Posts Tagged ‘future trends in broadcast technology’

Evolution of Opinions About Virtualization and Cloud Technology / Service in the Media and Broadcast Industry

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Conference Sessions, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 18 2015

This is the third in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2015 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 2015 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

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The Most Interesting Take-Away From the 2015 SMPTE Conference … A Change in Sentiment Towards Cloud

On the last day of the 2015 SMPTE technical conference in Los Angeles, I was chatting to the CTO of a large media company.  I asked this person their opinion on the most interesting take-away from the 2015 SMPTE Conference.

After pause for thought the answer (I am paraphrasing here) was that three years ago when SMPTE started the cloud technology track at their annual conference, the 2013 cloud session chair Al Kovalick (who this year chaired the IP Networking track) practically had rotten tomatoes thrown at him when he told the (highly skeptical) audience that broadcasters and media company could indeed get to 5 nines” of reliability, and that it would not be long until media technology infrastructure migrated to the cloud.

Fast forward three years to the 2015 SMPTE Technical Conference, and the most interesting take-away for this media CTO was that not only were there no tomatoes thrown at speakers presenting papers about cloud and IP – it was just the opposite.  There appeared to be was broad agreement, that cloud technology is real (or at least becoming real) and that media companies are rapidly adopting it in various ways.  So minds (and therefore budgets) have changed considerably in a very short space of time.

 

Our Research Shows a Similar Change in Sentiment

What this executive expressed dovetails with the way the opinions of participants in Devoncroft’s annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) have changed over the past several years.

As mentioned in a previous post, 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 the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.

The way the opinions about cloud technology and virtualization have evolved in the minds of media and technology buyers is very interesting to observe.

In the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “Cloud computing / virtualization” ranked as the #5 trend (maintaining the same position as in 2014 and 2013).

For the past several years, it was apparent that there was not a clear understanding of how cloud technology would be deployed in the broadcast environment, and what benefits it would bring.

Today, our research shows that despite remaining skepticism about the cloud (not to mention security concerns), the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and related services increased noticeable over the past several years.

 

 

Plans for Cloud Deployment in Media and Broadcast

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2015 BBS on what technology segments end-users are deploying and planning to deploy cloud services, along with what efficiencies they hope to achieve by deploying cloud Services.  This data is presented in the 2015 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).

Over the past year, we’ve observed that cloud services / cloud technology is one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the media and broadcast industry.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

 

Opinions and Sentiment About Cloud are Changing Rapidly

Perhaps more than any other topic, the industry’s plans for cloud have evolved considerably over the past several years.

For the past several years, we’ve been asking BBS respondents what they’ve already deployed, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years.

As the chart below highlights, the answers given by BBS respondents over the past several years have changed over time, as cloud went from a non-issue, to a curiosity, to a top-5 project.

Today, we are hearing more and more from end-users about serious projects being deployed in the cloud, and many more are evaluating how to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud technology.

 

2009-2015 Evolution of planned cloud deployments in media & broadcast

 

To further illustrate how plans for deployment of cloud technology in media and broadcast have changed over the past several years, the three “word clouds” below show the free-text responses we received from BBS participants about what they have already deployed in the cloud or are planning to deploy in the cloud over the next several years.

 In 2013, plans for cloud technology were highly fragmented, with projects ranging from email, to collaboration, to storage and archive.

 

2013 BBS - Planned Cloud Deployments

 

Many respondents to the 2013 BBS said they planned to use cloud technology to deploy things like email systems, collaboration portals and file-sharing, and straightforward applications such as off-site storage of media assets. However, very few respondents contemplated “serious” media operations in the cloud.  Perhaps that’s because they were busy throwing tomatoes at Al Kovalick…

 

One year later, respondents to the 2014 Big Broadcast Survey revealed that they had started to contemplate more seriously what could be done in the cloud for media operations.  In addition to plans for email and collaboration systems, there was a noticeable increase in the number of companies that were planning to utilize cloud applications for media processing (such as transcoding and editing) and workflow-related applications (such as VOD and archive management).

 

2014 BBS -- Planned Cloud Deployments Word Cloud

 

We also heard from many 2014 BBS respondents that they were beginning to experiment with different operational models and architectures involving virtualization and cloud technologies.  However, in 2014 the majority of responses still involved more “simplistic” cloud technologies such as collaboration, off-site storage, and subscription software services, and file sharing.

 

By 2015, both cloud infrastructure as well as end-user understanding of what can be done in the cloud had evolved.

2015 BBS - Planned Cloud Deployments.

2015 BBS respondents shared information about specific projects already underway, or that have been completed.  We’re also seeing planned cloud deployments of “serious” media operations such as playout, compute, workflow, and MAM.

Perhaps most interestingly, we saw the term “confidential” more than ever when we asked people about their plans to use for virtualization and cloud technology in broadcast and media operations.  Based on what we see and hear in the market, we’re taking this as an indication that that trials and projects are already underway.

This was reinforced throughout the 2015 SMPTE Technical Conference, where presenters from BT, Fox NE&O, Amazon AWS, Sundog, Telestream, Levels Beyond, and others all talked about the potential of virtualization and cloud, and described real-world examples of how cloud and virtualization are being used today, and how this will increase in the future.

So hearing from a media company CTO that one of the most interesting take-aways from the 2015 SMPTE conference was that there is growing acceptance of cloud is not a surprise.  Our data shows a clear progression of the importance of cloud technologies and cloud services in media and broadcast operations, and we expect this to continue into the future.

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Related Content

2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

The 2015 Big Broadcast Survey

Ranking The Most Commercially Important Trends in Broadcast and Media Technology – 2015 Edition

Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: NAB 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

New Devoncroft Report Available for Download: IBC 2015 – Observations & Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

2015 SMPTE Technical Conference Program

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Ranking The Most Commercially Important Trends in Broadcast and Media Technology – 2015 Edition

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research, OTT Video, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 09 2015

This is the second in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2015 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 2015 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

 

Measuring the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast and Digital Media Technology Industry

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 2015 BBS, making it the most comprehensive study ever done in the broadcast industry.

Firstly, we’d like to once again thank all the people who participate in the BBS each year.  We’re thankful that you take time from your busy schedules to participate, and we love (and read all of) your feedback.

 

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 the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.

In order to ensure the relevance of the trends we measure each year, we spend a considerable amount of time seeking feedback about the structure of our reports from a wide variety of industry professionals.

As part of this process, the composition of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is reviewed each year in conjunction with Devoncroft clients, broadcast technology end-users, and a variety of domain experts.  New trends are added to the Index when BBS stakeholders believe that the value of this additional trend information outweighs the resulting distortion of the year-over-year comparisons.

Based on discussions with clients, end-users, and experts during the planning stages of the 2015 BBS project, we decided to maintain the same list of trends as contained in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.  The benefit of this approach is a straightforward comparison of how trends were ranked in 2015 versus 2014 across all demographics.

