Let the broadcaster beware…. Business interests of broadcasters not always aligned with those of vendors

Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 14 2009

I have written several times about technology trends in the broadcast industry, including a look at how trends vary by geographic region, and what technology trends are most important to broadcasters.   Having done this, I decided to look more deeply at the trends that are the most important to broadcasters, and then compare this to others in the supply chain. What I found is that there are important differences between the business interests of technology suppliers (vendors and SIs) and technology buyers (broadcasters).

To get this data, I presented the nearly 5,000 people who responded to the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) with a list of 15 industry trends and asked to choose three trends from the list (ranking them 1-3) that they feel will have the most significant impact on the way they do business over the next 2-3 years. Because this question is about what’s important to the business of the respondents, it reveals much about their motivations. 

The results, which are summarized in the chart below, show that the commercial motivations of those supplying technology (vendors and systems integrators) are not always aligned with technology buyers (broadcasters).

 Question: Please rank in order (1-3) which of the following technology trends are most important to your business, with 1 being most important

Trends -- Broadcasters vs Vendors & SIs


Here’s a quick round-up of the differences between what’s important to technology buyers versus technology suppliers:

More Important to Technology Buyers (Broadcasters):

  • Transition to HDTV operations
  • Transition to tapeless workflows
  • Automated workflows
  • File-based workflows
  • Multiplatform delivery


More Important to Technology Suppliers (Vendors and Sis):

  • IP content delivery
  • Advanced encoding techniques (e.g. h.264)
  • Video on Demand
  • Transition to 3Gbps operations (1080p)
  • On-line advertising
  • 3D TV
  • Set-top box PVR/DVR
  • 4K production
  • Network DVR
  • 2K production


Looking at this, it seems to me that:

  • the trends that are most important to broadcasters are about finishing what they started and making it work in practice (transition to HD), becoming more efficient (tapeless, file-based, automated workflows) and increasing revenues (multi-platform content delivery)
  • the trends that are most important to technology suppliers are about new technology


Let’s look at this in another way… The table below depicts this, expressed as the difference between the average for each respondent group and the overall global average.  As you can see there are some major differences between broadcasters and their suppliers, particularly when it comes to transition to HDTV, tapeless workflows, automated workflows and the transition to 3Gbps:

Trend Variation -- between broadcastes and vendors

Broadcasters believe that refining workflows and gaining efficiencies, particularly through digital file management, is very important to their business, whereas vendors and systems integrators place more importance on next generation technologies such as 3Gbps operations.  Similarly broadcasters do not currently view IP content delivery as a stand out issue, whereas vendors and systems integrators believe this is to be the second most important trend influencing their business.

These findings are in-line with what Roger Crumpton of the IABM said at their market workshop recently — i.e. that broadcasters in today’s climate are focusing on completing existing projects (e.g. HDTV transition) and increasingly risk averse when it comes to new technology unless it can make them more efficient in some way (e.g. automated workflows).

So what does all this mean?   If a technology suppliers can more fully understand what’s most important to their customers they will have a better change of success, but only if they listen to what their customer is telling them and adjust their sales approach accordingly.

2 Responses

  1. Keith Magee says:

    Joe – this is an interesting article… and fine (useful!) research. I have been working with a company in Dallas, TX called Glacier Media Systems that has “bridged the gap”, and we should talk!

    Glacier has just introduced a Home Media Server for under $2000 that provides wonderful and emersive 3D for any DVD you have in your library. The technology works wonderfully and is launching this fall.

    Give me a call – I’d love to send you a system for your examination and review!

    Keith Magee
    T3 Field Services Group
    (representing Glacier / T3D Media)
    Dallas, TX
    972-243-1313 x 7513

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