Archive for the ‘broadcast industry technology trends’ Category

Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: IBC 2014 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 09 2014

In advance of the upcoming IBC trade show in Amsterdam, Devoncroft Partners has published an analysis of the trends and strategic drivers in the broadcast and media technology sector.

A link to download this report can be found at the bottom of this page.

 

Devoncroft Partners – IBC 2014 – Observations and Analysis of Media Technology Industry (image)

 

The report covers and provides commentary on a variety of significant market trends, drivers, and events, including:

 

  • Review of recent significant industry developments, and thoughts on future trends

 

  • Financial performance of selected industry vendors

 

  • Business and technical observations from vendors end-users

 

  • Ongoing consolidation of end-users and vendors

 

  • Recent private placements, investments, and IPOs

 

  • The disruption of the TV business…. Still waiting

 

  • Selected vendor announcements

 

  • Broadcast industry trends

 

  • Where money is being spent in the broadcast industry

 

  • The “trend-spend disconnect”

 

  • Transition to IP – analysis of strategic drivers

 

  • Review of technology opportunities

 

  • Thoughts on the next big thing

 

 

Included in the analysis are excerpts from the 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), the largest and most comprehensive study of  technology trends, buyer behavior, and vendor brands in the broadcast and media technology sector.

We welcome feedback, comments, and questions on this report

If you would like to schedule a meeting at the IBC show, please let us know as soon as possible.  We are in the process of finalizing the IBC schedule for the Devoncroft team, and have very limited availability remaining.

We hope to see you in Amsterdam.

 

Please click here to download a PDF copy (5 MB) copy of Devoncroft’s IBC 2014 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry (registration required).

 

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Related Content:

Devoncroft Partners: IBC 2014 – Observations and Analysis of Media Technology Industry (registration required)

2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Evertz Reports Record Revenues for First Quarter of New Fiscal Year

broadcast industry technology trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Quarterly Results | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 09 2014

Evertz announced record revenue for the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year of C$98.0m, up 54% versus the same period a year ago (a poor quarter for the company), and up 12.5% versus the previous quarter.

Net earnings for the quarter were C$19.7m ($0.27 earnings per share), an increase of 61.3% versus the first fiscal quarter of 2014, and an increase of 33% versus the preceding quarter. The company generated C$15.3m cash from operations in the quarter.  This compares to cash from operations of C$2.7m during the same period last year and negative C$1.3m during the previous quarter.

The revenue result is the highest in Evertz’s corporate history. It came in well above the consensus estimates of equity analysts, which were expecting revenue of $C91.7m and earnings of C$0.24 per share.

Evertz EVP Brian Campbell attributed the strong performance “to the ongoing transition to HD, channel proliferation, the increasing global demand for high-quality video anywhere anytime, to worldwide demand for Evertz’s comprehensive product offering with our optimized workflow solutions providing compelling value to customers and to the growing adoption of Evertz’s state of the art sports replay and our software defined video networking solutions”

Revenue in the US/Canada region was C$55.5m, up 55% versus the same period a year ago, and up 28.8% versus the previous quarter. US/Canada sales were 57% of total revenue during the quarter, up from 56% of revenue during the same period a year ago, and 49.5% of revenue last quarter.

International revenue was C$42.5m, representing 52% growth versus the previous year’s result and a slight decrease of 3.7% when compared to the previous quarter. International sales were 43% of total revenue, down from 44% last year and 50.5% last quarter.

The top ten customers in the quarter accounted for 31% of revenue (C$17.2m), and the largest customer in the quarter accounted for 6% of revenue (C$3.3m).

During the first quarter of fiscal 2015, Evertz had 86 individual customers each representing over $200,000 of revenue.

Gross margins in the quarter were 57.0%, down slightly from 57.5% last year and up from 56.3% last quarter. Evertz executives said that the gross margin performance in the quarter were within the company’s target range of 56% to 60%.  Consistent with recent calls, equity analysts asked both why the company’s gross margins were not increasing more rapidly with revenue growth, and what is required for gross margins to move to the high-end of Management’s target range.

While Management cited gross margins drivers of product mix, geographic mix, and the discounting of volume orders, the principal factor was the competitive pricing environment.  “We’ve been in a quite a competitive pricing environment for the last year, so there hasn’t been any significant change to that.” noted Campbell.

R&D expenses in the second quarter were C$15.8m, an increase of 18% versus the same period last year, and down 2.8% versus the previous quarter.  R&D expenses were approximately 13.6% of revenue in the quarter, lower on a percentage basis than last year (16.6%) and last quarter (15.8%) due to higher revenue.

Selling and administrative expenses for the quarter were C$13.4m, an increase of 16% versus last year, and a decrease of 18.8% versus the previous quarter. Selling and administrative expenses represented approximately 15.5% of revenue in the quarter versus 20.5% of revenue during the same period last year, and 18.9% of revenue last quarter.

The company said that its shipments in August 2014 were C$25m, and that its purchase order backlog at the end of the quarter was in excess of C$46m.

The company ended the quarter with $103.4m of cash and short term investments up slightly from C$102.0 at the end of last quarter.

There was some additional commentary provided during management’s exchange with equity analysts:

Thanos Moschopoulos, BMO: “…With respect to the EXE and the overall IP product platform, is there any incremental color you can provide in terms of the types of customers you are seeing adopt that solution?”

Brian Campbell, Evertz: “…We are definitely seeing good interest and traction within our broadcast and new media customer set”

Rob Young, Canaccord Genuity: “…A lot of your competitors have been going through large M&A and are you seeing any beneficial environment for Evertz while some of these large competitors change their strategy?”

Brian Campbell, Evertz: “Yes we have picked up market share from our perspective.  We have very solid year-over-year growth and I don’t know that any of the competitors have had anything similar to that although some of them are no longer public entities where you can see the numbers. So I would say that yes we have definitely benefited and as a consequence perhaps of their activities but also directly resulting from the very significant, sustained investments we’ve made in new products and innovation.