After this review process, the decision was taken to not change the trends measured in the 2015 BBS.  This enables a 1:1 comparison of trends on a year-over-year basis.


 

The 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

To create the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 18 industry trends and asked them to identify the one trend they consider to be “most important” to their business, the one trend they consider to be “second most important” to their business, and the 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 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is shown below.

 

 

2015 BBS - Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey 2015 Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

 

When reviewing the data presented above, readers should note the following about the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index:

  • It is a measure of what research participants say is commercially important to their businesses in the future, not what they are doing now, or where they are spending money today (these topics will be addressed in future posts)

 

  • The chart above is visualized as a weighted index, not as a measure of the number of people that said which trend was most important to them

 

  • It measures the responses of all technology purchasers (i.e. non-vendors) who participated in the 2015 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.

 

Analyzing the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Multi-platform content delivery (MPCD) is cited by a wide margin as the most important trend commercially to respondent businesses.  This is not surprising given the rise of new distribution mediums and devices.  Indeed, across multiple studies, research participants have repeatedly stated multi-platform content delivery is the most commercially important trend 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 (with few exceptions) 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.

These implications are addressed later in this report, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

Although multi-platform content delivery is by far seen as the most important trend in 2015, there are quite a few other interesting things to consider in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

For over the past decade the transition to HDTV operations has been a major driver of end-user technology budgets, and therefore technology product sales.  The first BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, published in 2009, ranked the transition to HD as the #1 trend globally.  In the seven years since, the transition to HD operations has drifted lower in the rankings based on the continued adoption of HD technology infrastructure globally.  For the first time in 2014, the transition to HD operations was not ranked among the top five trends by respondents, instead ranking #6.  In 2015, the transition to HD operations declined further, now ranking #8.  However, within developing markets or smaller media markets within developed regions, the HD transition remains one of the strongest drivers of broadcast industry revenue.

We provide significant coverage of the ongoing global transition to HDTV operations in the 2015 BBS Global Market 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 fifteen product categories including cameras, switchers, routers, servers, graphics, encoders, and video transport. We’ll also be publishing more information about project-based spending and the HD transition later in this report, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

A trend that has increased in importance over the past several years is “IP networking & content delivery,” which is ranked as the #2 most important trend in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

The move to IP-based infrastructure has increased in importance in response to several market developments.  Based on our research, end-user motivations for moving to IP-based infrastructure are more nuanced than simply generating operational efficiencies, though this goal is an important component.  Rather, end-user responses to the Big Broadcast Survey are consistent with a more encompassing goal of moving to fundamentally different technology infrastructures to better support evolving media business models.

While the move to IP-based infrastructure is still at the stage of early adopters in broadcast operational environments, there were several notable developments during 2015.  These included the progression of interoperability standards (e.g. SMPTE 2022-6), the advancement of work from the joint task force on networked media (JT-NM) [sponsored by SMPTE, EBU, and the VSF], the creation of several individual vendor ecosystems (e.g. Evertz ASPEN), and the elevated activities by large IT providers (e.g. Cisco).

A transition to IP-based infrastructures is likely inevitable given the comparative size of the broadcast technology sector versus the broader IT industry.  This greater size equates to far greater research and development resources.  There remains, however, several obstacles preventing widespread adoption of IP-based infrastructure in the immediate term.  For this reason we are expecting the move to IP to represent a major industry driver over the mid-to-long term.

Regardless of timing, the transition to IP-based infrastructure will have profound implications for both technology buyers and suppliers.

The #3 ranked trend in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is “4K / UHD.”  2015 is the second year the BBS has included 4K / UHD as a trend within the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. It was added based on feedback from Devoncroft’s clients.  The high ranking of 4K / UHD in both 2014 (ranked #4) and 2015 demonstrates these requests were well-founded.

Many in the industry believe 4K / UHD is the next major driver of infrastructure upgrades – similar to the transition to HD over a decade ago.

While there is no doubt that 4K / UHD is a very important development, the data collected in the 2015 BBS lends skepticism to the proposition 4K / UHD will have a similar impact on the industry as the transition to HDTV operations, which drove a massive wave of technology spending that lasted more than a decade.

Although episodic and documentary content has, or will soon, move to 4K/UHD acquisition along with archive activities (because it extends the useful life of content assets), it will take time for 4K/UHD to move into mainstream live production environments such as news and sports.  One reason is creating a live event in 4K / UHD is complex and expensive to create versus an HD broadcast.  Uncompressed 4K / UHD requires real-time processing at 12Gbps, and the full production chain is not yet widely available.  Another critical issue is that (until mid-2015) most 4K / UHD capable cameras utilize large format single sensors and cine-style PL-mount lenses. While the shallow depth-of-field produced by these acquisition systems is a perfect match for theatrical or drama production, it causes problems in live sports production, where depth-of-field is important to keep critical action sequences in constant focus.  There were several announcements by camera manufacturers during 2015 to address this issue with depth-of-field.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that 4K / UHD is driving strong interest and excitement in the industry.  The question remains whether it will become a mainstream technology driver as HD has been, or whether it will only achieve penetration into technology infrastructure through the normal product upgrade cycle.

The trend ranked #4 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “file-based / tapeless workflows,” is a clear indication of the importance of increased efficiency for broadcast technology end-users.  This trend has accelerated as the transition to HDTV (ranked #8 this year) begins to decline in developed markets around the world.

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 cost savings are 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 2015, as broadcasters continue to deploy new workflows.

Cloud computing / virtualization,” is the #5 ranked trend (maintaining the same position as in 2014 and 2013).

For the past several years, it was apparent that there was not a clear understanding of how cloud technology would be deployed in the broadcast environment, and what benefits it would bring.  This is still the case in many respects in 2015.  However, similar to observations in 2014, our research shows that despite remaining skepticism about the cloud (not to mention security concerns), the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and related services increased noticeable during the year.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2015 BBS on what technology segments end-users are deploying and planning to deploy cloud services, along with what efficiencies they hope to achieve by deploying cloud Services.  This data is presented in the 2015 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).

Selected example data is provided in this free report from the Devoncroft 2015 BBS Global Project Index (see Part 2 of this report, starting on page 29).  It highlights how cloud services / cloud technology is one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the broadcast industry.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?   Perhaps more than any other topic, the industry’s plans for cloud have evolved considerably over the past several years.

For the past several years, we’ve been asking BBS respondents what they’ve already deployed, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years.

As the chart below highlights, the answers given by BBS respondents over the past several years have changed over time, as cloud went from a non-issue, to a curiosity, to a top-5 project.

 

2009-2015 Evolution of planned cloud deployments in media & broadcast

 

Today, we are hearing more and more from end-users about serious projects being deployed in the cloud, and many more are evaluating how to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud technology.

But what are media technology end-users actually deploying in the cloud?  This will be discussed in a future post.

