The International Broadcasting Convention, now known as IBC, started in 1967 with the introduction of the first colour TV. For more than 55 years, the global media, entertainment and technology industries have come together under the umbrella of this annual convention.
In that time, they’ve witnessed landmark moments in broadcast history, including the first global satellite link-up, live coverage of the first moon landings, the introduction of various digital broadcast hardware, and the emergence of the “disruptive” platforms and technologies.
This year, IBC was special. It was the first in-person IBC after the COVID-19 pandemic and welcomed 37,071 attendees and 1000+ exhibitors from over 170 countries into the 12-hall exhibition. Today, IBC is as much about streaming, social media, and personal devices as it’s about broadcasting, cable, and satellite.
The adoption of cloud, data, IP, and SaaS/PaaS-based solutions was an important theme this year – particularly the exciting opportunities created by 5G use cases for broadcasting. We also saw more immersive and unique audience experiences than ever before, as next-generation technologies like AI, AR/VR, and the Metaverse made deeper inroads.
Among these industry experts was our team at NTT DATA, hosting along with NTT Electronic experts, taking careful note of new trends and technologies for all those media and broadcasting decision makers who are always looking for insights to stay ahead of their competition.
Read on for the four hottest trends from the event that you should be aware of.
1) Remote production is here to stay
One of the biggest topics of discussion for broadcast professionals was remote production. REMI (Remote Integration Model) is a broadcast workflow where you capture content live at a remote location while performing production at the main studio. This broadcast workflow was devised to make live production more efficient.
The global pandemic has ignited demand for technologies that enable no-compromise workflows with talent and crew located anywhere. Attendees at IBC 2022 have grown to take this kind of workflow for granted. With the accelerated migration towards distributed productions, depending on connected and elastic technological solutions, Agile and streamlined remote production workflows are now the norm.
5G connectivity has empowered remote production beyond our wildest dreams. Broadcasters can hold production off-site, saving on staffing, travelling, and heavy equipment transportation costs for live events. Your ability to stream high-definition footage via multiple cameras to remote producers in real-time is the kind of interconnectivity that is only made possible by 5G networks’ low latency and high throughput.
The benefits of remote production are profound. Broadcasters are enthused by the more efficient use of production equipment via a central facility rather than tying it up in travel between venues. This enables the production of Tier 1 events with reduced crew at the venue, saving time and money while keeping everyone safe.
2) OTT services are adapting to lower consumer spending
With exhibitors and attendees from some of the world’s largest streaming services, OTT (over-the-top) consumption was a topic on everybody’s lips this year.
The surging usage of OTT services throughout the pandemic created strong growth in the sector, but the recent relaxation of lockdown rules in combination with shocking inflation and cost-of-living crises has depressed consumer spending. As a result, we saw how subscriber counts are falling for many providers.
So, OTT platforms like Disney+ and Netflix are introducing new revenue models, catering to consumers with a squeezed discretionary spending budget. With cheaper, ad-based subscriptions, our colleagues in these companies are hoping to reduce the high churn affecting OTT operators.
Another concern we’ve heard is that, with OTT’s maturity where it is, it’s very difficult for new entrants to directly launch their services. This means these companies may be forced to partner with other mature OTT platforms. Examples of this kind of partnership include Paramount+ launching in collaboration with Sky in the UK, or BritBox’s launch in the US via Amazon Prime’s platform as an add-on.
In order to ride out these turbulent times, businesses are having to get creative with their business models to thrive.
3) Mature supply chains help to capitalise on market dynamics
Another trend we took careful note of was the impact of the pandemic, along with disruption in the global supply chain, hastening the need for media organisations of all sizes to have a mature and robust supply chain. Supply chains were tested to breaking point both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. But businesses are beginning to transform their operations and infrastructure to find a source of competitive advantage from their supply chains, rather than treating them as constraints.
With our partner SDVI, a fast-emerging media supply chain management leader, we looked at how, using on-demand applications and new levels of technical agility, resource efficiency, and process intelligence, broadcast companies can lead the competition instead of following.
The idea is to empower operators with increased efficiency and the best application for every job in the supply chain. This also gives operators enterprise-wide visibility of the end-to-end supply chain, with data from every step/process to inform better decision-making and optimise infrastructure utilisation and management.
Traditional media facilities, which are normally distributed across regions or countries, have evolved over time to become sprawling technology datacentres, full of systems deployed to satisfy whatever new need came up.
Over time, these facilities have become inflexible and cost inefficient, with scores of underutilised assets waiting for work that may never come. The deployed applications served a need at one point, and may still satisfy a current requirement, but they aren’t always capable of meeting new requirements.
So, this means another new system must be deployed, with a long procurement cycle and a complicated integration process. This lengthy cycle prevents a fast response to market dynamics, often resulting in forfeited opportunities because the infrastructure could not be built up fast enough. Even if spare capacity can be used to capitalize on a new opportunity, the lack of visibility into per-unit costs or time makes it hard to know the true status and cost of every project.
4) Every company is responsible for sustainability and Net Zero
What topic has been talked about more passionately and more significantly in recent years than sustainability? At IBC this year, sustainability was a popular topic, particularly in the context of remote production, the metaverse, and the supply chain.
The consensus from attendees and vendors was this: sustainability and zero carbon initiatives are the responsibility of the entire industry. They’re not optional extras. Everyone in the ecosystem, from suppliers to partners, clients, and end-users expects sustainability commitments like never before.
Climate conditions like drought, floods, and extreme cold or heat are felt by billions across the world today. Net Zero is a non-negotiable strategy – for companies and for entire governments too. The BBC is one of those leading the way in sustainable transformation, along with its partners and suppliers. The media industry stands at the forefront of Net Zero implementation: everything from content creation to content publishing, across the supply chain, is on the table.
Gregor McQuattie, Client Partner at NTT DATA UK&I, explained to audiences how NTT DATA keeps sustainability at the centre of every project we execute and how our entire business, from Japan to the US, the UK, and all over the world, is aligned in this common goal. To read more about our commitments to the British telecoms and media industry, click here.
Net Zero and sustainability can’t be seen as risk management any longer. Instead, we need to see them as investments in a net positive future. Net Zero is the biggest driver of tech innovation in the industry, and we shouldn’t underestimate the commercial opportunity that’s there to be seized when we tackle these problems.
But isolation suffocates these projects before they can even begin. It takes business leaders coming together in cross-industry collaborations to make them a reality. What we need to do is to work together to tackle the problems at hand
Even though IBC is one of Europe’s most crucial conferences in the broadcasting and media industry, the spread of information and ideas never ends. The lessons and key trends we’ve identified here will be vital for us in coming years.
This fast-moving, disruptive industry has captivated the world for decades and we need to keep our eyes firmly on the future: staying aware and empowering audiences to consume content, on demand, wherever they may be.
To read more about NTT DATA’s work in the media and broadcasting industry, such as using AI to win fan engagement, click here.