Posts Tagged ‘Richard Friedel’

Reminder: 2017 NAB Show Media Technology Business Summit is Sunday April 23rd

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology channel strategy, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Broadcaster Financial Results, Conference Sessions, market research, Media Services M&A, Online Video, OTT Video | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 21 2017

If you are attending the 2017 NAB Show, and you want to understand the commercial and technical issues that are driving the industry forward, you don’t want to miss the sixth annual Media Technology Summit.

11:00am – 3:00pm, Sunday, April 23, 2017

Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N249

We’ve worked hard to bring together an outstanding line-up of technology and business thought leaders from all parts of the media technology ecosystem, and we are very grateful that this incredible group has agreed to take part in this year’s event and share their experiences with our audience.

The full conference agenda is at the bottom of this post.

This summit is the one place at the NAB Show where C-Level executives from each part of the media ecosystem discuss the commercial issues facing their organizations, and how this has and will impact their technology investment and deployment strategies. Whether you are a media company, technology supplier, finance professional, or industry strategist, if you want to understand the executive perspective on business developments in the media technology sector, we’re sure you will find the conference to be a thought-provoking kickoff to the NAB Show. It’s also a great networking opportunity.

In addition to executive panel discussions, we will also provide an overview of the most up-to-date industry market research and analysis.  This includes preliminary findings from the 2017 Devoncroft Partners Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s definitive demand-side market study, and the 2017 Global Market Valuation Report (GMVR), which is published by IABM DC, a 50-50 joint-venture between Devoncroft Partners and industry trade association IABM.

If you have not yet participated in the 2017 Big Broadcast Survey, you can register here and join thousands of your colleagues worldwide in the definitive study of media industry trends.

If you’d like to attend the Summit, all you need is an NAB Show badge.  So please bring any colleagues interested in the changing landscape of media technology.

You can also register using code ATT2.

This event has been standing-room-only for the past several years, and we are expecting a large turn-out, so please come early.

 

2017 NAB Show Media Technology Business Summit

Conference Agenda

11:05am – Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Finance

Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst, Devoncroft

 

11:25am – The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2017

Joe Zaller, President, Devoncroft

 

11:50am – The Vendor C-Suite: Strategies for an Evolving Market

David Ross, CEO, Ross Video

Johan Apel, President & CEO, ChyronHego

John Stroup, President, CEO, Belden, Inc.

Ramki Sankaranarayanan, CEO, Prime Focus Technologies

 

12:30pm – Leveraging Hyperscale IT Infrastructure for Next-Generation Media Workflows

Dave Ward, Senior Vice President, Engineering Chief Technology Officer and Chief Architect, Cisco Systems

Keith McAuliffe, Vice President and Chief Technologist, HPE Servers Global Business Unit Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Peter Guglielmino, Media & Entertainment CTO, IBM

Tom Burns, Media & Entertainment CTO, DELL EMC

Moderator: Al Kovalick, Founder, Media Systems Consulting

 

1:15pm – Service Provider C-Suite: Perspectives on the Future of Media Technology

Barry Tishgart, Vice President, Comcast Technology Solutions

Bill Wheaton, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Akamai

Darcy Antonellis, Chief Executive Officer, Vubiquity

Usman Shakeel, Worldwide Technology Leader Media & Entertainment, Amazon Web Services

Moderator: Janet Gardner, President, Perspective Media Group

 

1:50pm – The Broadcaster C-Suite: Trends Driving Investment Decisions

John Honeycutt, CTO Discovery Communications

Renu Thomas, EVP Media Operations, Engineering & IT Disney/ABC Television Group

Richard Friedel, EVP and GM, Fox Network Engineering and Operations

 

2:30pm – The Broadcaster C-Suite: The Opinion of Financial Decision-Makers

Christine Dorfler, Chief Financial Officer, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations

Joe Dorrego, EVP/CFO, FOX Television Stations

Lucy Rutishauser, Senior Vice President Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, Sinclair

Michael Tuvell, Senior Vice President Chief Financial Officer, Tribune Media

 

Related Content:

2017 Media Technology Business Summit Agenda on NAB Show website

 

© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

Don’t Miss The Media Technology Business Summit at the 2016 NAB Show

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Conference Sessions, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 16 2016