“Improvements in compression efficiency,” which is ranked #6 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is consistent with the desire for increased efficiency. With content distribution models having migrated from single linear broadcast channels, to multi-channel Pay TV playout, to a totally on-demand environment, high quality compression is a critical success factor for broadcasters and content playout platforms.

A plethora of new channels, and the desire for simultaneous bandwidth saving and increased image quality for MPCD services have driven an increasing focus on high quality compression systems. For the past several years this has resulted in better MPEG-2 and H.264 compression products for primary distribution, contribution, and redistribution to consumers. H.265 (HEVC) compression technology holds the promise of further reducing the bandwidth required to deliver high quality images, particularly for 4K / UHD channels.  Despite continued momentum in 2015, HEVC is still in early stages of adoption, though wider deployments are expected over the next 12 to 18 months.

In addition to creating greater efficiencies, end-users are also looking for ways to generate incremental revenue in an environment where the economic model of the industry is changing dramatically.  Thus “video-on-demand,” which is ranked #7 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, will remain a strong driver for content owners, media companies and broadcasters.  The combination of MPCD, better compression technology, and an ever-increasing channel count, will drive video on demand deployments, whether via traditional broadcast and pay TV platforms, or over the internet or mobile networks.

The #8 ranked trend in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is the “transition to HDTV operations.

The transition to HDTV has been a huge driver of broadcast technology spending for more than a decade, but 2015 BBS respondents report that it continues to decline in terms of future commercial importance to their organizations.  In 2015, the technology required for the transition to HDTV is well understood by the majority of the market, even those who have not yet made the transition.

Despite its gradual decline in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index rankings, we believe that the HD transition will continue to be one of the most important industry drivers over the coming years. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is that there is still a long way to go in the HD transition on a global basis. Indeed, our research shows that 2014 was the first year the total penetration of HDTV infrastructure surpassed the 50% mark for the global market.

Nevertheless, with the transition to HD having been a critically important driver for so many years, it begs the question of what’s next — as broadcast technology end-users in developed markets approach the completion of their HD transition, where does their focus (and spending) shift?

The “move to automated workflows” is ranked #9 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Better compression technology and lower cost integrated playout platforms (such as “channel-in-a-box”), will facilitate an ongoing proliferation of new TV channels.  This will in turn drive a focus on bringing 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.

While efficiency is undoubtedly very important to end-users, actually making money from new on-line channels has driven a significant increase in focus on content monetization via “targeted advertising,” which is ranked #10 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

“Remote production,” which is ranked #11 in 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is another trend that is focused on efficiency.  Through the use of remote production, broadcasters can lower their costs of producing live events, whether a small local soccer match or the World Cup.  Our research suggests that despite the potential for savings using “remote production” approaches for high-profile events, end-users are not yet comfortable adopting these approaches given the mission critical nature of the associated productions.  Therefore, the greater adoption for remote production is lower-tier events with inherently constrained revenue opportunities.

Similarly, broadcasters and media companies can achieve enormous cost-savings through the trend ranked #12 in the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “centralizing operations,” including playout and transmission.  A relevant example of centralized operations is the North American sporting leagues (including MLB, NFL, and the NBA) creating central facilities to handle the responsibility of in-game replays.

Although it’s towards the bottom of the rankings at #13, “analog switch-off” is very important for those regions where it’s happening today – primarily as mandated by local governments.  Our research shows that analog switch-off (also called “digital switch-over” in some territories) has driven huge waves of CapEx in those markets where it has already occurred.

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”, “3D TV” and “green initiatives.

 

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The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2015 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 2015 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 2015 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners

 

© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Related Content

2015 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

The 2015 Big Broadcast Survey

Download New Devoncroft Partners Report: NAB 2015 – Observations and Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

New Devoncroft Report Available for Download: IBC 2015 – Observations & Analysis of the Media Technology Industry

The 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Devoncroft Research: IBC 2014: Observations and Analysis of Broadcast and Media Technology Industry (free 52 page report, registration required)

The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

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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There’s a Lot of Talk About Cloud Technology in Media & Entertainment, But What’s Actually Being Deployed?

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 30 2014

This is the second in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2014 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 2014 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

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There’s no question that cloud technology is a hot topic in the media and entertainment industry.

Indeed, it seems that these days you can’t read anything about industry technology trends (in broadcast or any other industry for that matter), NAB or IBC Show wrap-up piece, and/or manufacturer white paper, without coming across some mention of “the cloud.”

We see this in our own research too.

In the 2014 Devoncroft BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “Cloud Services / Cloud Technology” was ranked the #5 in terms of the industry trends that are most important commercially to broadcast technology end-users world-wide.

This indicates that while there continues to be skepticism (not to mention security concerns) about cloud technology, the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and services increased rapidly in 2014.

For example, data from the Devoncroft 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Global Market Report shows that Cloud Services / Cloud Technology had one of the largest year-over-year percentage increases in terms of broadcast technology end-user project spending, when compared to wide variety of other capital projects.

So while there is still a great deal of hype about cloud in media and broadcast, there also appears to be genuine interest on the part of buyers to actually deploy technology in the cloud.

But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology?

To find out we asked participants in our 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) what they have already deployed, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years.

Since we typically get about 10,000 people in 100+ countries participate in the BBS (thanks to all who participated, we really appreciate the time you spent sharing your feedback and opinions), we’ve gathered a lot of data on this and many other topics.

As simple example is shown in the “word cloud” below, which provides a graphical representation of how the many thousands of broadcast technology end-users who participated in the 2014 BBS responded to this simple question:  “what have already deployed in the cloud, or plan to deploy in the cloud over the next 2-3 years?”

Please note that the chart shown below is derived from “free-text” answers received in 10 separate languages from the many thousands of 2014 BBS respondents, so there is a lot going on in this diagram.

The free-text responses from 2014 BBS participants were used to create the “word cloud” shown below, whereby the font size of each term was made larger based on how often it was mentioned by 2014 BBS respondents (the colors do not mean anything, but they are pretty).

 

 

2014 BBS -- Likely Cloud Deployments in Broadcast Over Next 2-3 Years (small)

 

 

Although the data in this chart just scratches the surface in terms of the overall scope of opinions captured in the 2014 BBS, it’s a useful illustration of what broadcast technology buyers are thinking about actually deploying in the cloud.

It’s probably not surprising to most readers that “storage” was the use-case mentioned most often by 2014 BBS participants. The combination of low-cost digital acquisition technology, ever-increasing shooting ratios, and the desire to monetize content assets over multiple distribution platforms is driving the need for more storage (both on and off-premise). As one vendor told me recently, “the one thing I can tell you about content archives is that they are not getting smaller every day.”

More interesting, is that when you compare the above diagram with how last year’s BBS respondents answered this same question, is appears that there is more consensus beginning to emerge about media use-cases for cloud technology beyond the obvious.

