Posts Tagged ‘Silverwood Partners’

Investment Bankers, Others Offer Post-IBC Assessment of Broadcast Technology Industry

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials, Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 01 2010

Quite a few people have written about their impressions of the IBC show, and given the huge scope of an event like IBC, each takes a slightly different approach depending on their perspective.  For example, here’s one from Murali Nemani at Cisco, another from David Grubb at Motorola, one from UK consultants MediaSmiths, and an announcement from industry guru Mark Schubin that he’ll be presenting a review of IBC on the 12th of October.  There’s even one from me.  

I always read all these articles, but it’s often the thoughts of non-technical industry observers that are the most interesting, because they focus on the business of the business and where it’s heading from a financial perspective.

For example, Silverwood Partners, a boutique investment bank that focuses on the media technology sector recently published their thoughts on the broadcast technology industry in a 19-page document called “IBC 2010 Post-Show Perspectives.”  Silverwood often publishes documents like this before and after major industry shows as a way to connect with broadcast technology vendors who may be looking for investment banking services.  You can read their pre-NAB 2010 document here, and their pre-IBC2010 document here.

From their point-of-view, Silverwood identifies the following as the key themes that emerged from the IBC show.

  • Industry environment improving
  • Intensifying focus on software
  • Large acquirers have substantial cash reserves
  • Focus on broader video use cases
  • Noticeable de‐emphasis of 3D
  • Concerns on sustainability of recovery
  • OTT – alternatives proliferating


In the document, Silverwood discusses each of the above in the context of what is driving increased industry optimism; wider application of video technology (beyond broadcast and post production); what’s required to sell to other verticals; and an increased focus on software and MAM to solve complex workflow problems.

As one might expect from an investment bank who make their money through advising on transactions, Silverwood’s document has a few slides on industry M&A.  They contend that large companies have high cash balances, and that “alternative investments for cash are relatively unappealing.”  In other words the industry is changing radically and companies with cash should be using it for M&A in order to better position themselves for the future and buy growth.

They go on to illustrate the need for M&A by discussing how formerly profitable media businesses have been disrupted by market shifts and new technologies, and then graphically show the industry M&A activity from the past 12 months.

Whether you’re a broadcaster, technology vendor, content owner or distribution platform this is interesting stuff.


You can read the full Silverwood IBC 2010 Post-Show Perspectives document here.


Investment Bankers Publish Strategic Analysis of the Media Technology Industry, Just in time for IBC 2010

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 08 2010

Boutique investment bank Silverwood partners, who is very active in the broadcast market, often publishes a commentary on the digital media industry in the run up to major trade shows, and IBC 2010 is no exception

The company recently published a 39-page slide deck  that offers a strategic analysis of the media technology industry. In it Silverwood bankers outline their perspective on the broadcast industry.  The document, which is in the form of a slide deck, is split into three parts.

Part one covers general industry trends such as activity, audience fragmentation, live vs. non-live broadcast, and 3DTV (long terms and short term impact),  before moving on to more detailed commentary on the state of the industry.

The analysis starts with a slide titled “The Crisis in Broadcast and Post‐Production” that uses IABM data to show the number of broadcast technology vendors operating at a loss while experiencing declining sales.

Paret three finishes up with an overview of online video (a slight departure from their NAB 2010 note) and a summary of recent industry M&A transactions.

In a nutshell, Silverwood’s thesis is that the industry is changing, and vendors must change and/or consolidate to survive in this new environment.  Silverwood makes this case by highlighting the changing business models of broadcasters, the unstoppable encroachment of generic IT technology, the shift in selling, and the ways in which broadcast technology procurement is changing.

Naturally, Silverwood who makes their money through fees associated with transactions, is encouraging vendors to explore M&A and consolidation in order to survive in the current environment.

Nevertheless, this is highly relevant and thought provoking document, which should be required reading before IBC 2010.

You can download Silverwood’s 39-page analysis of the media technology industry here.

Devoncroft Digest for the w/e May 21, 2010 – Echolab Liquidates, Earnings Season Continues, Bankers on Broadcast, Google Gets into TV

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials | Posted by Joe Zaller
May 23 2010

Devoncroft Digest – Recap of the week ending May 21 2010

It was a busy week in the broadcast & digital media world.  Echolab was forced to liquidate, multiple companies reported their quarterly earnings (which were mainly positive), two investment banking houses published notes on the broadcast industry, and Google made a little announcement about their plans to transform the TV viewing experience.