Media Technology Business Summit

1:00pm – 5:00pm, Sunday, April 17, 2016

Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N249

Open to all 2016 NAB Show Registrants

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2016 Devoncroft NAB Media Technology Busienss Summit

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Conference Agenda

1:00pm – Strategic Industry Analysis: Valuations, M&A, and Equity Finance

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft

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1:25pm – Follow the Money: Trends Driving Media Investment

  • Joe Zaller, Founder & President Devoncroft

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1:50pm – Change is the New Normal: Transforming for Business Success in the New Media Landscape

  • Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP, Group CTO, & Head of Group Function Ericsson

 

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2:10pm – The Vendor C-Suite: Strategies for an Evolving Market

  • Louis Hernandez, Jr., President & CEO Avid
  • Charlie Vogt, CEO Imagine Communications
  • Larry Kaplan, Founder & CEO SDVI
  • Dan Castles, CEO Telestream

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2:50pm – The Broadcaster C-Suite: Trends Driving Investment Decisions

  • John Honeycutt, CTO Discovery Communications
  • Renu Thomas, EVP Media Operations, Engineering & IT Disney/ABC Television Group
  • Richard Friedel, EVP and GM Fox Network Engineering and Operations
  • Håvard Myklebust, CTO TV2 Norway

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3:30pm – Leveraging Hyperscale IT Infrastructure for Next-Generation Media Workflows

  • Michelle Munson, President, CEO, and Co-Founder Aspera, an IBM Company
  • Michael Koons, VP, Worldwide Systems Engineering Cisco Systems
  • Tom Burns, CTO, Media & Entertainment EMC/Isilon
  • Ulf Ewaldsson, SVP, Group CTO, & Head of Group Function Ericsson

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4:00pm – Service Provider C-Suite: Perspectives on Industry Trends

  • Chris Walters, CEO Encompass Digital Media
  • Ramki Sankaranarayanan, Founder & CEO Prime Focus Technologies
  • Avi Cohen, CEO RR Media

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4:30pm – AWS Keynote – “All In”: Cloud Transformation of the Media Industry

  • Alex Dunlap, General Manager AWS CloudFront
  • Sam Blackman, CEO and Co-Founder Elemental Technologies

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We look forward to seeing you there. Additional information on the Summit is available from the Devoncroft Partners website and the NAB Show website.

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Media Technology CTOs to Discuss What Drives Their Investment Strategies at 2016 NAB Show Conference

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Conference Sessions, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 11 2016

If you want to understand what’s driving media technology investments, don’t miss The Broadcaster C-Suite: Trends Driving Investment Decisions” at the 2016 NAB Show.

This moderated panel discussion about how evolving business models will drive media technology spending features four top executives: Richard Friedel- EVP and GM FOX NE&O; Håvard Myklebust – CTO of TV2 in Norway;  John Honeycutt – CTO of Discovery Communications; and Renu Thomas – EVP Media Operations, Engineering and IT at the Disney/ABC Television Group.

 

Devoncroft NAB 2016 Broadcaster Panel

 

This panel is just one of the sessions in the 2016 Media Technology Business Summit, produced by Devoncroft Partners and the NAB Show.

Designed to be a thought-provoking kickoff to the 2016 NAB Show, this half-day conference examines the “the business of the media business” from the perspective of all levels of the media value chain.  It is also an opportunity to network with the media technology executive community ahead of the start of the exhibition.

The Media Technology Business Summit is a half-day conference.  It starts at 1pm on Sunday April 17th, 2016 in room N249 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This event has been standing-room only for the past four years.  So please come early if you want a seat.

Admission is open to all registered 2016 NAB Show attendees (remember to bring your NAB Show badge).

Full details are available here, and on the NAB Show website.

 

 

 

© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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JT-NM Publishes Networked Media Reference Architecture v1.0

broadcast industry technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 04 2015

This is an important announcement for anyone interested in the future of media technology, interoperability of next-generation media facilities, and the evolution of media workflows as the broadcast industry transitions to IP-based operations.

 

JT-NM publishes its Networked Media Reference Architecture V1.0

 

EBU_Logo

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineering (SMPTE) and the Video Services Forum (VSF) have announced the release of the JT-

SMPTE_LogoNM Reference Architecture (RA) v1.0 document; a collection of models, best practices, and frameworks intended to facilitate interoperability in networked media systems.

