Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2009 – 2012

Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2012

This is the second in a series of articles about some of the findings from the 2012 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2012 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.


In a recent post about broadcast industry trends, we published the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, which shows the most important trends in the broadcast industry for 2012. 

This article looks at how trends have changed over time, and more specifically what trends became more important or less important in 2012 versus 2011.

Our view is that industry trends drive capital projects, which in turn drives technology budgets, which in turn drives product purchase.  In other words, what technology buyers say is commercially important to their business in the future (i.e. trends) will likely turn into what they are budgeting for tomorrow (i.e. projects).

Therefore it’s useful to review how the relative importance of broadcast industry trends has changed over time, because it provides a preview of where technology purchases will be made in the future. 


  • In 2009, the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index was dominated by the Transition to HDTV Operations, while multi-platform content delivery was fourth on the list


  • In 2010, multi-platform content delivery had become the most important industry trend, narrowly eclipsing file-based / tapeless workflows (which were combined in the 2010 index) and the transition to HDTV operations


  • In 2011 multi-platform content delivery became the dominant trend, where it remains in 2012


The chart below shows a comparison of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index from 2011 and 2012. 



This chart shows that multi-platform content delivery continues to increase in overall importance relative to other trends in the broadcast industry.  Other net gainers in 2012 versus 2011 include file-based / tapeless workflows, the move to automated workflows, video-on-demand and improvements video compression efficiencies; all of which show year-over year increases in the Index ranking.

Both transition to HDTV operations and IP networking & content delivery declined in the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, but stayed in the top four (where they have been since the inception of the Index in 2009).  Other notable decliners in 2012 versus 2011 were “transition to 3Gbps operations”, and “3D,” which saw the largest year-over-year decline on a percentage basis.

It should also be noted that the relatively strong showing of “cloud computing / cloud-based services” which was added to the Index in 2012, undoubtedly had a cannibalizing impact on these results.

To provide additional context on how the importance of technology trends in the broadcast industry changes over time, we have included a comparison of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index from 2010 – 2012.



When reading this chart, please bear in mind that in each of the previous two years, one additional trend was added to the Index.  In 2011, analog switch-off was added.  In 2012 cloud computing / cloud-based services was added. 

New trends are added when appropriate (and based on stakeholder feedback), in order to keep the Index current and relevant to the needs of users.  However as discussed in a previous section, this can make it more difficult to perform year-over-year data analysis.  Thus we are providing as much information as possible in this report in order to enable readers to undertake an informed analysis.


Changes in Numerical Ranking in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

As shown below, there were some interesting changes in the numerical ranking of the trends covered in the 2012 Index.  The first column in the table below shows how trends were ranked in 2012. The number in parentheses to the right of each trend shows how it ranked in the 2011 BBS Index. Although there were no changes at the top and bottom of the 2012 Index versus the 2011 Index, there was movement in between.



Several trends were ranked more highly in 2012 than in 2011.  For example the transition to file-based / tapeless workflows moved up one spot to the #2 ranking (eclipsing the transition to HDTV operations for the first time in the Index), and the move to automated workflows also moved up.  

The combination of the strength of multi-platform content delivery, the strong showing of cloud computing, and the increasing importance of file-based workflows and automated operations has significant implications.  Broadcast technology buyers are clearly focused on creating efficiencies wherever possible, while at the same time working to generate new revenue streams through multi-screen offerings.

A number of trends dropped in the Index versus previous years, the most notable being 3D which had the largest year-over-year percentage drop.

Other trends remained relatively static in terms of their ranking in 2011.  For example: “transition to 3Gbps operations,” “transition to 5.1 channel audio,” “outsourced operations,” and “green initiatives” remained the bottom four trends in 2011, as they were in 2012.  However the addition of cloud computing, which ranked #7 in the Index dropped each of these trends down one position.


Changes in Commercial Importance of Broadcast Industry Trends

As well as changes to numerical ranking, there were also year-over-year changes to the perception of commercial importance to each trend.  This is shown in the table below:



For the most part, the trends that moved up in the rankings in 2012 were also seen as more important commercially versus the previous year. 

The common theme among the items on the left side of the above chart is that they all have to do with creating new revenue streams, or cutting costs through greater efficiencies.  Analog switch-off is perhaps the odd one out here, but given that these projects are mandated by governments, they become increasingly important where relevant until the time that these projects have ended.

The items on the right of the above chart are a mixed bag.  As a generalization it’s safe to say that that many of these trends involve spending rather than saving money.  Given that much of the industry is still recovering from recession, extra spending is not a popular choice in the current business environment.


Why Tracking Movement of Trends is Important

It is important to note that there is a difference between recognizing that a trend is commercially important and having a business plan in place that capitalizes on that trend.  As stated previously, our view is that industry trends drive capital projects, which in turn drive technology budgets, which in turn drive product purchase.  In other words, what technology buyers say is commercially important to their business in the future (i.e. trends) will likely turn into what they are budgeting for tomorrow (i.e. projects).

For example, the 2012 BBS Trend Index shows that monetizing content on multiple platforms is clearly a key objective for broadcast professionals in the year ahead, yet many players, particularly on the content side, are still experimenting with their business models. At some point these trends will drive capital projects.  When that happens they will become major drivers of technology spending in the broadcast industry. 

We will review what major capital projects are being planned this year in the broadcast industry in a subsequent article.


Keep in mind when reading this information that all data in this article measures the responses of all non-vendor participants in the 2012 BBS, regardless of organization type, organization size, job title or geographic location. Responses of individual organization types or geographic locations may be very different. Granular analysis of these results is available as part of the full 2012 BBS Global Market Report. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners.



Related Content:

The 2012 Big Broadcast Survey – Information and available reports

The 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2010 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2009 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index


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