In previous years, BBS respondents also reported that storage was one of the most important things they planned to deploy in the cloud.  However, after storage, the next most important response was typically “I Don’t Know.”

While there are still some BBS respondents who remain unsure about their cloud deployment plans, there are now many fewer, and it appears that in 2014 broadcast technology end-users are more serious than ever about deploying cloud technology.

In 2014, commonly cited use-cases for media and entertainment cloud deployments include streaming, archiving, editing, transcoding, and content distribution.

It’s also interesting to see specific vendors (including Adobe, Amazon AWS, Apple, and Dropbox) being frequently mentioned as being “the thing” that will be deployed in the cloud. This may indicate that technology buyers are looking to these vendors to provide them anything from specific cloud-based tools, to a complete end-to-end cloud solution.

Leaving aside specific technologies and vendors, sometimes it’s more useful to “zoom out to a 10,000 foot view” of the potential deployments of cloud technology in the professional media and entertainment industry.

Considered from this perspective, we believe that more significant than the technologies and vendors mentioned in the above chart, is the fact that cloud technology is being seen as increasingly important by major broadcasters and media companies.

There is plenty of evidence to support this premise, including several recently announced end-user initiatives and many discussions about creating a “virtualized broadcast infrastructure” in order to drive greater efficiencies. If this is the case, there are significant implications for all involved in the media supply chain, including both vendors and end-users.

Much more information about the attitudes of broadcast technology buyers towards cloud technology, and what broadcast technology buyers are likely to actually deploy in the cloud is available from Devoncroft Partners as part of our 2014 BBS Global Market Report. This report also includes information about what technologies end-users are planning to deploy in the cloud, when they are planning to deploy them, and what efficiencies they hope to achieve by doing so.

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Related Content:

2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

2014 Broadcast Industry Market Research from Devoncroft Partners

Devoncroft Research: IBC 2014: Observations and Analysis of Broadcast and Media Technology Industry (free 52 page report, registration required)

2014 BBS: Ranking the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast Industry, Based on Commercial Importance to End-Users

2013 BBS: With All the Hype About Cloud, What Are Media Organizations Actually Going to Deploy?

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Ranking the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast Industry, Based on Commercial Importance to End-Users

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 29 2014

This is the first in a series of articles about some of the findings from Devoncroft’s 2014 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 2014 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.

 

Measuring the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast and Digital Media Technology Industry

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 2014 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.

As part of this process, the composition of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is reviewed each year in conjunction with Devoncroft clients, broadcast technology end-users, and a variety of domain experts.  New trends are added to the Index when BBS stakeholders believe that the value of this additional trend information outweighs the resulting distortion of the year-over-year comparisons.

Based on the input we received during the planning stages of the 2014 BBS project, it was decided that the following two trends should be added to the list of trends included in the composition of the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index:

  • 4K / UHD
  • Remote Production

 

The benefit of this change is that we were able to capture a significant amount of information about information about the perceptions of 4K/UHD and remote production, including deployment plans.

The downside of this approach is that the inclusion of new trends will almost certainly cannibalize the rankings of other trends in our Index. Therefore, it is slightly more complicated to make a 1:1 comparison of how trends were ranked in 2014 versus 2013 across different demographics.

 

The 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

To create the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 18 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 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

 

2014 Devoncroft BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

 

Keep in mind that this chart shows 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.  These topics will be addressed in future posts.

Please note that this chart shows a weighted index, not a measure of the number of people who 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 2014 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 free summary information.

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.

These will be addressed in future posts, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

Although multi-platform content delivery is by far seen as the most important trend in 2014, 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.  In 2014, these were ranked #6 and #1 respectively.

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 #6 position on a global basis.

We provide significant coverage of the global transition to HDTV operations in the 2014 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 about project-based spending and the HD transition later in this report, as well as on the Devoncroft website.

Another trend that has become increasingly more important over the past several years is “IP networking & content delivery,” which is ranked as the #2 most important trend in the 2014 BBS Global Trend Index.

The move to IP-based infrastructure become increasingly important as broadcast technology buyers continue to look for efficiencies as they transition to new technical platforms and business models.  In 2014, the move to IP-based infrastructure took on a new sense of urgency as buyers began to seek ways to implement IP-based systems in broadcast operational environments.

With new standards (e.g. SMPTE 2020-6), new market entrants (e.g. Arista Networks), and a high-profile joint task force on networked media (JT-NM), sponsored by the EBU, SMPTE, and VSF; the move to IP not only looks more and more inevitable, it is also likely to be a major industry driver over the mid to long-term.  As a result, we believe that the coming move to IP (which is still at least a year or two away in practice) has profound implications for both broadcast technology buyers and suppliers.

The move to IP is driven by an ever-increasing desire for broadcast technology buyers to gain operational efficiencies.  We believe this trend is set to accelerate, and will continue to be a strong macro driver of the overall industry for the next several years, as broadcasters continue to deploy new workflows.

The trend ranked #3 in the 2014 BBS Global Trend Index, “file-based / tapeless workflows,” is another indication of the importance of increased efficiency for broadcast technology end-users.  This trend has accelerated as the transition to HDTV (ranked #6 this year) begins to wind down in developed markets around the world.

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 cost savings are 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 2014, as broadcasters continue to deploy new workflows.

The trend ranked #4 in the 2014 BBS Global Trend Index is “4K / UHD.

2014 is the first year that we have included 4K / UHD as a component of the BBS Global Trend Index. It was added based on feedback from our clients, readers, and stakeholders.  The fact that 4K / UHD is ranked #4 in the first year of its inclusion in the Index demonstrates that these requests were well-founded.

Although 4K / UHD is still in its early phases of deployment, many in the industry see it as the next major driver of infrastructure upgrades – similar to the transition to HD a decade ago.

While there is no doubt that 4K / UHD is a very important developments, we are skeptical that it will have the same impact on the industry as the transition to HDTV operations, which drove a massive wave of technology spending that lasted more than a decade.

Although episodic and documentary content has or will soon move to 4K/UHD acquisition and archive (because it extends the useful life of content assets), it will take time for 4K/UHD to move into mainstream live production environments such as news and sports.  One reason for this is that it is still complex and expensive to create an entire live event in 4K/UHD, compared to today’s HD broadcast.  Uncompressed 4K/UHD requires real-time processing at 12 Gbps, and the full production chain is not yet widely available.  Another critical issue is that most 4K/UHD capable cameras utilize large format single sensors and cine-style PL-mount lenses. While the shallow depth-of-field produced by these acquisition systems is a perfect match for theatrical or drama production, it causes problems in live sports production, where depth-of-field is important to keep critical action sequences in constant focus.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that 4K/UHD is driving strong interest and excitement in the industry.  However, it remains to be seen whether it will become a mainstream technology driver as HD has been, or whether it will go the way of 3D production, which caused huge excitement in 2010 before being relegated to near-non-existence just a few years later.