Here’s a recap of some of the things that caught my attention this week


Echolab goes into liquidation

Long-established broadcast production switcher vendor Echolab announced via email this week that the company has been put into liquidation by its owner.  Echolab, which has been in business since 1974, had been on the ascendance recently under the leadership of company CEO Nigel Spratling.   

Spratling revamped the company’s product line-up, which culminated in the launch of the Atem production switcher family.  At NAB 2010 Echolab announced that it had signed an OEM deal for the Atem line with the broadcast communications division of Harris (who has now removed the press release about the deal from their website). 

The email from Spratling said the company’s primary investor was no longer prepared to fund the company, and that the news was a great show to everyone.  

Read the full text of Spratling’s email.



Viewcast losses narrow

Streaming technology provider Viewcast announced their results for the first quarter of FY’10. The company’s reported that their losses narrowed. Revenue for the quarter was up slightly versus the previous quarter, but down 13% versus the same period a year ago.  The company also filed an 8K with the SEC this week, detailing the compensation plans of their CEO and CFO.



More Broadcast M&A — Tektronix acquires Mixed Signals 

Test & measurement leader Tektronix announced this week that it is acquiring Mixed Signals, a provider of digital content monitoring including digital services, transport streams, ad insertion, switched digital video and interactive content.

According to said Eben Jenkins, General Manager of the Tektronix Video Business, “The acquisition of Mixed Signals, Inc. brings to Tektronix a strong team that has delivered leading innovation to the video monitoring market. The combination of Mixed Signals and Tektronix accelerates our ability to provide unmatched next-generation video test and monitoring solutions to our customers.”



Continued growth for Ross Video

Privately held Ross Video said in a press release Ross Video that the company had achieved 7% growth in the first half of its fiscal year.  Although private, Ross has been vocal about their success in the face of the economic downturn of the past 18 months.  During the IBC show last September, company CEO David Ross told the IBC Daily News that the company had continued to grow during the recession.  In the most recent press release, Ross says “We continue to buck the downward trend and have enjoyed some record months.”



Vizrt posts operating profit on big revenue gains

Broadcast graphics and asset management vendor Vizrt reported that their revenue grew by 38% in the first quarter of 2010 versus the same period, but fell 9% versus the previous quarter.  The company made an operating profit of $200K during the quarter, versus a loss of 2.4m during the same period a year ago. Company CEO Martin Burkhalter issued an upbeat statement saying that “broadcast markets are slowly recovering and … that CAPEX budgets and discretionary spending are being restored.”  Burkhalter, who recently stepped into the role of CEO after the death of Bjarne Berg concluded by saying “In terms of revenues, we believe that we are heading back towards the levels we achieved prior to the global downturn and anticipate to reach these levels in the coming nine to twelve months.  With this recovery, we expect our profitability to improve as well.”



Autodesk M&E revenue declines by 4%

3D animation leader Autodesk (the parent company of Discreet and others) posted strong revenues for the first quarter of 2010.  In the earnings press release, which breaks out financials by industry segment, the company revealed that revenue for its Media & Entertainment group was $46m in the quarter.  This is basically flat with the previous quarter and represents a 4% decline versus same period a year ago



Trouble at JVC Kenwood

The Wall Street Journal also reported that JVC Kenwood Holdings fell 21% to Y38 on heavy volume after the company’s Friday announcement of its plan to submit a resolution for 1-for-10 reverse stock split at its upcoming shareholders meeting. One brokerage manager, citing past reverse stock split scenarios, said that without fundamental business improvements, it would be hard to expect the company’s stock to show long-term appreciation.



DG FastChannel added to S&P SmallCap 600 index

Standard & Poor’s announced this week that it is adding DG FastChannel to its S&P SmallCap 600 Index.  DG FastChannel, who recently raised $100m in a secondary public offering, has been on a tear recently.  The company’s stock has more than doubled in the last eight months, and it recently reported record results for its first quarter based on increased advertising revenue. 



Ascent Media CEO dies at age 44

Ascent Media this week announced the sad news that Jose Royo, the CEO of the company’s AMG subsidiary had died at age 44.  “José was a thoughtful and caring business leader, mentor, partner, and friend,” said William Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer of Ascent Media Corporation. “José played a significant role in the media services industry, where he left an indelible mark. He was truly passionate about Ascent, its customers, and its people. José was a wonderfully devoted husband to his beloved wife, and father to his two young children. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time. José will be missed.”



Google, coming to a TV near you soon?

As covered extensively this week, Google has unveiled a strategy which it believes will transform the TV viewing experience by combining it with the web. The company has partnered with Sony, Intel and Logitech to create a new type of TV experience.  Watch this space.



