Analyzing Where is Money Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry – The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

Posted by Joe Zaller
Aug 08 2012

This is the third 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 previous post, I discussed The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, which shows which industry trends are most commercially important to the global sample of 2012 BBS respondents. 

Like any list of trends, this list includes a mix of current and future commercial priorities, some of which are being done today on a wide scale, some of which are in a trial phase, and others which have not yet been widely implemented.

By a wide margin, the top trend in the 2012 Trend Index is “multi-platform content delivery.”  Other important trends include the transition to file-based workflows, the transition to HDTV operations, and IP networking and content delivery.

Tracking broadcast industry trends and their evolution is useful because this shows what customers are discussing and thinking about implementing in the future.  However, a high ranking in an industry trend Index does not necessarily mean that this is where customers are spending their technology budgets in 2012 and 2013. 

Thus, it’s important to make a clear distinction between what broadcast customers are thinking and talking about in the future (industry trends), and where they are spending their technology budgets today.

Technology spending in the broadcast industry tends to be project-based. Projects might include international elections and sporting championships, to the long-term, planned capital upgrades of broadcast infrastructure and facilities.  Thus, an understanding of the major projects being implemented by broadcaster professionals around the world provides useful insight into the capital expenditure plans of the industry.

Projects represent where broadcast technology budgets are being spent today, not just what people are talking about doing in the future. 

In order to better understand this dynamic, were presented broadcast professionals with a list of major projects and asked them to indicate which ones they are currently implementing or are planning / budgeting to implement within the next year.  Their responses were then used to create the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index, which is shown below. 

 

 

When compared to The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, which can be found here, The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index illustrates where broadcast technology budgets are being spent today.

Our research shows that the difference between what people are thinking and talking about (trends), and where they are planning to spend their budgets (projects) can be quite dramatic.

For example although “multi-platform content delivery” dominated the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, the corresponding project “distribute and monetize content on multiple distribution platforms,” ranked #9 out of 17 in the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index.

In terms of where money is being spent in the broadcast industry today, more broadcast technology buyers cited “upgrading infrastructure for HD/ 3Gbps operations” than any other project.  This project correlates directly with “transition to HDTV operations,” which was ranked #3 in the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

Although the transition to HDTV operations is certainly not new, it remains one of the key drivers of broadcast technology spending in 2012 and 2013.  Even as a small number of broadcasters announce that they are close to completing their decade-long transition to HDTV, many broadcasters are still in the early stages of the move to HD.  This is especially true in emerging economies where there is still a great deal of both standard definition and analog infrastructure. 

On a global basis, the transition to HDTV has consistently been the top driver of broadcast technology spending for the past several years — it was also the top project last year in the 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index – and it appears that this will be the case for the foreseeable future.

Significantly, the move to HDTV is represented in multiple places in the Project Index.  The projects ranked #3, #5, #7, and #10 – upgrading transmission & distribution capabilities; building new studios / OB vans; launching new channels; and upgrading newsroom operations – are also related to the transition to HDTV operations, as these transmission upgrades, new studios, new channels, and upgraded news environments will almost certainly be at least HD capable, if not fully HD.

Coming in as the #2 ranked project on this Index is “Install or enhance workflow / asset management system.”  It also achieved the #2 rank in 2011, but was much further behind the transition to HDTV in terms of overall importance to broadcast customers.

Although asset management is a relatively small and specialized market, it has become increasingly important over the past several years as broadcast customers move to file-based workflows and plan for multi-platform content delivery.  The take-away here appears to be that once a broadcaster has made the transition to file-based workflows, the strategic emphasis shifts to finding, deploying, and monetizing content in the most efficient way possible.  Thus asset and workflow management are likely to become increasingly important as customers move to business models focused on multi-platform content delivery, and driven by sophisticated IT-based systems.

The rest of the list offers a mixed picture of project activity across the world, and includes everything from upgrading audio and newsrooms to multi-platform distribution being chosen in large numbers. 

As mentioned earlier, multi-platform content delivery ranked #9 in the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index.  It also was ranked #9 in 2011. Despite the importance to organizations of monetizing content on multiple distribution platforms, it appears many broadcast professionals have not solidified their business plans in this area.  This likely means that there will be significant opportunities in the future for broadcast technology vendors who offer a suite of products for multi-platform content delivery.  The current excitement surrounding OTT video and connected TV is evidence of this, but this is still a small proportion of the money being spent on broadcasting technology in 2012.

Interestingly, despite the fact that they may have the potential to deliver increased efficiencies and new revenue streams, there are several major projects that appear towards the bottom of this list. The two most obvious instances are the low ranking of “consolidate operations in regional hubs (centralcasting), and “outsourced operations (playout),” which are the bottom two projects on this list. This is because although these are high value projects, they will be undertaken by a relatively small number of organizations — i.e. large broadcasters.  This highlights that the 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index is a graphic representation of the number of all planned projects across all respondents, regardless of organization type, size, or location.  It does not measure size, value, or relative commercial importance of planned projects.  Please keep this in mind when reading this information and interpreting these findings.

 

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.

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Related Content:

The 2012 Big Broadcast Survey – Information and available reports

The 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2009 – 2012

Where is Money Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry in 2011?  The 2011 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index.   

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