Cloud computing / cloud based services,” is the #5 ranked trend (maintaining the same position as in 2013).

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 that is apparently so important to so many people not ranked higher?

For the past several years, it was apparent that there was not a clear understanding of how cloud technology would be deployed in the broadcast environment, and what benefits it would bring.  This is still the case in many quarters in 2014, but this year our research shows that while there continues to be skepticism about the cloud (not to mention security concerns), the acceptance of (or at least the willingness to consider) cloud technology and services increased rapidly in 2014.

Indeed the Devoncroft 2014 BBS Global Market Report shows that Cloud Services / Cloud Technology is one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the broadcast industry in 2014. This (paid) report also includes information about what technologies end-users are planning to deploy in the cloud, when they are planning to deploy them, and what efficiencies they hope to achieve by doing so.

For example, data from the Devoncroft 2014 BBS Global Market Report shows that Cloud Services / Cloud Technology has become one of the fastest growing areas of project spending in the broadcast industry this year.

Significantly more information about the attitudes of broadcast technology buyers towards cloud technology, and what broadcast technology buyers are likely to actually deploy in the cloud is available from Devoncroft Partners.

The #6 ranked trend in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is the “Transition to HDTV Operations.

The transition to HDTV has been a huge driver of broadcast technology spending for more than a decade, but 2014 BBS respondents report that it is declining in terms of future commercial importance to their organizations.  In 2014, the technology required for the transition to HDTV is well understood by the majority of the market, even those who have not yet made the transition.

Despite its gradual decline in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index rankings, we believe that the HD transition will continue to be one of the most important industry drivers over the coming years. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important is that there is still a long way to go in the HD transition on a global basis. Indeed, our research shows that 2014 is the first year that the total penetration of HDTV infrastructure has surpassed the 50% market for the global market.

Nevertheless, with the transition to HD having been a critically important driver for so many years, it begs the question of what’s next — as broadcast technology end-users in developed markets approach the completion of their HD transition, where does their focus (and spending) shift?

A review of the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index seems to indicate the answer lies in products and services that facilitate increased operational efficiency, and new revenue streams.

“Improvements in compression efficiency,” which is ranked #7 in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is consistent with the desire for increased efficiency. With content distribution models having migrated from single linear broadcast channels, to multi-channel Pay TV playout, to a totally on-demand environment, high quality compression is a critical success factor for broadcasters and content playout platforms.

A plethora of new channels, and the desire for simultaneous bandwidth saving and increased image quality for MPCD services have driven an increasing focus on high quality compression systems. For the past several years this has resulted in better MPEG-2 and H.264 compression products for primary distribution, contribution, and redistribution to consumers. H.265, aka HEVC compression technology holds the promise of further reducing the bandwidth required to deliver high quality images, particularly for 4K/UHD channels.  However, it’s still early days for HEVC, and widespread deployments are still a year or two away.  Nevertheless, it’s clear that for many end-users of broadcast technology, HEVC could be a game-changer.

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,” which is ranked #8 in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, will continue to be a strong driver for content owners, media companies and broadcasters.  The combination of MPCD, better compression technology, and an ever-increasing channel count, will continue to push video on demand deployment, whether via traditional broadcast and pay TV platforms, or over the internet or mobile networks.

The “move to automated workflows” is ranked #9 in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

Better compression technology and lower cost integrated playout platforms (aka “channel-in-a-box”), will facilitate an ongoing proliferation of new TV channels.  This will in turn drive a focus on bringing 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.

While efficiency is undoubtedly very important to end-users, actually making money through the monetization of the new automated channels that are coming on-line has driven a significant increase in focus on content monetization via “targeted advertising,” which is ranked #10 in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

“Remote production,” which is ranked #11 in 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is another trend that is all about efficiency.  Through the use of remote production, broadcasters can lower their costs of producing live events, whether they are as small as a local soccer match or as large as the World Cup.

Similarly, broadcasters and media companies can achieve enormous cost-savings through the trend ranked #12 in the 2014 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, “centralizing operations,” including playout and transmission

Although it’s towards the bottom of the rankings at #13, “analog switch-off” is very important for those regions where it’s happening today – primarily as mandated by local governments.  Our research shows that analog switch-off (also called “digital switch-over” in some territories) has driven huge waves of CapEx in those markets where it has already occurred.

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”, “3D TV” and “green initiatives.

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The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2014 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 2014 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 2014 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners

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Related Content

2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) Reports Now Available

2014 Broadcast Industry Market Research from Devoncroft Partners

Devoncroft Research: IBC 2014: Observations and Analysis of Broadcast and Media Technology Industry (free 52 page report, registration required)

The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index

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

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 09 2013

In a recent article, titled As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy, Barron’s columnist Tiernan Ray describes how “software defined networking” (SDN) may enable software-based systems to cannibalize the market for traditional hardware-based network switches sold by companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent.

Although the article focuses on how SDN might impact major IT networking vendors, Ray could have just as easily been writing about broadcast technology.

Take for example, the first two paragraphs:

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“A decade ago, I asked a venture capitalist in computer networking if dedicated network gear would ever be replaced by software running on a standard computer. My hypothesis was that as general-purpose computers became more powerful, they could absorb functions that previously required specialized computer hardware, the way many functions can be performed on PCs today that once required mainframes. The venture capitalist assured me it would never happen, for a variety of reasons, even if it became technologically possible.

“Fast forward 10 years, and the computer networking world is abuzz with talk of “software-defined networking”— software that can perform the same functions as dedicated hardware, but instead runs on an Intel-based server.”

 

Ten years ago much of the broadcast industry was dominated by bespoke hardware, and it would have been hard for many to imagine that these products could be replaced by software running on generic IT hardware.

But this is exactly what happened as the broadcast industry transitioned to file-based workflows. Video servers replaced tape machines, graphics & branding became increasingly software-based, software-based transcoding became ubiquitous, and traditional master control functionality slowly began to be replaced by integrated playout (channel-in-a-box) systems.

Although the broadcast market has undoubtedly seen tremendous change during this time, it’s likely that we are still in the early innings of the true “ITification” of the industry.  So what’s next?

To get an idea of what the future might hold for broadcast, one only has to look at the of the (significantly larger) IT industry, where investor Marc Andreessen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.”

The IT industry has gone through massive changes – with SDN being one of the latest – driven by new technology; the availability of on-demand cloud-based computing power; low power, high performance semiconductors; falling memory prices;  end-user mobility; and customer demand for greater efficiency, automated operations, and better analytics.

Sound familiar?

The same “external forces” that have changed the IT industry are also impacting the broadcast and media technology business.   If/when these changes take hold in the broadcast industry, there will be significant ramifications for both end-users (broadcasters and media companies) and technology vendors.