Campbell concluded the call by emphasizing several points, “Our commitment to R&D continues to deliver innovative solutions enabling our customers to migrate to IP and IT based solutions to address the increasing complexities of our industry and to implement multiscreen TV everywhere anytime solutions.  Our customers have confidence in Evertz’s financial stability and our competitive position as one of the largest pure-players in the broadcast technology sector.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Evertz Technologies Limited Revenue for the three months ended July 31, 2014

Evertz Revenue Declines 33 Percent in Q1 Fiscal 2014

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© Devoncroft partners 2009-2014. All Rights Reserved.

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2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, market research, Top Broadcast Vendor Brands | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 15 2014

After months of data collection, analysis, and visualization, we have now completed work on the 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS). Reports from this study have now been published and are available from Devoncroft Partners.

If you’re not familiar with the BBS, it’s the most comprehensive annual study of technology end-users in the global broadcast industry. Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries participated in the 2014 BBS, making it once again the largest market study of the broadcast industry.

BBS reports have been designed to help readers improve their strategic decision-making, customer engagement, marketing strategy, product planning, and sales execution.  BBS reports are also used frequently for M&A-related activities by both buyers and sellers.

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Three types of 2014 BBS reports are available:

  • 2014 BBS Global Brand Reports:  provides deep insight into how each more than 100 broadcast technology suppliers (see full list below) are perceived by market participants, along with comprehensive benchmarking of broadcast technology vendors on a wide variety of metrics.

 

  • 2014 BBS Product Reports:  provide detailed information from buyers, specifiers, and users of broadcast technology products in 31 separate categories (see full list below)

 

  • 2014 BBS Global Market Report: provides detailed information about industry trends, major projects being planned, products being evaluated for purchase, current and future plant infrastructure, broadcast technology CapEx budgets, and planned deployment of new technologies including 4K, Connected TV, and Social TV.

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If you would like information about these reports and how they can help your business, please get in touch.

 

In addition to these paid-for reports, we will also be publishing highlights from the 2014 BBS on the Devoncroft website.  These articles will be posted on a semi-regular basis, so please check back often.

To receive posts when they are published, just enter your email in the box in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

 

The tables below show the product categories and broadcast technology vendor brands covered in the 2014 BBS.

 

 Product Categories Covered in the 2014 BBS:

2014 BBS -- Product Categories Covered in the 2014 Big Broadcast Survey

 

 

Broadcast Technology Brands Covered in the 2014 BBS:

 

2014 BBS -- All Brands included in 2014 BBS

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.© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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3rd Annual “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” Draws Huge Crowd at NAB 2014

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2014

This was the scene as we kicked off the third annual “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology”  event at the NAB 2014 Show.

This half-day session was co-produced by Devoncroft Partners, Silverwood Partners, and the organizers of the 2014 NAB Show (to whom both Devoncroft and Silverwood are very grateful).

We had a standing-room only crowd from the moment the doors opened, and attendees were not disappointed by the outstanding information presented on the day.  The power of this unique event is that it brings together three ordinarily disparate groups — technology vendors, broadcasters, and financial firms — to discuss and debate important business issues facing the industry at a time of incredibly dynamic change.

 

SRO Crowd at NAB

 

We would especially like to thank our speakers and panelists for not only taking times out of their busy lives to prepare for and attend this event, but also (especially) for their thoughtful and often candid assessment of the state of the broadcast industry today, and what the future may bring.

In particular we would like to thank Vince Roberts,EVP Global Operations and Chief Technical Officer of Disney/ABC Television for his outstanding keynote address, which which provided a truly thought-provoking insight into the future of the media industry (and he’s funny too).

 

In case you missed this event, the full agenda  included:

 

Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Financing

Presenters:

  • Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners
  • Joshua Stinehour: Managing Director, Silverwood Partners

 

 

The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2014

Presenter:

  • Joe Zaller: President, Devoncroft Partners

 

 

Business Strategy Perspective From Industry Executives

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Sam Blackman: CEO and Co-founder, Elemental Technologies
  • Louis Hernandez. Jr.: President and Chief Executive Officer, Avid
  • Joop Janssen: CEO, EVS
  • Michelle Munson: President, CEO and co-founder, Aspera, an IBM company

 

 

Keynote: Vince Roberts: CTO and EVP Global Operations, Disney/ABC Television Group

 

 

IABM Research Overview

Presenter:

  • Peter White: Chief Executive Officer, IABM

 

 

The Broadcast Buyer Perspective on Business Models, Trends, and Technology Advancement

 

Moderator:

Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Phil Braden: SVP Technology and Applications, PCCW Global
  • Del Parks: SVP Operations & Engineering, Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Todd Daly: EVP Operations & Systems Engineering, Fox Broadcasting
  • Andy Tennant: Technology Director, Studios, ITV

 

 

Keynote: Vince Roberts: CTO and EVP Global Operations, Disney/ABC Television Group

 

Investor Perspectives on Industry

Moderator:

Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners

 

Panelists

  • Jeff Parks, Founding Partner, Riverwood Partners
  • Rohan Rai: Director, Wasserstein & Company
  • Sunit Mukherjee: Principal, Symphony Technology Group

 

 For those of many of you who asked for copies of presentations, please email info [at] devoncroft [dot] com and we will try to respond as soon as possible after the 2014 NAB Show.

 

Finally, thanks to all those who attended the event and sat in such a crowded room.

 

Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, there are two key takeaways from this event:

  • The content and substance of the event was terrific
  • You might want to consider a larger room next time

 

 

Were you there?  What did you think?  Please let us know.

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Want to Understand the Top Issues at NAB 2014? Don’t Miss “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology”

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 05 2014

NAB 2014 Strategy-Session-Logos

 

If you are interested how the dramatic changes impacting the broadcast industry may shape its future, you won’t want to miss the third annual NAB Show event co-produced by Devoncroft, Silverwood Partners and the organizers of the NAB Show.