TiVo and Technicolor Team Up to Offer Integrated PVR Solution

I have been a big fan of Tivo since buying their very first PVR in 1999 (which still works great, and in my opinion provides a significantly better experience than the alternative from my pay TV provider), so I was interested to see that the company has teamed up with Technicolor (formerly Thomson) for a new set-top box solution.  You can read the details here…



Two Investment bankers weight in on NAB 2010 and the broadcast space

Two boutique investment banks, Silverwood Partners and Pharus Advisors have recently published notes to clients detailing their impressions of the NAB 2010 show.  Both companies gave me permission to re-publish them here.

Silverwood has been involved in a number of broadcast M&A deals includingBlackmagic / DaVinci and Avid / Euphonix. Prior to the 2010 NAB show the company published, which is worth reading to get their full perspective on the broadcast market.  

Pharus has also been involved in a number of industry transactions including Neural and Virgin Media / Two Way Media. The company published their post-NAB thoughts in their industry newsletter, which also includes a summary of recent M&A transactions in the digital media space, and a comparison of publicly traded companies.

More info on this here…



3D news

Broadband TV News reports that UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is bullish on 3D.  An article on the website says that Sky says there could be up to 1m 3D screens in UK by

Speaking of 3D, the Schubin Café website posted a link to an article which says that watching 3D can make you sick. 



Market Research Note of the Week:

What factors most influence the purchase of broadcast technology products?

Regardless of “how” broadcast technology products are purchased, what many in the industry want to know is “why” they are bought — i.e. what are the most important factors that influence the decision to buy one product over another.

When it comes to selling broadcast technology, there are several strategies that vendors have adopted. This includes positioning their offerings as having the best technology, the best feature set, the lowest cost, the best value, the best service, the most recommended etc.

But which factor is the most important to the most buyers?

To find out we asked several thousand broadcast professionals around the world what is most important to them when buying broadcast technology products.

You can see the results, including a chart that ranks 10 different factors that influence the purchase of broadcast technology products here…

Two Investment Banks Offer Post-NAB Thoughts, Insight on Broadcast Industry

broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials | Posted by Joe Zaller
May 18 2010

Two boutique investment banks, Silverwood Partners and Pharus Advisors have recently published notes to clients detailing their impressions of the NAB 2010 show.  Both companies gave me permission to re-publish them here.


Silverwood has been involved in a number of broadcast M&A deals including Blackmagic / DaVinci and Avid / Euphonix. Prior to the 2010 NAB show the company published a 40 page report about the broadcast industry for their investment banking clients, which is worth reading to get their full perspective on the broadcast market.  

Pharus has also been involved in a number of industry transactions including Neural Audio / DTS and Virgin Media / Two Way Media. The company published their post-NAB thoughts in their industry newsletter, which also includes a summary of recent M&A transactions in the digital media space, and a comparison of publicly traded companies.



Silverwood NAB Perspectives:

Revenue Flow versus Work Flow.  Broadcast and media customers are principally focused on sustaining advertising revenue from traditional outlets and driving incremental revenue over emerging outlets. The focus over recent years on cost containment through automation and technology efficiencies has been eclipsed by the need to adapt technology infrastructure to a changing business model.  The Newspaper industry provides an instructive lesson on the need to be responsive to external challenges to traditional business norms.  Technology vendors are faced with customers that have shifting purchasing priorities and that are scrutinizing expenditures on conventional broadcast infrastructure.


3D will not Reverse Industry Revenue Decline.  While 3D may drive some additional short term revenue, widespread adoption is still in question because certain content will never lend itself to the 3D medium.  Furthermore, with the exception of large screen environments showing purpose produced content (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland), the current 3D experience requires additional improvement.  There are no clear standards for end user devices (TVs and glasses) so mass end-consumer device adoption – if it is to occur – will take time.  Consider that the ongoing HD transition began with the first HDTV broadcast in 1998 and is still only 40% complete in the US market.  Lastly, production methods themselves must also adapt to the creation of 3D content – there is no consistency in the content acquisition process, much of which is based on trial and error and research.  3D requires a new approach in the creative production process as fast switching and cuts can prove to be nauseating to the viewer.  There are also concerns that poorly produced 3D will lead to negative customer perceptions in the near term which will slow adoption and the long term success of the medium.