The TV business has changed dramatically over the past ten years, particularly on the distribution side. While it’s easy to focus on consumer-oriented statistic such as the amount of video being consumed on phones and tablets, and the consumer’s desire to have an anytime, anywhere media experience; these trends often don’t directly impact most broadcast technology vendors.  They do however impact the customers of technology vendors (broadcasters and media companies), who are making plans today that will let them take advantage of new technologies, and as a result radically change the landscape of the industry.

It remains to be seen how radical these changes will be.  However, another look at the IT industry again provides a glimpse of what might be in store.

Writing in Barron’s, Ray describes some of the implications for traditional IT switching hardware:

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“A more prosaic battle is playing out, as Cisco and others are already cannibalizing the network switches they have long sold, providing what are called “virtual” switches that are just software programs that run on a server.

“A network switch or router is a specialized computer with specially developed chips that perform calculations to determine how to direct bits of data between computers. As complex as they are, some of those calculations can now be efficiently performed in software running on Intel processors.

“The virtual switch movement is already having an impact on network equipment, shaking up the rankings of who’s top dog in individual categories of switching.”

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According to Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa, who follows the IT industry, this means “an entire class of switching equipment may go away.”

Could this also happen in broadcast?  Time will tell, but a number of vendors are already working on solutions to make this a reality.

Ray goes on to highlight another major force that has impacted the IT networking industry, Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), which delivers virtually unlimited computing powers that can be “elastically provisioned” on an as-needed basis.

According to Gartner’s Skorupa, AWS has major implications for makers of hardware-based networking gear.

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“Amazon Web Services can become a buyer of tremendous power, and one thing it may do is buy a lot more networking software than hardware, they opine.

“The immediate result, says Skorupa, is that switch software should cost less than hardware boxes, which means lower revenue for networking vendors.”

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Could the same thing happen in the broadcast technology space?

If so what are the implications for both end-users and technology vendors?

Major broadcaster and media companies realize they can gain tremendous efficiency advantages by leveraging advances in the IT industry. Therefore many of these organizations are taking a hard look at how to integrate some of these new IT technologies into their operations.

Some have gone as far as saying their ultimate goal is a “virtualized broadcast infrastructure with in-line processing.”  In other words, they foresee a future where the broadcast infrastructure is housed in an IT data center, and the operations done today primarily by hardware boxes are carried out by software that plugs in to the IT core.  And by the way, broadcasters probably won’t be building this facility.  Instead, they’ll rent computing power on an as-needed basis from AWS or some other cloud-based service provider.

Sound far-fetched? That’s what the venture capitalist told Barron’s Tiernan Ray ten years ago about the software replacing network switches IT industry.

Today there is evidence that the broadcast industry is already moving in this direction. For example, all 29 Hearst stations are using Signiant’s a cloud-based advertising spot delivery, Vizrt and NVidia are collaborating to virtualize broadcast graphics using Nvidia’s grid technology, and at NAB 2013 Fox announced that it intends to move master control to the cloud in collaboration with Snell.

So perhaps it’s inevitable that, like the rest of the world, the broadcast industry will also be “eaten by software.” When this happens, it will be important that software applications are both fit for purpose, and interoperable.  Fortunately, work is being done today that will hopefully ensure interoperability between next generation broadcast systems and applications.

The Video Services Forum (VSF), along with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and SMPTE, have brought together a group of leading broadcasters, media companies, and technology vendors and created a Joint Task Force on Networked Media.

The VSF Task Force — which is being led by Richard Friedel, EVP & GM, Fox NE&O and VSF President, VSF executive director Brad Gilmer, Hans Hoffman of the EBU, and Peter Symes of SMPTE — is not a standards setting body. Its vision is to enable new business opportunities through the exchange of professional media across networks, taking advantage of the benefits of IT-based technology at an affordable price.  The Task Force, working in an open participatory environment, will map out a strategy for developing a packet-based network infrastructure for the professional media industry by bringing together manufacturers, broadcasters and industry organizations (standards bodies and trade associations) with the objective to create, store, transfer and stream professional media.  Anyone who wants to join this important initiative should contact Bob Ruhl at the VSF.

The VSF Task Force is moving quickly in order to ensure that a common framework, focused on interoperability, is established before hundreds new products, which might otherwise be incompatible, are introduced in the coming months and years by both established vendors and newcomers.

These firms believe they have significant opportunities to leverage advanced IT technologies, including SDN, into their broadcast-oriented product lines. As a result, it’s likely we’ll see an entirely new category of products and services being introduced over the next few years.

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

Details of SDVI (which is a member of the VSF Task Force) are opaque at this point, but Kaplan (who occasionally blogs about SDVI here), told TV Technology magazine that his new company will “take advantage of advances in IT technology and cloud-based services within the broadcast infrastructure to improve workflow and operational efficiencies,” and launch its first products at IBC 2013.

Although Kaplan new firm and others are already moving quickly to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry, there is still confusion about the technology and what it means for both vendors and end-users.

Indeed there is even confusion in the IT networking world according to Juniper Networks, whose website says “SDN is the talk of the networking world. But as popular as it’s been lately, it’s still shrouded in misconception.”

In an attempt to demystify the topic, Juniper has created an SDN white paper, which can be downloaded here.

Documents such as this are worth reading since SDN may very well be coming soon to a broadcaster near you.

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Related Content:

Barron’s Article: As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy

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

The Video Services Forum

SDVI company blog

TV Technology: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

TV News Check: Hearst Goes To The Cloud For Ad Delivery

TV News Check: Fox TV Network Putting Master Control In The Cloud

Marc Andreessen: Why Software Is Eating The World (via WSJ)

Wikipedia: Software Defined Networking

Juniper Networks Whitepaper: Decoding Software Defined Networking – SDN Information and Strategy

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Business Model Questions Linger As Broadcasters Shutter 3D Offerings in Favor of Multi-Screen Services

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 05 2013

Earlier this week the BBC announced that it will broadcast select matches from the Wimbledon Championships in 3D this year.  At that time, Kim Shillinglaw, Head of BBC 3D, said: “We’re delighted to provide live 3D coverage from the biggest matches of this year’s Wimbledon. Major UK sporting events are a big part of our trials with 3D content and this allows us to build on our work from previous Wimbledon Championships and the London 2012 Olympics.”

Now, Broadband TV News reports that the BBC is taking “a three-year holiday from the development of 3D programming with the corporation’s head of 3D admitting the UK public had not taken to the format.”

Broadband TV News quotes the BBC’s Shillinglaw saying “Watching 3D is quite a hassly experience in the home. You have got to find your glasses before switching on the TV. I think when people watch TV they concentrate in a different way. When people go to the cinema they go and are used to doing one thing – I think that’s one of the reasons that take up of 3DTV has been disappointing.”