Now part of the NAB 2014 Broadcast Management Conference, this half-day session is called “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology.”

It will be held in room N235 of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sunday April 6th from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Download the full agenda and speaker biographies here.

As always, this event features an intensive, information-packed series of presentations and panels that discuss the strategic trends and industry-specific factors influencing the value of media technology companies.

We’ve worked hard to put together an outstanding line-up of speakers and presenters, including top technology buyers, leading technology vendor CEOs, and private equity investors who will speak to the opportunities and challenges involved with financing the next phase of technology change in the industry.

The agenda offers attendees the informed opinions of technology purchasers, industry executives, market research organizations, and financial professionals. The event will serve as a thought-provoking kick-off to the 2014 NAB Show.

Highlights will include panel discussions featuring leading vendor CEOs, senior executives from leading broadcasters, and private equity investors who will speak to the opportunities and challenges involved with financing the next phase of technology change in the industry.

In addition, the audience will benefit from preliminary excerpts from the Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s definitive demand-side market report, and the IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market report.

This session is intended for senior executives from technology vendors, end-users, and investment firms in the media technology sector.

Please click here for more information and/or to register.

 

 

Here’s the current agenda:

Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

Sunday April 6, 2014

1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Room N235 Las Vegas Convention Center

Part of the 2014 NAB Broadcast Management Conference

 

 

1:45 pm – 1:50 pm

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

 

1:50 pm – 2:15 pm

Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Financing

Jonathan Hodson-Walker and Joshua Stinehour of Silverwood Partners will present an analysis of strategic industry trends and the specific factors that affect company valuations, including an updated perspective on transaction activity and valuations, vendor strategic considerations, and the current M&A environment along with near-term expectations.

 

Presenters:

  • Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners
  • Joshua Stinehour: Managing Director, Silverwood Partners

 

 

2:15 pm – 2:40 pm

The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2014

Top broadcast analyst Joe Zaller will present a summary of key data derived from a variety of broadcast market intelligence projects including the newly published 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), the industry’s definitive demand-side market report. Discussion topics will include strategic drivers of broadcast technology spending, key customer investment areas, new technology deployment trends, and the most significant industry trends impacting end-user purchasing decisions.

 

Presenter:

  • Joe Zaller: President, Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:40 pm – 3:15 pm

Business Strategy Perspective From Industry Executives

This panel of recognized executives at leading vendors will offer views on the critical drivers of company valuation in the industry, the best practices the panelist’s have learned on how to evaluate M&A opportunities, and the preferred approach for integrating M&A into overall growth strategies. The panelists will also consider the question of how broader technology trends are impacting the vendor community in the industry.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Sam Blackman: CEO and Co-founder, Elemental Technologies
  • Louis Hernandez. Jr.: President and Chief Executive Officer, Avid
  • Joop Janssen: CEO, EVS
  • Michelle Munson: President, CEO and co-founder, Aspera, an IBM company

 

 

3:35 pm – 3:50 pm

IABM Research Overview

Peter White, Chief Executive of the IABM (the trade group that represents suppliers of broadcast technology worldwide), will present an overview of the latest end-user research from the IABM along with selected excerpts from the recently completed IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market report.

Presenter:

  • Peter White: Chief Executive Officer, IABM

 

 

3:50 pm – 4:20 pm

The Broadcast Buyer Perspective on Business Models, Trends, and Technology Advancement

A panel of technology decision makers at leading broadcasters will offer informed perspectives on the most significant industry trends affecting technology budgets and the technology purchase decision. The audience will benefit from an emphasis on the business implications of technology decisions to broadcasters.

 

Moderator:

Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Phil Braden: SVP Technology and Applications, PCCW Global
  • Del Parks: SVP Operations & Engineering, Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Todd Daly: EVP Operations & Systems Engineering, Fox Broadcasting
  • Andy Tennant: Technology Director, Studios, ITV

 

 

4:20 pm – 4:45 pm

Keynote: Vince Roberts: CTO and EVP Global Operations, Disney/ABC Television Group

ABC/Disney EVP and CTO Vince Roberts will highlight the major business model challenges facing the industry and the implications to technology development. Mr. Roberts will focus on the actual commercial factors driving technology deployments today, and what can reasonably be expected in the near future. Referencing initiatives at Disney relating to topics such as IP-based infrastructure and the Cloud, the audience will gain an improved understanding of how changes in media consumption and fundamental technology transitions, ultimately affect technology vendors.

 

 

4:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Investor Perspectives on Industry

This panel of leading investment professionals in the media and entertainment sector will offer the audience the institutional investor’s perspective on the industry. The discussion will include the panelist’s intelligence-gathering plans for the NAB Show, views on the trends that are driving investment dollars in the sector, and a review of the characteristics influencing the evaluation of an investment opportunity.

Moderator:

Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners

 

Panelists

  • Jeff Parks, Founding Partner, Riverwood Partners
  • Rohan Rai: Director, Wasserstein & Company
  • Sunit Mukherjee: Principal, Symphony Technology Group

 

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Related Content:

2014 NAB Show Session Details – Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

Download the full agenda and speaker biographies here

Save the Date: Third Annual Media Technology Strategy Conference at the NAB 2014 Show

 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 

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Arista Networks Files for $200 Million IPO

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, SEC Filings | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 02 2014

IP switching vendor Arista Network has filed for an IPO and plans to raise as much as $200m.

The company has garnered a great deal of attention from leading broadcast technologists because one of its products enables frame-accurate switching of uncompressed HD-SDI video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6).

Arista, whose core customers are high-speed financial traders and cloud computing firms, had revenue of $361.2m in 2013, up 87% versus the previous year, and its net income doubled to $42.5m.

Based on these results, it’s clear that the company is aiming for data center and financial clients rather than the much smaller broadcast routing switcher market.

Nevertheless, Arista has made friends in high places in the broadcast world.