 

The JT-NM Reference Architecture V1.0 can be downloaded here

VSF_Logo

In this first version, the RA focuses on three foundational frameworks.  The foundational frameworks provide our industry with a common, interoperable approach to how devices and services are uniquely identified, discovered and how their capabilities are registered.  The RA also provides a timing model supporting PTP and SMPTE 2059 Standards. These frameworks are building blocks that will enable networked media to deliver new workflow possibilities.

The Joint-Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) was formed in the context of the transition from purpose-built broadcast infrastructure to standard computing, storage and network infrastructure. JT-NM was set up to foster discussion among subject-matter experts, and to drive the development of an interoperable network-based infrastructure for live media production, encompassing file-based workflows. It brings together broadcasters, manufacturers, standards bodies and trade associations.

 

At the IBC in Amsterdam, JT-NM will be discussed in various forums:

  • Friday September 11 at 17:00 to 17:30 at the EBU Technology In Action Theater

 

  • September 12 at 10:00 to 10:30 at the EBU Theatre 10.F20 – How the JT-NM RA will enable new operational scenarios

 

  • Saturday September 12 at 15:00 – 17:30 in the IBC conference (Emerald room): The Media Factory of the Future – Produced in association with the EBU – where Richard Friedel from Fox will talk about the JT-NM work

 

  • September 13 at 14:00 to 16:00,  JT-NM open meeting on the RA v1.0 to solicit input for future activities of the JT-NM (Seats are limited, RSVP to jt-nm-info@videoservicesforum.org)

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Related Content:

Download page for JT-NM Reference Architecture V1.0

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009-2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Industry Thought Leaders to Discuss “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology” at 2015 NAB Show

Analysis, broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A, Conference Sessions, Online Video, OTT Video | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2015

Whether you are a supplier, buyer, or investor in the media technology sector, you won’t want to miss the fourth annual NAB Show event co-produced by Devoncroft Partners and the organizers of the NAB Show.

 

NAB Devoncroft 2015 Shifting Media Economics Session Announcement

 

Now part of the NAB 2015 Media Finance and Investor Conference, “Shifting Media Economics: Impact on Strategy, Finance, and Technology,” will be held on Sunday April 12, 2015 in room N235 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Designed to be a thought-provoking kickoff to the 2015 NAB Show, this half-day conference examines the “the business of the media business” from the perspective of all levels of the media value chain. It includes panel discussions featuring C-level executives from leading broadcasters, service providers, technology vendors, and private equity investors. Each group will offer a candid assessment of how their respective business models, operational practices, and strategic decision making have been impacted by the dramatic shift in media industry economics.

The keynote, “The Future of TV. One Man’s Opinion.” will be delivered by Bob Bowman, President, Business & Media of Major League Baseball (MLB), who oversees MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and MLB Network.

MLBAM has been involved with several recent high-profile streaming events including WrestleMania 31, the opening day of Major League Baseball, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, and the recent launch of HBO Now.  Bowman is scheduled to take the stage just one hour before the highly anticipated season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones” becomes available via HBO Now.

The conference will also include presentations of the latest market research on industry trends and financial performance.  This includes preliminary excerpts from the Devoncroft Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s definitive demand-side study of the broadcast and digital media industry; and the 2015 IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market sizing report.

In advance of the NAB Show, Devoncroft Partners has published an analysis of the trends and strategic drivers in the broadcast and media technology sector. This report is available to download here (registration required).

This conference is intended for senior executives from technology vendors, end-users, and investment firms in the media technology sector. It provides an excellent opportunity to network with industry executives and the financial community ahead of NAB show commitments.

Approximately 400 executives attended this standing-room only event in 2014. We hope to see you there on Sunday April 12, 2015.

Please note that because this event is part the 2015 NAB Show Media, Finance and Investor Conference, registration is required.

 

An overview of the conference is included below.  Full details are available on the NAB Show website.

 

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

 

1:40pm – Welcome and Introductions

Presenter:

  • Peter White, CEO IABM

 

 

1:50pm – Review of Market Developments

Josh Stinehour of Devoncroft will take the podium for his annual (enthusiastic) presentation on developments in the media technology sector.  If you have any final announcements you would like Josh to consider for his presentation, let him know.

