Written by Paul Whybrow
Part 2 of a three-part series based on the International Broadcast Conference (IBC) 2018
Part 1 – My 5 C’s of change for broadcast
Every year the broadcast media technology industry gets together in Amsterdam to share the latest and greatest in technology for the audio and visual creative industries. Over multiple massive halls at the RAI exhibition in southern Amsterdam, it is all there. From the latest lighting, microphones and cameras right through the whole creative and production chain of studio equipment, production workflows content management systems, playout for audiences and all the tech to deliver to radios, TVs, mobiles and any other screens.
This year I spent five very happy days wandering the many exhibition halls, catching up with fellow broadcast veterans and having my eyes open for understanding the pulse of the industry across the globe and in particular in Europe and the UK. I supplemented this with a great kick off conference run by the market research and strategic consultancy Devoncroft.
After the conference, conversations and observations, I came away with the overall sense that many in the industry are fully embracing the change they are going through. Certainly, it is hard to find almost anyone who can confidently say who will be the winners and losers in the broadcast space or which industry suppliers are adapting rapidly enough to really succeed in the coming years. Compared to last year, I do see an optimism and a confidence that the new OTT competitors are realising just how media is complex is. The decades of experience, creativity and process that delivers consistent entertainment to huge audiences does count for a lot, in the audience-focussed experience all players need to create.
It seems that collectively, the industry is accepting things will never be the same again and embracing how to use their skills to win on the OTT and mobile turf. It is blending the diversity of content and access with the continuity that producers and broadcasters can be trusted to do this well, if they shift their thinking, culture and capabilities so they become the consumer hero again, like they have been for many decades.
With this context, here are my five insights I gained from the event.
Why low interest is powering Netflix
How Internet TV is not yet fully sustainable
Why IP, cloud and blockchain are this year’s buzz words
Why owner building is heading out of fashion
How unlocking skills and culture blending is the key
How this is achieved isn’t easy both in people and process, however it is clear when you talk to media tech
John Voris as the CTO of Disney Studios has the dream technology job that a lot of people could love, powering the tech for such brands as Marvel and Pixar. His team has built a StudioLAB right in the centre of the studio lot, so that producers, creators and staff have a very visible and physical presence for technology innovation so that they can see, as he put it, where the ‘magic comes to life’. This includes a 35ft square living room set up to showcase and spark collaboration on the future living room experience. I visited Sky in London which has done a similar thing with a core innovation and product showcase by the entrance of their new HQ Sky centre in London.
John’s perspective is that in the broadcast and media space ‘technology only exists if it supports storytelling’. For me this means the full broadcast and media story telling chain of story creation(production and creative process), story sharing(content management, distribution across all platforms, media management, commercial and funding models) and story connecting(the audience experience and emotional benefit ).
Seeing the passion and presence at IBC I would suggest storytelling technology is certainly healthy and thriving.
Paul Whybrowis the Managing Director and Creative Collaborator for Bodyboard Immersive Experiences. A boutique business with access to award winning creative, broadcast and immersive experience skills and consulting. Our purpose is to be the creative connector for imagining the possibilities and crafting the practical, so you can share passionate storytelling.