At the annual SMPTE technical conference in October 2013, Artista founder Andy Bechtolsheim co-presented a paper with Thomas Edwards, VP of Engineering & Development at FOX NE&O called “Video Processing in an FPGA-enabled Ethernet Switch,” which described how Fox has tested Arista’s product in its lab.  Although Bechtolsheim was careful to note that the demonstration was a proof-of-concept rather than a product, Edwards said that Arista products showed great promise, by performing extremely well and not dropping a single packet.

At the time of the 2013 SMPTE conference, Edwards said “FOX NE&O believes that professional media networking is the future of the broadcast plant, including the networked transport of our uncompressed high-definition live video streams. We believe that converging our video streams onto the Ethernet infrastructure will provide enhanced agility and flexibility to our business, and also it may potentially bring savings by allowing us to purchase more COTS hardware and thus benefit from economies of scale. The broadcast industry is at a very early point in this technological transition, so FOX NE&O greatly values Arista Networks’ contribution to this proof-of-concept to help test out some of the basic video processing requirements of professional media networks.”

Fox is not the only proponent of moving towards a truly IP-based infrastructure, governed by software defined networking (SDN). Indeed this shift may be one of the biggest technology trends over the next 5+ years, and bring major changes to the industry as a result.

Last month Eric Wolf, VP Technology Strategy at PBS told the audience at the HPA Technology Retreat that his company’s new disaster recovery center that’s based completely on virtualized IT systems, along with “little bits” of traditional broadcast gear.  Although this new facility is not yet based on SDN or cloud enabled, it’s the first step on the path.  DR is a great test facility so it’s a positive step along the way, “but as we look at our next big playout system, the big question on the table is whether we can go all IP for all the routing in the plant and the suspicion is that we can.”

Speaking at the same event, Fox NE&O EVP and GM Richard Friedel said IP is “well along the way towards becoming real. We do have IP-based routers in our plant today, and IP technology is just going to proliferate.  If you walk into any of our equipment rooms at the moment, there is almost no classic broadcast vendor anymore. Instead you’ll see rows of Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Cisco. We’re really in an all-IP world now. We’ve got huge virtualization farms already and this is coming. In five years no one will build a plant of our size that’s not based on IP concepts.”

But it’s not just IT companies who are pushing software defined networking.  Traditional broadcast vendors are also embracing SDN and applying it to the broadcast infrastructure.

Last week Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) introduced MultiService SDN, which the company says is “a SDN framework that creates a fully virtualized network fabric for deploying advanced services, and enables the video bit flow to be software-mapped, simplifying the network architecture of media companies operating in hybrid environments with both baseband and IP workflows.”

Another notable example of this trend include a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said last year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.

Belgium-based SDNsquare, whose CEO and co-founder, Lieven Vermale, is the former Director of Technology and Innovation at the European Broadcasting Union, is another start-up operating in this area.

One important group in the transition to IP-based broadcasting is the EBU-SMPTE-VSF Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM), a cross-industry group of broadcasters and technology vendors working to define the future of the all-IP broadcast facility. You can download December 2013 JT-NM whitepaper here.

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Related Content:

Arista Networks S1 (IPO) Filing — March 31 2014

Press Release: Imagine Communications Introduces Software-Defined Networking and Workflows

EBU/SMPTE/VSF Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) Gap Analysis Report, December 2013

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

Press Release: Arista Networks and Fox NE&O Debut Network Integrated IP-Video Processing Proof of Concept

Software Defined Networking – Coming Soon to a Broadcaster Near You?

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

TVTechnology Article: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

SDNsquare

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Speakers Announced for Third Annual NAB Show Event — Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 26 2014

If you are interested how the dramatic changes impacting the broadcast industry may shape its future, you won’t want to miss the third annual NAB Show event co-produced by Devoncroft, Silverwood Partners and the organizers of the NAB Show.

Now part of the NAB 2014 Broadcast Management Conference, this half-day session is called “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology.” It will be held in room N235 of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sunday April 6th from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

It will be held in room N235 of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sunday April 6th from 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

As always, this event features an intensive, information-packed series of presentations and panels that discuss the strategic trends and industry-specific factors influencing the value of media technology companies.

We’ve worked hard to put together an outstanding line-up of speakers and presenters, including top technology buyers, leading technology vendor CEOs, and private equity investors who will speak to the opportunities and challenges involved with financing the next phase of technology change in the industry.

The agenda offers attendees the informed opinions of technology purchasers, industry executives, market research organizations, and financial professionals. The event will serve as a thought-provoking kick-off to the 2014 NAB Show.

Highlights will include panel discussions featuring leading vendor CEOs, senior executives from leading broadcasters, and private equity investors who will speak to the opportunities and challenges involved with financing the next phase of technology change in the industry.

In addition, the audience will benefit from preliminary excerpts from the Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s definitive demand-side market report, and the IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market report.

This session is intended for senior executives from technology vendors, end-users, and investment firms in the media technology sector.

Please click here for more information and/or to register.

 

Here’s the current agenda:

 

Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

Sunday April 6, 2014

1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Room N235 Las Vegas Convention Center

Part of the 2014 NAB Broadcast Management Conference

 

 

1:45 pm – 1:50 pm

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

 

1:50 pm – 2:15 pm

Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Financing

Jonathan Hodson-Walker and Joshua Stinehour of Silverwood Partners will present an analysis of strategic industry trends and the specific factors that affect company valuations, including an updated perspective on transaction activity and valuations, vendor strategic considerations, and the current M&A environment along with near-term expectations.

 

Presenters:

  • Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners
  • Joshua Stinehour: Managing Director, Silverwood Partners

 

 

2:15 pm – 2:40 pm

The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2014

Top broadcast analyst Joe Zaller will present a summary of key data derived from a variety of broadcast market intelligence projects including the newly published 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), the industry’s definitive demand-side market report. Discussion topics will include strategic drivers of broadcast technology spending, key customer investment areas, new technology deployment trends, and the most significant industry trends impacting end-user purchasing decisions.