Shillinglaw’s sentiments echo the statement made by ESPN last month and first reported by the Sports Video Group (SVG) that the leading US sports network was discontinuing its ESPN 3D service “due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home.” ESPN went on to say that it plans on committing the resources currently assigned to 3D production to “other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates,” specifically citing 4K (UHDTV) as an example.

At the time of the ESPN announcement, SVG said that the discontinuation of ESPN 3D raises serious questions regarding the future of 3D sports programming in the U.S. While Europe — especially the UK — has seen continued interest in live 3D sports, American consumers failed to adopt the format at a high rate.” The BBC’s announcement implies that UK consumer appetite for 3D is as lukewarm as it has been in North America, making it impractical for even a publicly funded broadcaster to continue with the format.

A remaining piece of the 3D puzzle is the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will probably be the most watch global event of the year.  According to SVG, HBS (Host Broadcast Services), which will produce the world feed for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has yet to confirm whether the tournament will be produced in 3D.

 

Research Shows Commercial Importance of 3D Down, Multi-Screen Up

These announcements from BBC and ESPN are consistent with the findings of the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), our annual study of the global broadcast industry.  In particular, the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, reveals that multi-platform content delivery is once again the top industry trend for broadcast technology end-users worldwide, while 3D lags far behind in terms of its commercial importance to broadcast professionals.

Not only have research participants consistently told us that 3D lags other industry trends in terms of its commercial importance to their businesses, we’ve also found that 3D has become increasingly less important each year for the past several years.

For example, the chart bellows shows the chart below shows a comparison of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index from 2012 and 2013.  It measures changes in how end-users ranked the commercial importance of industry trends on a year-over-year basis.

 

2013 BBS -- 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index -- Red Box Around 3D (small)

 

Note that in this chart, 3D had the largest reported year-over-year percentage decline in commercial in both between 2012 and 2013.  This was also the case last year.

However, the above chart also demonstrates that while interest in 3D has waned, multi-platform content delivery is and continues to be the dominant trend in the broadcast industry, with more research participants citing it than any other trend as being most important commercially to their business.

The BBS’s plans for Wimbledon are further evidence of this.  The broadcaster said that it will make coverage of the tournament available on an increasing number of platforms, including ten live streams that will be available to PCs, mobiles, tablets and connected TVs.  The BBC will also offer three streams for “Red Button” for viewers on cable and satellite and Digital Terrestrial TV.

 

What about the business model?

Our research, as well as studies from many other firms, leaves no doubt that the popularity of multi-screen services in increasing.

However, it’s another matter to create a commercially successful business model in an environment where audiences are fragmenting, additional content preparation costs are required, and bandwidth providers charge steep fees for unicast delivery of video stream to consumers.

Delivering multi-screen services to consumers is a relatively straightforward process from a technical perspective. Monetizing content on multiple platforms, devices, and use cases is a different matter.

For example, in March 2013 Broadcasting and Cable magazine reported that one panelist at Next TV Conference said that multi-platform content monetization is still a ‘train wreck,’ although other did express “great optimism about the leaps technology will take in coming years.”

In our conversations with broadcasters, Devoncroft analysts have found that many broadcasters and media companies are indeed finding it a challenge to create a sustainable multi-screen business model with a margin profile similar to their traditional business.

The issue is that the shift to multi-platform has dramatically altered the economic model of the TV business. There are a number of reasons and examples why this is the case, but the end-result is that many broadcasters and media companies feel that in order to thrive in this new environment, they must radically change their cost structure.

The resulting decision these organizations will take will have significant implications for content owners, broadcasters, and technology vendors.

We’ll be addressing some of these in future posts on this website.
Some of 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.

Unless otherwise specified, all data in this article measures the responses of all non-vendor participants in the 2013 BBS, regardless of factors such as organization type, organization size, job title, purchasing and geographic location. Please be aware that responses of individual organization types or geographic locations may be very different. 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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Related Content:

Broadband TV News: BBC puts 3D development on hold

BBC Press Release: BBC confirms 3D coverage plans for Wimbledon

Sports Video Group: ESPN To Discontinue ESPN 3D by Year’s End  

Broadcasting & Cable: Monetization Still a ‘Train Wreck,’ But Shows Signs of Clearing

The 2013 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) – overview of available reports, including covered brands and product categories

Largest Ever Study of Broadcast Market Reveals Most Important Industry Trends for 2013

Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2012 – 2013

Analyzing Where Money is Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry – The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Broadcast Technology Products Being Evaluated for Purchase in 2013 – 2014

broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, Quarterly Results | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 03 2013

This is the fourth 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. 

 

Previous articles about the 2013 BBS discussed the most important broadcast industry trends, how the relative commercial importance of broadcast industry trends have changed over time, and where money is currently being spent in the broadcast industry.

This article expands on the findings of the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index by drilling down into the specific product categories that are being evaluated for purchase this year by our global sample of nearly 10,000 broadcast technology end-users in 100+ countries.

We presented research participant with a list of relevant product categories and asked to indicate which ones they are currently evaluating for purchase.

The results are shown in the chart below.

 

2013 BBS -- Product Being Evaluated for Purchase

 

In 2013 it is likely that production technology – such as video editing systems, camera-related products, and audio technology – will be in demand as broadcast professionals continue to upgrade their facilities to HDTV operations.

The new studios, OB vans, and channels that broadcasters have planned and budgeted for will drive the evaluation and purchase of a wide variety of equipment including studio cameras, production switchers, multiviewers, automation, storage, and transmission encoders. As always, test & measurement products will be required for these new facilities.

Strong interest in multi-platform content delivery is driving interest in products and services such as ingest/ streaming/ transcoding and online video delivery platforms.

The ongoing transition to file-based/tapeless workflows will drive the evaluation and purchase of products such as near-line/off-line/archival storage, production servers, and playout automation.

All of the above will likely benefit software-oriented systems such as workflow / asset management, library/storage management, and broadcast business management systems. These products help broadcast technology increase their operational efficiency by facilitating content storage & search; linear and multi-platform playout & distribution; and of course monetization.

 

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.

Unless otherwise specified, all data in this article measures the responses of all non-vendor participants in the 2013 BBS, regardless of factors such as organization type, organization size, job title, purchasing and geographic location.  Please be aware that responses of individual organization types or geographic locations may be very different. 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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Related Content:

The 2013 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) – overview of available reports, including covered brands and product categories

Largest Ever Study of Broadcast Market Reveals Most Important Industry Trends for 2013

Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2012 – 2013

Analyzing Where Money is Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry – The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

Devoncroft Partners: 2013 Broadcast Industry Market Research Findings

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© Devoncroft Partners. All Rights Reserved.

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Analyzing Where Money is Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry – The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 01 2013

This is the third 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. 

 

In a previous article, we published the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, which shows how a global sample of nearly 10,000 broadcast professionals ranked a set of broadcast industry trends in terms of the commercial importance of each one to their business.