Presenter:

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:15pm – The Broadcast & Media Technology Industry in 2015

Devoncroft founder Joe Zaller will present a data-driven overview of the forces bringing dynamic change to the media technology sector in 2015. This will include preliminary results of the 2015 Big Broadcast Survey, the industry’s most comprehensive demand-side study, and observations from the 2015 IABM DC Global Market Valuation Report, the industry’s definitive supply-side market sizing report.

Presenter:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

 

2:40pm – Business Strategy Perspectives from Industry Executives

CEOs from four of the media and broadcast industry’s largest technology suppliers will debate the most important commercial issues facing the industry, and discuss their strategies to position their companies for success in a rapidly evolving marketplace.  The panelists will also offer opinions on how changes in the business environment are impacting vendors and customers.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Patrick Harshman: President and Chief Executive Officer, Harmonic, Inc.
  • John Stroup: President, Chief Executive Officer, Belden, Inc.
  • Tim Thorsteinson: Chief Executive Officer, Quantel and Snell
  • Charlie Vogt: Chief Executive Officer, Imagine Communications

 

 

3:20pm – The Broadcast Buyer Perspective on Industry Trends

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

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Ken Brady: SVP Media Technology and Operations, Turner Broadcasting Systems
  • Richard Friedel: EVP & General Manager, Fox NE&O
  • Fred Mattocks: GM Media Operations & Technology, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Bob Ross: SVP East Coast Operations, CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

 

 

4:00pm – The Service Provider Perspective on Industry Trends

A panel of executives from leading media service providers will discuss views on both technology developments and deployment considerations for media organizations.  Discussion topics will include solutions for multi-platform content delivery, the economics of outsourcing, how service providers can leverage their scale to deliver increased performance and agility, and how next-generation data center architecture may impact the media ecosystem.

Moderator:

  • Joe Zaller, President Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Darcy Antonellis: Chief Executive Officer, Vubiquity
  • Anil Jain: SVP & GM Media Group, Brightcove, Inc.
  • Steve Plunkett: Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson Broadcast & Media Services

 

  

4:30pm – The Institutional Investor Perspective on Industry Trends

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

Moderator:

  • Joshua Stinehour, Principal Analyst Devoncroft Partners

 

Panelists:

  • Chris Kanaley: Vice President, Parallax Capital
  • Nick Lukens: Vice President, Vector Capital
  • Bryce Winkle: Vice President, The Gores Group

 

5:00pm – Keynote: The Future of TV. One Man’s Opinion.


Presenter:

  • Bob Bowman, CEO MLB Advanced Media

 

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Top Broadcasters and Content Owners to Debate Key Trends Driving Future Technology Strategy at CCW Conference

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Conference Sessions, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 11 2014

If you are interested in better understanding how the dynamic changes in the media industry may impact future technology purchasing and deployment strategies at top broadcasters and content owners, you won’t want to miss the panel discussion that I will be moderating at the CCW / SATCON conference.

The session is called “Key Trends Driving Media Technology Investments,” and it happening on Thursday November 13th at 11:30 a.m. in Room 1A14 of the Javits Convention Center in New York.

Discussion topics will include strategic drivers of broadcast technology spending, key customer investment areas, new technology deployment trends, and the most significant industry trends impacting end-user purchasing decisions.

An outstanding panel of four senior M&E technology executives will offer informed perspectives on the most significant trends in the industry, and how their technology purchase decisions are being driven by these shifts in the market.

Confirmed participants include:

  • Richard Friedel, Executive Vice President & General Manager, FOX Networks Engineering & Operations

 

  • Fred Mattocks, GM, English Services, Media Operations & Technology; Chair, Technology Strategy Board, CBC

 

  • Delbert Parks III, SVP and Chief Technology Officer, Sinclair Broadcast Group

 

  • Diane Tryneski, Executive Vice President, Media & Production Operations, HBO Enterprises

 

In addition, the audience will benefit from a summary of key data derived from a variety of broadcast market intelligence projects including Devoncroft’s 2014 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), the industry’s definitive demand-side market report.

Please note that this event is part of the paid conference at CCW. You can register for the CCW Conference here.

This should be a great session. I hope to see you there.

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Related Content:

CCW Session Description — Key Trends Driving Media Technology Investments

2014 CCW Conference Registration

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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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