Pricing is Collapsing.  Years of substantial profitability for media and broadcast customers masked poor cost discipline in the sourcing of technology.   Recent weakness in the advertising market and the broader economic disruption has caused customers to focus on capital budgets and look for more cost effective solutions.  Compounding this challenge, inexpensive general purpose IT infrastructure continues to replace purpose built hardware solutions, creating good enough solutions at attractive prices for many use cases.  This is putting pressure on margins for many traditional Broadcast technology vendors who organized their cost structures for the high price, ‘boom’ years and cannot adapt quickly enough to the changed industry circumstances.


Value Separation: Software, Hardware, Connectivity.  Historically, broadcast and post-production customers purchased purpose built solutions where the discrete software, hardware and connectivity components were blended within a hardware solution.  As the hardware portion becomes increasingly standardized, vendors will need to focus on defensible segments of the value chain, particularly within the software layer.  In many cases specialized hardware vendors are effectively software companies burdened with a legacy hardware orientation.  It is expected that vendors will need transformative change rather than evolutionary adaptation to address the fundamental changes in the media technology industry. 


Growing Software Opportunity.  It is expected that software companies will continue to be a growing presence in the media technology industry.  Differentiation from IT solutions for incumbent vendors resides in the software layer.  Well-positioned companies have software solutions that extend and leverage basic IT functionality, which will continue to improve in speed and capability.  From a product perspective, technology vendors should examine their product portfolios to identify and extract the unique software functionality that is truly differentiating their offerings.  In addition, the increasing use of standardized IT platform technology is creating a growing market for software vendors that can use the standardization to scale efficiently. 


Commercial Opportunity: Customer Diversification.  Well-positioned companies are diversifying and selling to a broader customer base, particularly customers outside the traditional broadcast market.   Targeting other industry verticals is not feasible with a customized hardware solution and an industry focused direct sales model.  In contrast, software solutions that extend standardized hardware and that are deployed through VARs and channel partners can be more easily adapted to large, adjacent industry verticals (Medical, Military, Enterprise).


Business Model Disruption.   For NAB exhibitors there remains fundamental weakness in the traditional broadcast technology industry.  The reduction in industry revenues will highlight one of the principal difficulties for many NAB exhibitors: sales and marketing expense is too high for revenue levels.  With pricing pressure, many vendors will need to change to a distribution model or become part of a larger solution that can support the fixed sales expense.   Well-positioned, well-capitalized vendors will have a unique opportunity to acquire established, respected brands with large user bases over the coming year.


Service Opportunity – Revenue Flow.  Broadcasters and media companies are faced with a proliferation of technologies and monetization possibilities, and an accelerating rate of technology change.  Historically, broadcasting challenges were solved by buying incremental technologies to plug into an existing well-understood technology infrastructure.  Current business challenges require business model innovation coupled with technology platform innovation to drive revenues across a growing range of end-point devices and outlets.  Given the lack of clarity on the optimal revenue model and the rapid pace of technology change, broadcasters and media customers are reluctant to invest in standalone technology purchases.  This is creating an attractive service opportunity driven by the ability to provide incremental revenue growth with a low barrier to entry, a receptive customer and an attractive ROI.








We recently attended the NAB 2010 conference in Las Vegas. We came out of the conference feeling the media and broadcast technology market is experiencing a healthy recovery from 2009. The recurring comment echoed by many industry players was that the deals in the customer pipeline that were stalled in 2009 are now morphing into real opportunities. The RFP activity is showing decent improvement, however, the sales‐cycle continues to be long and spending not completely flowing.

Even though the network spending in North America, which was driven by conversion to HDTV over last few years, is slowing, other factors like changes in customer preferences, and pressure to generate new sources of revenues and reduce costs are expected to continue to drive technology capital expenditure for networks. These new developments are adding new dynamism to the sector, which can be witnessed by the plethora of vendors and solutions.

Here are some of prominent themes that we witnessed at the NAB show this year.

  • Emergence of 3D television broadcasting: As expected, this was the major theme at NAB similar to what was the case at CES earlier this year. TV manufacturers continue to be enthusiastic about this trend. CES expects 4.3 million 3D TV sets to be sold in 2010, with about 25% of total TVs sold in 2013 to be 3D‐enabled. Even though some major players (like DIRECTV, Discovery, IMAX, and etc.) have made announcements over last few months about launching 3D content, a lot of the content producers and broadcasters are still not sure about how quickly this market opportunity will grow in the near term. As a result, they tend to be reticent to make investment in this area at this point.