 

Presenters:

  • Joe Zaller: President, Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:40 pm – 3:15 pm

Business Strategy Perspective From Industry Executives

This panel of recognized executives at leading vendors will offer views on the critical drivers of company valuation in the industry, the best practices the panelist’s have learned on how to evaluate M&A opportunities, and the preferred approach for integrating M&A into overall growth strategies. The panelists will also consider the question of how broader technology trends are impacting the vendor community in the industry.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists

  • Sam Blackman: CEO and Co-founder, Elemental Technologies
  • Louis Hernandez. Jr.: President and Chief Executive Officer, Avid
  • Joop Janssen: CEO, EVS
  • Michelle Munson: President, CEO and co-founder, Aspera, an IBM company

 

 

3:35 pm – 3:50 pm

IABM Research Overview

Peter White, Chief Executive of the IABM (the trade group that represents suppliers of broadcast technology worldwide), will present an overview of the latest end-user research from the IABM along with selected excerpts from the recently completed IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market report.

Presenter

  • Peter White: Chief Executive Officer, IABM

 

 

3:50 pm – 4:20 pm

The Broadcast Buyer Perspective on Business Models, Trends, and Technology Advancement

A panel of technology decision makers at leading broadcasters will offer informed perspectives on the most significant industry trends affecting technology budgets and the technology purchase decision. The audience will benefit from an emphasis on the business implications of technology decisions to broadcasters.

 

Moderator:

Joe Zaller – President, Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists

  • Phil Braden: SVP Technology and Applications, PCCW Global
  • Del Parks: SVP Operations & Engineering, Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Todd Daly: EVP Operations & Systems Engineering, Fox Broadcasting
  • Andy Tennant: Technology Director, Studios, ITV

 

 

4:20 pm – 4:45 pm

Keynote: Business Model Changes Technology Changes

ABC/Disney EVP and CTO Vince Roberts will highlight the major business model challenges facing the industry and the implications to technology development. Mr. Roberts will focus on the actual commercial factors driving technology deployments today, and what can reasonably be expected in the near future. Referencing initiatives at Disney relating to topics such as IP-based infrastructure and the Cloud, the audience will gain an improved understanding of how changes in media consumption and fundamental technology transitions, ultimately affect technology vendors.

Presenter:

Vince Roberts: CTO and EVP Global Operations, Disney/ABC Television Group

 

 

4:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Investor Perspectives on Industry

This panel of leading investment professionals in the media and entertainment sector will offer the audience the institutional investor’s perspective on the industry. The discussion will include the panelist’s intelligence-gathering plans for the NAB Show, views on the trends that are driving investment dollars in the sector, and a review of the characteristics influencing the evaluation of an investment opportunity.

Moderator:

Jonathan Hodson-Walker: Managing Partner, Silverwood Partners

 

Panelists

  • Marshall Haines: Managing Director, Symphony Technology Group
  • Jeff Parks, Founding Partner, Riverwood Partners
  • Rohan Rai: Director, Wasserstein & Company

 

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Related Content:

2014 NAB Show Session Details – Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology

Save the Date: Third Annual Media Technology Strategy Conference at the NAB 2014 Show

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 

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Broadcast Vendor M&A: Quantel Acquires Snell

broadcast industry technology trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 12 2014

Quantel has announced that it will acquire fellow UK-based broadcast technology vendor Snell.

The combined company will have revenue of more than $170 million and office in 16 locations around the globe, making it one of the larger vendors in the broadcast industry.

The enlarged company will be called Quantel and headquartered in Newbury UK, Quantel’s current HQ. According to an FAQ issued by the company, all existing products from Snell and Quantel will continue, and the Snell brand will remain.

Quantel CEO Ray Cross will lead the enlarged company.

Current Snell CEO Simon Derry will exit the business after acting helping to support the integration of the two companies for several months.

Paul Martin, Managing Director of the Snell TV Everywhere division and Rob Rowe, Managing Director of the Snell Live TV division will join the Quantel board, and Tim Banks, Snell Sales Director and Peter Fredericks, Snell Finance Director are also taking leading roles in the new combined organization.

 

UK-based Companies Have Little Product Overlap

Quantel and Snell are both based in the UK, and have a significant presence in many international markets.  Both companies are viewed as high-end players in the market, with good reputations for quality, reliability, and customer service.

Although the two companies have many common customers, they have virtually no overlapping product lines. Quantel focuses on post-production graphics and color grading systems, as well as enterprise-class networked editing systems, and media asset management.  Snell is known for production switchers, signal processing gear, playout automation, and channel-in-a-box products.

Both companies have UK-based R&D and manufacturing facilities, which will likely be rationalized over the course of time, resulting in significant cost savings for the combined entity. “We will be creating a new world-class facility at the company headquarters in Newbury to produce the complete Quantel and Snell product range and we look forward to the new ideas generated when the two R&D teams start to interact,” said Quantel CEO Ray Cross.

 

Common Parent Combines Broadcast Holdings

The combination of Quantel and Snell was long-rumored in the industry, since the two companies already had a common parent, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the investment arm of Lloyds Bank.

LDC has held a majority stake in both Quantel and Snell for a number of years, so a primary driver for the deal was likely the internal consolidation of LDC’s long-time holdings in the broadcast technology space, creating a larger, more efficient business, with greater operating leverage.

The complementary nature of the respective Quantel and Snell product portfolios should allow the enlarged company to continue serving the needs of customers, while realizing significant cost savings through the combination of R&D and manufacturing facilities, trade show booths, regional offices, etc.

This is similar to the approach outlined last month when Belden announced it will purchase Grass Valley for $220 million, and combined it with Miranda Technologies, which it already owns.  In 2012, Belden acquired Miranda for approximately $350 million.