This was followed by a post called Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2012 – 2013, which examined how the relative commercial importance of broadcast industry trends have changed over time.

Rather than looking at industry trends, which are often an indicator of what might happen in the future, this article examines what technology products and services are actually being purchased today by broadcasters and media companies globally.

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The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index (which can be found here) showed that the top-ranked broadcast industry trend in 2013 is “multi-platform content delivery.”  Other important trends include “file-based workflows,” “IP networking and content delivery,” and the “transition to HDTV operations.”

The 2013 BBS Trend Index includes a mix of current and future commercial priorities, some of which have already been widely deployed, on a wide scale, some of which are currently being trialed, and others which have not yet been widely implemented. Industry trends evolve and change over time, so tracking this evolution is helpful to better understand what customers are discussing and thinking about implementing in the future.

However, a top ranking in an industry trend Index does not necessarily translate into where broadcast technology buyers are actually spending their budgets in 2013 and 2014. Therefore, it’s important to make a clear distinction between what broadcast customers are thinking and talking about doing in the future (trends), and where they are spending their technology budgets today (projects).

Technology spending in the broadcast industry is typically project-based. Real (budgeted) projects are where broadcast technology budgets are being spent today, not just what people are talking about doing in the future.

Capital projects come in many forms.  They might include international elections, sporting championships, new services designed to attract incremental revenue, and the long-term planned capital upgrades of broadcast infrastructure and facilities.

In order to better understand this dynamic, we presented 2013 BBS participants with a list of 18 projects (determined based on feedback of BBS stakeholders), and asked them to indicate which of these projects they are currently in the process of implementing or have budgeted to implement within the next year.

Unlike industry trend data, which highlights what respondents are thinking/talking about doing in the future, this information provides direct feedback about what major capital projects are being implemented by broadcast technology end-users around the world, and provides useful insight into the capital expenditure plans of the industry.

Taken together, information about trends and projects collected in the 2013 BBS can be used to understand the difference between “trend and spend,” and/or hype and reality.

 

The 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index, shown below, measures the number of projects that research participants are currently implementing or have budgeted to implement.

2013 BBS -- 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

 

Comparing the above chart with the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index illustrates the difference between what end-users are thinking and talking about (trends), and where they are actually planning to spend their budgets today (projects).

While “multi-platform content delivery” was this year’s top-ranked trend, when it comes to where money is actually being spent in 2013, more broadcast technology buyers said that they have budgeted for “upgrading infrastructure for HD/ 3Gbps operations” than any other project.

This finding is consistent with our previous research. Upgrading infrastructure for HD / 3Gbps operations has consistently been the top driver of broadcast technology spending for the past several years, and this is once again the case in 2013.

This year’s top project correlates directly with “transition to HDTV operations,” which was ranked #4 in the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.

The projects ranked #3, #4, #5, #7, #9, and #12 in the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index – “upgrading cameras,” “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. These new cameras, transmission upgrades, new studios, new channels, and upgraded news environments will almost certainly be at least HD capable, if not fully HD.

In some cases, industry trends and budgeted projects line up nicely. In others however, there are significant differences.

A good example of the latter is “multi-platform content delivery,” which has been the top-ranked trend in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index since 2010, and dominated the Index this year.  However, the corresponding project measured in the chart above, “distribute and monetize content on multiple distribution platforms,” ranked #10 out of 18 in the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index, significantly below items ranked much lower in the BBS Trend Index.

These findings are consistent with previous BBS studies, as well as our other research in the professional broadcast technology marketplace.

Despite strong interest in multi-platform content delivery, it appears that creating a sustainable (and profitable) business model for distributing and monetizing content on multiple digital distribution platforms has proven elusive to date for both end-users and technology vendors.

We have conducted numerous projects about multi-platform business models that involved interviewing senior executives from broadcasters and media companies. Although these executives immediately agree that getting to “multi-platform nirvana” is strategically important to their organizations, many readily admit that they have yet to find the right business model.

Many broadcasters and content owners believe that in order to achieve increased revenue and profitability in a multi-platform world, they must first dramatically increase their efficiency through the implementation of new workflows and technical systems, some of which do not yet exist.

This implies that there are likely to be significant opportunities in the future for broadcast technology vendors that are able to solve the technical, operational, and business challenges facing end-users who see multi-platform distribution and monetization as a critical part of their business strategy.

It also helps explain why “file-based/tapeless workflows” was ranked #2 in the 2013 BBS Trend Index, with many research participants saying it is the industry trend that is most important commercially to their businesses over the next few years.

Indeed, a number of capital projects are being implemented in 2013-14 are directly related to “file-based/tapeless workflows” trend. Examples of this are “cloud technology/cloud services,” “workflow / asset-management,” “archive-related projects,’ and “automating workflows.”

In particular, the #2 ranked project in 2013 — “install or enhance workflow / asset management system” – is an area where there has been a great deal of recent activity. Although it may seem that MAM has been set to become “the next big thing” for the past decade or so, it now appears that broadcasters are increasingly focusing on MAM deployments.

One reason for this could be that many end-users believe that in order to be profitable in a multi-platform world, they must significantly increase the efficiency of their operations, and broader use of MAM is seen as one part of solution.

Indeed, in a recent Devoncroft project, more than half of the senior executives from broadcasters and media companies we interviewed cited multi-platform content distribution as the factor that will drive the most change in their organizations over the next few years; and because of this, more than two-thirds predicted their spending on MAM and workflow tools will increase over the next two years.

The remainder of the 2013 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index offers a mixed picture of project activity across the world, and includes everything from upgrading audio and newsrooms to migrating infrastructure from copper to fiber.

And as seen in the 2013 BBS Trend Index, some projects are being planned as the direct result of government or corporate mandates. “Prepare for analog switch-off” is the best example of this.  In the territories where governments have mandated a switch to digital broadcasting, tremendous planning and focus is being devoted to these projects, resulting in strong revenue for transmission and distribution-related products and services.

Interestingly, despite the fact that they may have the potential to deliver increased efficiencies and new revenue streams, some very large projects appear towards the bottom of this list. For example, “consolidate operations in regional hubs (centralcasting),” and “outsourced operations (playout),” are the bottom ranked projects in 2013. 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 2013 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.

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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.

Unless otherwise specified, all data in this article measures the responses of all non-vendor participants in the 2013 BBS, regardless of factors such as organization type, organization size, job title, purchasing and geographic location.  Please be aware that responses of individual organization types or geographic locations may be very different. 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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Related Content:

The 2013 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) – overview of available reports, including covered brands and product categories

Largest Ever Study of Broadcast Market Reveals Most Important Industry Trends for 2013

Tracking the Evolution of Broadcast Industry Trends 2012 – 2013

Devoncroft Partners: 2013 Broadcast Industry Market Research Findings

Previous Year: The 2012 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Project Index

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© Devoncroft Partners. All Rights Reserved.

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