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.
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.
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.
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
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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