one of IBC’s owners. Find out more about IBC’s owners here