This is the first in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2013 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 2013 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.
Measuring the Broadcast Industry’s Most Important Trends
Each year, Devoncroft Partners conducts a large scale global study of the broadcast industry called the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS). Nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals in 100+ countries participated in the 2013 BBS, making it the most comprehensive study ever done in the broadcast industry.
One of the key outputs from the BBS is the annual BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. This is a ranking of the broadcast industry trends that are considered by BBS respondents to be the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.
In order to ensure that the trends we measure each year in our research are the most relevant to the industry, we spend a considerable amount of time seeking feedback about the structure of our reports from a wide variety of industry professionals including broadcasters, broadcast service providers, technology vendors, consultants, and domain experts.
In 2013 we kept the list of trends in this Index the same as in 2012. This enables direct year-over-year comparisons of trends across different demographics. It also means that we decided not to include certain “new” technology trends in the 2013 Index, including 4K, Ad-ID, connected TV, DSLR cameras, second screen applications, SOA, and social TV. However, we have covered each of these “new” technologies separately in the 2013 BBS project, and will be making this information available to clients through our published reports.
The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index
To create the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 16 industry trends and asked them to tell us which one trend they consider to be “most important” to their business, which one trend they consider to be “second most important” to their business, and which other trends (plural) they consider to be “also very important.”
We then apply a statistical weighting to these results, based on how research participants ranked the commercial importance of each trend.
Please note that our goal from this question is to help clients gain insight into the business drivers behind the respondent’s answer. Therefore, respondents were asked to rank these trends in the context of the commercial importance to their business, rather than “industry buzz,” or “cool technology,” or marketing hype.
The table below shows the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.
Keep in mind this is a measure of what people say is important to the future of their businesses, not what they are doing now, or where they are making money today. We’ll address some of these topics in later posts.
Please note that this chart shows a weighted index, not a measure the number of people that said which trend was most important to them. Also, please note that this chart measures the responses of all non-vendors who participated in the 2013 BBS, regardless of company type, company size, geographic location, job title etc. Thus the responses of any demographic group such as a particular company type or geographic location may vary widely from the results presented in this article.
The fact that multi-platform content delivery (MPCD) is considered by respondents to be the industry trend that is most important commercially to their business jumps off the page, and is perhaps not surprising, given the rise of on demand video platforms, consumer mobility, and sales of smartphones and tablets. Indeed, across multiple studies, research participants have repeatedly told us that multi-platform content delivery is the trend that is most commercially important to their business over the next several years.
However, our discussions with broadcasters, content owners, and technology vendors indicate that despite the obvious fact that the way content is delivered and consumed has changed forever, this has not yet translated into profitable revenue streams for end-users. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and these have significant implications for content owners, broadcasters, and technology vendors. We’ll be addressing some of these in future posts on this website.
Although multi-platform content delivery is seen by far as the most important trend in 2013, there are quite a few other interesting things to consider in the above chart.
Since the first BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index was published in 2009, “multi-platform content delivery,” “file-based / tapeless workflows,” “IP networking and content delivery” and “transition to HDTV operations” have been the top ranked trends. However their relative position has shifted dramatically. For example, in 2009, the transition to HD operations was the #1 ranked trend globally, and MPCD was ranked #4. Today these rankings are reversed.
For a number of years the transition to HDTV operations has been a major driver of end-user technology budgets, and therefore technology product sales. The HD transition continues to be and is likely to remain one of the strongest drivers of broadcast industry revenue, particularly in emerging markets, but has this year dropped to the #4 position on a global basis.
We provide significant coverage of the global transition to HDTV operations in the 2013 BBS Global Market Report (report available for purchase). This includes a granular breakdown of the current and projected future progress that end-users have made in their transition to HD, as well as the upgrade plans for more than a dozen product categories including cameras, switchers, routers, servers, graphics, encoders, communication links, and encoders. We’ll also be publishing more information here about project-based spending and the HD transition in future articles.
At the same time, the relative importance of the transition to file-based workflows has been increasing in the market, and in 2013 is ranked #2 in the Index of Global Trends.
The “transition to file-based operations” is significant for many reasons. Over the past several years, we’ve observed a pattern whereby broadcasters, who have invested considerable time, effort, and money into transitioning their operations to HD, begin to shift their focus towards increasing the efficiency of their operations.
Over time, efficiency has become a key driver of broadcast technology purchasing. In fact, our research shows that in many cases, increased operational efficiency and saving cost is more important than cutting-edge technology.
This is because the economics of the entire industry have changed – because of MPCD and other factors – and as a result, end-users must change their cost structure (radically in some cases) in order to generate sustained profitability into the future.
This has implications for the broadcast industry in terms of both workflows and product procurement, and as a result, the importance of both file-based workflows and “IP networking & content delivery” has increased as broadcast technology buyers continue to look for efficiencies as they transition to new technical platforms and business models. The desire for broadcast technology buyers to gain operational efficiencies will likely continue to be a strong macro driver in 2013, as broadcasters continue to deploy new workflows.
Another key driver of broadcast technology spend is new channel launches, which have the potential to increase revenue. New channels, and the desire for simultaneous bandwidth saving and increased image quality for MPCD services have driven an increasing interest in “improvements in compression efficiency,” which is ranked #5 in the 2013 Index.
New channel launches are being enabled by integrated playout systems (aka “channel-in-a-box”), which bring highly automated operations to channel playout and master control environments. Thus we expect to continue to see a strong interest in the “move to automated workflows” over the next several years. Automated workflows are also seen as drivers of efficiency.
“Cloud computing / cloud based services,” which was added to the Index last year is the #6 ranked trend (up one spot from last year). It seems that you can’t read anything about technology these days (broadcast or otherwise) without coming across some mention of “the cloud.” So why is something so important to so many people ranked in the middle of the pack? Our research shows that it’s still early days for cloud technology in the broadcast industry. Not only is there still a lack of widespread understanding about exactly how the cloud will impact the business models of broadcast technology buyers, there is also an inherent distrust of cloud technology by many broadcasters. We posted some preliminary information about the planned uses of cloud technology in the broadcast industry in an earlier article called With All the Hype About Cloud, What Are Media Organizations Actually Going to Deploy?
Nevertheless, cloud technology is seen as increasingly important by broadcasters, as evidenced by several recently announced end-user initiatives and many discussions about creating a “virtualized broadcast infrastructure” in order to drive greater efficiencies.
So while the “hype” surrounding cloud technology in broadcast may be real, it appears that a previously much-hyped technology, 3D, is seen as increasingly less important to end users. Research participants ranked 3D at #14 in the 2013 Index. It was #10 in 2012, and #8 in 2011.
In addition to creating greater efficiencies, end-users are also looking for ways to increase their revenue in an environment where the economic model of the industry is changing dramatically. Thus “video-on-demand” (#7), and “targeted advertising” (#9) make strong showings in the 2013 Index.
Although it’s towards the bottom of the rankings, “analog switch-off” is very important for those regions where it’s happening today – primarily as mandated by local governments.
As with previous years, the following trends were ranked towards the low-end of the Index: “transition to 3Gbps operations”, “transition to 5.1 channel audio”, “outsourced operations” and “green initiatives”.
We’ll take a more in-depth look at the year-over-year changes in a subsequent post.
The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2013 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 2013 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry. The BBS is published annually by Devoncroft Partners.
Granular analysis of these results is available as part of various paid-for reports based on the 2013 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners
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