A Look at How the Recession Affected Broadcast Technology Vendors

Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 29 2010

Last week I wrote an article about how the recession impacted the technology budgets of broadcasters and other purchasers of broadcast technology products.

This showed that broadcast technology spending in EMEA held up better than in the Americas, which was hit particularly hard by the recession.  For example, 40% of respondents from the Americas reported that their budgets for 2010 were lower than in the previous year.  

So how did this reduction in spending affect the sales of vendors who supply hardware and software products to these customers?

To find out, we asked just under 800 broadcast technology vendors who participated in the 2010 Big Broadcast Survey how their company’s revenues had changed over the past year in terms of percentage growth or decline.

On an overall basis, 45% of vendors reported that their sales had either declined or stayed the same versus the previous year, and about half of respondents reported that their sales had increased – in some cases by quite a bit.

When I saw these results I wanted to know the detail behind them so that I could figure out if one type of vendor had fared better than others, and if so what were the determining factors.

For example: was company size a factor? How about location, type of products sold, or whether the vendor is a “pure-play” broadcast company or a one that operates in multiple markets including broadcast?

Based on these questions, I decided to break out the results by a variety of demographic factors, as shown in the chart below:


When the results are viewed this way it appears that the largest companies were the most impacted by the recession. 53% of respondents from vendors with 1,000+ employees reported that their sales had either declined or stayed the same. 

Large companies were closely followed by respondents based in the Americas, and those from firms that primarily supply hardware products.  More than half of these respondents reported that their sales had either declined or stayed the same versus the previous year.

In terms of pure-play versus non-pure-play broadcast vendors, respondents from firms that sell more than 80%+ of their products into the broadcast industry fared slightly worse than those who sell 20% or less of their products into the industry.

So which vendors reported the most growth?  The short answer is small companies, software vendors and VC funded private firms (many of whom are undoubtedly small providers of software products).  

In terms of overall growth 50% of vendors reported that their revenues had increased versus the previous year. However when you consider companies who provide primarily software products, this number jumps to 62% of respondents.

What about the respondents who said their company’s revenues increased the most? Again, software companies lead the way.  21% of respondents from vendors that sell primarily software products, and 18% of privately held VC-backed companies, reported that their revenue grew by more than 30% versus the previous year. And 18% of small companies (those with 50 employees or less) also reported that their revenues had increased by 30% or more.

When reading these results it’s of course important to keep in mind that revenue growth is one thing, but profitability is another. 

This analysis does not consider the profitability of vendors, but I recently wrote about the findings of a recent IABM study in this area as part of a post on my impressions of IBC 2010.

In that post I reported that during an IBC session on the state of the industry, IABM Director General Peter White stated that about 60% of broadcast technology suppliers are now making a profit – up considerably from last year – with European companies performing better in terms of profit performance.   For more information on these results, I encourage you to contact the IABM.

If you’re interested in more information about how broadcast technology vendors responded to the 2010 Big Broadcast survey, please contact me and I’ll try to give you the information you need.



This article is based on the findings from the 2010 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of industry trends, technology purchasing behavior and the opinion of vendor brands.  With more than 5,600 people in 120+ countries participating, the 2010 version of the BBS is the largest and most comprehensive market study ever done in the broadcast industry.




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