Like Quantel and Snell, the combined Miranda and Grass Valley have limited product overlap and many common customers. Belden’s management has said it believes significant cost savings can be achieved by rationalizing duplicate functions within the combined company.

LDC acquired Quantel in July 2000, when it funded the company’s £51 million management buyout (MBO) from Carlton Communications.

In 2009, LDC created Snell when it funded the £72 million merger of Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel, in a deal supported by a £25 million package of senior debt and working capital facilities provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC. After the merger, the combined company was renamed Snell.

LDC acquired Pro-Bel in 2003 when it funded an £11.2 million MBO from Chyron.

Prior to its merger with Pro-Bel, Snell & Wilcox was owned by Advent Ventures who had funded its £22 million management buy-out in 2002.

Both Quantel and Snell are private companies, so their individual revenue figures are not disclosed publicly.

A report published immediately after the merger of Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox in 2009  said Snell had revenue £80m and employed 450 staff; and in 2011 Snell CEO Simon Derry said in an interview that the company’s revenue was “greater than $130 million.”

According to its website, Quantel “employs around 300 people, and operates sales and support subsidiaries in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and throughout mainland Europe.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Quantel acquires Snell to create new force in media technology

Quantel – Snell FAQ

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden’s Acquisition of Miranda to Close on or Before July 27, 2012

TVNewsCheck Article (9-29-2011): Tech One-on-One With Simon Derry — Snell Aims To Master the U.S. Market

Advent Venture and LDC close £72m broadcasting merger

Advent Venture Partners and LDC Complete Their Portfolios Merger – March 9, 2009

Video: Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox CEOs Discuss Merger (2009)

Press Release (11-6-2003): Chyron Sells Pro-Bel to LDC

Broadcast Magazine (2002): Snell Secures £22m from Advent

Press Release (2002) Advent Venture Partners invests GBP13m in Snell & Wilcox

Variety Article (7-14-2000): Carlton sells tech arm Quantel to LDC for £51 million 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Top Broadcasters Debate Spectrum, 4K, IP Infrastructure, and ATSC 3.0 at 2014 HPA Tech Retreat

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Feb 27 2014

A version of this article appeared originally in TVNewsCheck

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As the saying goes: “the customer is King”, and last week the place to pay homage to some of the biggest buyers of broadcast technology was the annual Broadcaster Panel at the 2014 HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, CA.

Always a highlight of the HPA conference, this unique event is a one-hour Q&A-based discussion featuring the top technology executives from major broadcast networks and TV station groups.

Deftly moderated by Ericsson SVP of Technology Matthew Goldman, this year’s panel featured Anthony Caruso, Director of New Broadcast Technology at the  Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Bob Seidel, VP Advanced Technology at CBS;  Dave Seigler, VP Technical Operations at Cox Broadcasting, Richard Friedel, EVP and GM at FOX NE&O, Eric Wolf, VP Technology Strategy at PBS; and Mark Aitken, VP Advanced Technology at Sinclar Broadcast Group.

Despite the short one-hour timeframe, panelists debated, and sometimes disagreed about, a wide range of hot-button issues including spectrum re-packing, channel sharing, 4K/UHD acquisition & delivery, AFD, unbundling of subscription TV packages, software defined networks, IP broadcasting, and ATSC 3.0.

Siedel and Aitken at HPA 2014

Bob Siedel, CBS VP of Advanced Technology looks on as Sinclair’s Mark Aitken discusses ATSC 3.0 and the future of broadcasting

 

Spectrum Issues

Starting with the topic of spectrum repacking, sharing and multicasting, broadcasters were in general agreement that although there may be some stations that want to cash out in the auctions, it does not make sense to permanently give up spectrum that might be used later for a variety of services delivering everything from mobile to 4k/UHD.

PBS’s Wolf raised the point that although today’s encoders make channel sharing a viable option, advances in technology cannot solve the thorny contractual issues of how a for-profit station can share spectrum with a non-profit PBS station, or whether it makes commercial sense to do so at all.  “Channel sharing is a reasonable option for people to look at, but at the end of the day management has to look at this and say we can take a one-time infusion of cash from the auction and give up forever some portion of our spectrum which is our bread and butter, and forgo a lot of future options.”

Siegler agreed, saying that Cox sees surrendering spectrum as limiting the future, and that the company has “no interest” in turning over any of its spectrum.

Sinclair’s Aitken went further “No matter what happens, if the next generation of broadcasting is planned using legacy ATSC 1.0 and MPEG-2 standards, everyone will be ‘half of a broadcaster’ because what you can do within the limitations of ATSC 1.0 is only half of what broadcasters are capable of doing.” Aitken added that “any consideration of channel sharing would have to go hand-in-hand with the notion of advancing broadcasting to the next generation broadcast platform,” which he described as being all IP-based and capable of supporting both mobile and fixed services, which Sinclair believes will very important to the livelihood of broadcasters in the future.

According to Siedel, the issue comes down to quality for CBS, so channel sharing is out of the question.  The network always strives to deliver maximum quality, so until very recently CBS has used its entire 19.3 Mbit/s for HD.  Recent advances in compression have enabled CBS to lower the bitrate slightly, freeing up approximately 1.5Mbit/s for a sub-channel.

 

The Future of 4K/UHD

The industry’s top techs were also in broad agreement on 4K/UHD – delivering it over the air is not a priority.

“We’ve done a lot of testing of 4K in our labs, and you know what, it produces the best HD pictures we’ve ever seen,” said Fox NE&O’s EVP and GM Richard Friedel. “We think there is some there is some viability for 4K sets for consumers, but that’s not to suggest that we will be broadcasting 4K any time soon.”

Aitken put it more bluntly: “4K is not going to happen for broadcasting until ESPN says so.”  Said differently, unless content owners demand it or incremental revenues are available to broadcasters, 4K/UHD is not going to become a mainstream priority.

Siedel says CBS is a fan of 4K — for acquisition. He described how CBS/CW program delivery specifications include separate elements for acquisition and delivery. “On the acquisition side, our philosophy has always been that we want to maintain the highest possible quality levels so that we ensure the residual asset value of that content.” Accordingly, for the past two years the CBS/CW specifications have allowed for acquisition in 4K/UHD, although this is not mandatory today. “Having an edited 4K master on the shelf is going to add to the asset value in the future, no matter how it’s distributed.”

On the sports side, CBS and others have been using 4K for acquisition (CBS used six 4K cameras at the 2013 Super Bowl), and using this content to extract HD content, as well as for super slow-mo replays. 4K/UHD will continue to be used in this way for sports productions.

Ironically it was Dave Siegler from Cox Broadcasting (whose parent company is a cable MSO) who expressed disappointed in the downgraded signal that cable companies deliver to the home with compression, and asked rhetorically whether 4K delivered to the home look like HD should be.

 

Integer Frame Rates

The panel disagreed on several important topics. On the subject of integer frame rates, Siedel said that the industry will likely be stuck with 59.94 for many years to come due to the millions of hours of 59.94 content on the shelf and the complexity of converting back and forth from 59.94 to 60 in the plant.

Aitken disagreed, saying video content creation is exploding, and that the amount of content created in the next 10-15 years will equal all the content ever created.  Therefore it makes sense to Sinclair to move forward with all new content generated at integer frame rates, while maintaining compatibility with legacy non-integer material.

Friedel agreed with Aitken saying that Fox has been advocating that new formats (e.g. 120 fps) would be integer-based, and convert to non-integer rates for legacy compatibility.

 

Cable Unbundling

Another area of disagreement had to do with the unbundling of cable programming.

Friedel said that Fox “firmly believes that the cost of TV will go up for people if it’s unbundled. If you think about the way a show is put together an marketed, there is no possible way that popular television programming will be able to be produced and sent to consumers can be sent to consumers at the same rate they are paying today. Prices would go way, way up.”

Aitken countered saying “unbundling is inevitable and will happen naturally due to an environment of hybrid convergence of content of content across multiple platforms. If broadcasters had a decent platform, we’d be delivering a Sinclair bundle to the home. Unbundling will happen as a natural occurrence of the proliferation of platforms that can bring content into the home.”

 

IP Broadcast Infrastructures and Software Defined Networking

Moving on to what is sure to be one of the biggest technology trends over the next 5+ years, the panelists were asked how long they think it will take for broadcasters to truly move to full IP infrastructure software defined networking (SDN).

Wolf said although it will take a few more years, PBS is currently building a new disaster recovery center that’s based completely on virtualized IT systems, along with “little bits” of traditional broadcast gear.  Although this new facility is not yet based on SDN or cloud enabled, it’s the first step on the path.  DR is a great test facility so it’s a positive step along the way, “but as we look at our next big playout system, the big question on the table is whether we can go all IP for all the routing in the plant and the suspicion is that we can.”

Friedel agreed, saying that IP is “well along the way” towards becoming real. We do have IP-based routers in our plant today, and IP technology is just going to proliferate.  If you walk into any of our equipment rooms at the moment, there is almost no classic broadcast vendor anymore. Instead you’ll see rows of Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Cisco. We’re really in an all-IP world now. We’ve got huge virtualization farms already and this is coming. In five years no one will build a plant of our size that’s not based on IP concepts.”

Friedel added: “this is a pretty fun time to see where the future will go,” and encouraged the audience to learn more about the SMPTE 2022 standard, and become involved with the Joint EBU-SMPTE-VSF Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) which is helping to define the future of the all-IP broadcast facility. You can download December 2013 whitepaper here.

Other issues included a discussion of electronic interference, which is affecting both C-band contribution feeds and wireless microphones.  Friedel said “white space interference is a huge issue for broadcasters,” and then quipped that viewers of the 2014 Super Bowl may have noticed that either the hands of the on-air talent had gotten smaller or the microphones had gotten larger.  He explained that in order to eliminate the risk of wireless interference in the crowded Met Life Stadium, Fox had switched to new wireless microphones from Sennheiser that operate in 1.6 GHz band. Although these microphones worked perfectly, they require more power and larger batteries, making them 40% larger than traditional wireless microphones.

 

ATSC 3.0 and the Future of Broadcasting

But the most controversial topic had to do with the future of broadcasting, and the various options for the ATSC 3.0 standard.

Aitken kicked off the debate by expressing concern that “that virtually all activity and focus of the ATSC has been on high data rate delivery to a fixed receiver environment” (in other words, delivering a single channel to a single UHD display in the home).

While Aitken sees this as part of the future of broadcasting, “Sinclair has fought for 15 years to bring mobile capability to broadcasting.”

“Fifteen years ago, people looked at us cross-eyed and said ‘mobile: who’s going to do that?’” said Aitken. “Look around today and the question is: where is broadcast to mobile? There has been an avoidance [at ATSC] of moving forward any proposals that of that would take bits away from fixed service for mobile services. There may be a need to run a parallel path outside of ATSC with industry adopters bringing forward a de-facto next generation technology that then gets adopted by the broadcast community.”

According to Aitken the new broadcast standard must meet all the needs of all broadcasters, rather than perpetuating an old-world view that all broadcasting is about is television, which is what politicians in Washington DC think of when they hear the word ‘broadcasting.’

“Every broadcaster would say they want [their content] to be on every device, said Aitken.” It’s just a question of how to get there. Broadcasters should be in a position to be their own gatekeeper in getting their content and licensed content delivered to the consumer. It’s really a matter of setting off a warning bell that we’re not going to sit still and wait for another mistake to happen.”

Aitken’s comments received push-back from CBS’s Siedel who said that the ATSC 3.0 effort has solicited bids from all over the world, and there are now at least 13 proposals being considered, many of which include mobile services, including LTE broadcast, DVB-T2, and even 8K from Japan.  Siedel said the process was still at the early stage, and we still have a long way to go.

Fox’s Friedel added the final comment of the session, saying that if broadcasters are not involved in the ATSC 3.0 process, they should get involved as soon as possible.  “The key for the ATSC is a standard that is flexible and extensible, and allows the business to grow and change with the future. I can’t predict the future better than anyone else, but there is going to be a transition from big screens today to portable devices. That much is clear.”

As always the HPA broadcaster panel did not disappoint the audience. There are very few opportunities to hear from the industry’s top buyers and get their unvarnished opinions on the future of the industry.

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The annual HPA Tech Retreat is produced by the Hollywood Post Alliance.  You can find out more information about the 2014 Tech Retreat here.

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Related Content:

2014 HPA Tech Retreat Information

EBU/SMPTE/VSF Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) Gap Analysis Report, December 2013

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

TVNewsCheck Article: Top Techs Have No Desire To Lose Spectrum

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Why Ross Video Bought MCP – Will Introduce “openTruck” to Break Open Sports Production Market

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 08 2013

When I met with Ross Video’s CEO David Ross and EVP Jeff Moore at the IBC show, they hinted that the company was in the process of finalizing an acquisition that might leave some people scratching their heads until they realized the strategic implications of the deal.

As promised, todays’ announcement that the company has acquired Mobile Content Providers (MCP), a mobile production company based in South Florida, is sure to raise some eyebrows.

The MCP deal is certainly an unusual move for Ross Video. Not because they bought a company (MCP is the seventh company acquired by Ross Video in the past four years), but for the following two reasons:

 

  • Rather than buying a technology vendor (or design team) as they have in the past, this time Ross Video bought a customer

 

  • David Ross told me that he intends to turn MCP into a national mobile production company, which means potentially competing with other Ross Video customers

 

So what’s Ross Video thinking?

It seems to me that this deal is about more than Ross buying a production company.  If Ross is right, the MCP acquisition could give them access to new markets while disrupting the established model.

As the Ross Video product portfolio has grown to encompass many elements of the live production chain (switchers, routers, signal processing, graphics, servers etc), the company has notched up sales success in most market segments, with one glaring exception – sports trucks.

The North America sports production market is dominated by freelancers. Because of this, live production service providers have standardized on certain types of operator-centric equipment such as production switchers, audio mixing consoles, graphics, replay servers, and editing systems.

David Ross thinks this is an inefficient model that locks out new entrants. Ross believes that his company’s switchers, servers, and graphics systems have strong advantages against the entrenched incumbents, but the current market structure makes it virtually impossible to break in.

Ross Video is not the only company in this situation.  Other vendors including Orad, For-A, Snell, and Vizrt are in a similar position.   Likewise Evertz, with its Dreamcatcher system, is attempting to break into the sports replay market which is currently dominated by EVS.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation,” Ross told me. “Even if we convince the truck companies we have products that can do a better job and save them money, they will be hesitant to buy because having products that are not “freelancer approved” could make it difficult to rent their trucks.”

Ross’s desire to break into the sports market is understandable. But how does buying a small regional mobile production company help the Ross achieve this?  And how will buying MCP not put Ross into competition with dozens (or more) current and potential customers?

According to Ross, if one looks at what the company has achieved with its “openGear” platform the answer starts to become clear (openGear is a Ross Video-led consortium of terminal gear vendors who produce cards that work in a common frame under a common control architecture).

“We’ve just signed up our 63rd openGear partner. Why would these companies do this, why would they work with a competitor?” Ross asks rhetorically.  “The answer is an uplift of scale and market access that they would not be able to achieve otherwise.  We think the truck business is going to be similar.”

 

Enter “openTruck”

David Ross has a plan he calls “openTruck,”which he thinks will help him to break into the sports market. In a nutshell, Ross Video will design production vehicles based around its technology, and make the specifications and schematics freely available to whoever wants to be an openTruck partner.  This includes not only system design, but also graphic treatments, social media apps, interactive dashboards

According to Ross, the openTruck concept will benefit the mobile production companies that join the consortium, as well as the sports broadcasters who contract for these services.

The sports production market is very capital-intensive, and as sports broadcasters expand their coverage beyond professional and Division One college games, cost becomes a huge issue.  Broadcasters can’t afford to send a double-expanding OB truck to a Division Three college game, yet they still have high expectations for quality production values, sophisticated graphics packages, and a consistent on-air look.

Ross thinks the best way to achieve this is to create a live production ecosystem where lower cost high performance tools are widely available, along with a ready supply of well-trained top-class freelancers.

To do this, the company intends to cooperate with a broad range of market participants, including companies who might see Ross MCP as a competitor.

According to the company, “Ross MCP will be a ‘friendly competitor’ alongside existing mobile operators and packagers, and will fund freelance training initiatives to allow this next generation of Ross workflow tools to become widely available.  As well, many of the integrated solutions that Ross Video refines for Ross MCP will be available with special package pricing and support arrangements for fellow mobile operators.”

This means that in addition to helping MCP competitors plan out their live production systems and workflows (using Ross Video technology of course), the company will also create a program where freelance operators of switchers, graphics and other tool are trained on Ross technology.  It’s likely that the company will also approach sports broadcasters in order to define a look and feel that can be achieved consistently across all openTruck participants.

Ross sees this is as a “win-win” for all involved (including of course Ross Video).

This is a bold move by Ross Video, and it remains to be seen whether the company can pull it off.

Yet if they can, there is likely to be plenty of demand for a ready-made fleet of trained production crews that know how to bring high production values to what has previously been considered to be “lower end” events.

To make this work, Ross Video will have to overcome a number of technical and commercial hurdles, including getting freelancers on board and trained on Ross technology (a huge task in and of itself), the reaction of MCP’s current and potential competitors, and the potential buy-in of sports broadcasters.

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Related Content:

 

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Ross Video Buys Mobile Production Firm, Intends to Create National Sports Production 

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Ross Video Bolsters Routing Line with Sixth Acquisition in Past Four Years

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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