  • Development of multi‐platform content distribution (broadcast, web and mobile) capability: The spending on TV advertising is gradually declining. According to Yankee Group, the TV ad market declined 21.2%, from $52 billion to $41 billion, between 2008 and 2009. During this same period spending on Internet advertising grew as a result of consumers spending more time online and less time watching TV. With more and more eyeballs consuming video content on Web and mobile devices, broadcasters are investing in technologies which enable delivery of content over multitude of platforms.


  • Adoption of file‐based workflows: One of the important areas of investment for broadcasters remains implementation of file‐based workflow infrastructure. This is viewed as important by broadcasters to augment flexibility in day‐to‐day operations, facilitate reduction in operational costs, and enable efficient multi‐platform content distribution.


Emergence of Over‐the‐Top (OTT) Video and convergence of TV and Internet: The other recurring trend at the show was the focus on growing convergence between broadcast TV and Web video. Internet users are increasingly interested in streaming full length video directly onto their TVs and as a result variety of models are appearing to provide consumers with this capability. According to report by Tender Research from October 2009, about 7% of households will forgo Pay TV subscriptions by 2012 in favor of OTT services and free over‐the‐air television. OTT market is moving very fast with proliferation of enabling devices like Roku, Xbox, and a range of new HDTV models and growth of online video sites such as Hulu, Netflix,

Two Broadcast M&A Deals: HME Buys Clear-Com, EVS Buys OpenCube

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 06 2010

Two broadcast industry M&A deals have been announced since I wrote last week about the 40 page note put out by boutique investment bank Silverwood Partner, which says that vendors in the broadcast industry need to consolidate.

Last Friday HME announced that is acquiring Clear-Com from Vitec, a move that will strengthen their position in the broadcast intercom / talkback market.

Today EVS said that is is buying MXF specialist OpenCube, a bolt-on acquisition that brings additional file-based and MXF expertise in-house.

There have also been a number of industry partnerships announced such as the deal between Harris and Echolab, which sees Harris reselling Echolab production switchers.

NAB 2010 is now a week away, and it’s common that these deals are announced around major trade shows. It will be interesting to see if there are more deals coming.

NAB 2010 and the Broadcast Market From the Banker’s Perspective

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 02 2010

Silverwood Partners, a boutique investment bank that specializes in the broadcast industry issued to clients last week a 40 page report, which gives their take on the state of the broadcast market.

The report, which is aimed primarily at broadcast technology vendors, starts by looking at some themes and trends in the industry including the revenue models of broadcasters, the rise of over-the-top video, and the decline in advertising revenues. It then moves on to discuss how these trends will impact the broadcast technology value chain — including an explanation of how the broadcaster’s buying model has changed along with their business model and broadcast workflows.

According to Silverwood, media companies now asses technology purchases according to two criteria — revenue flow and workflow.  In this model, product that fit into the “revenue flow” category help broadcasters to increase revenue, while those that fit into the “workflow” category reduces costs. 

The argument here is that if vendors don’t fall into one of these two camps, they face increasing difficulties in the future.  And according to Silverwood, this future is uncertain.  The big revenue drivers of the past decade – the DTV mandate HD conversion – are coming to an end, leaving a question about what will drive broadcast technology revenue in a future where the broadcasters themselves are fighting to develop new business models, and very large IT vendors are beginning to take market share from traditional broadcast vendors.

Silverwood sums this up by saying “consolidation is inevitable” and that “doing nothing is not an option.” They back up these statements with a review of the past year’s financial performance of more than 40 vendors – showing that nearly 75% saw revenue declines in 2009 versus 2008.

The report concludes with a review of recent M&A transactions in the digital media space.  It’s a document that’s intended to make broadcast tech vendors think about their future — after Silverwood’s business is M&A and they need to find more deals to fill their pipeline.

I think it’s an interesting report that’s worth reading before the NAB show.

If you’d like to read this report, please follow this link.

The IABM’s US Member Days, and New IABM / Screen Digest Global Market Study

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Oct 20 2009

Last week I attended the IABM’s US member meetings in both San Francisco and New York.  The meetings had pretty good attendance and were very informative.

I was there to present information about my current market research findings as part of my partnership agreement with the IABM, but the highlight of the meeting was Graham Sharp’s overview of the new IABM / Screen Digest global market study.

Over the years, I have bought just about every broadcast technology market report, and in my view the IABM / Screen Digest report is the best source for broadcast industry data on market size, growth and share. This report is ordinarily published every other year (this not being one of them), but due to the economic conditions there was significant demand for an updated report this year.  The IABM obliged, with an informative report that is priced 50% lower than the full bi-annual report.

You can find information about the new report here.  In the meanwhile, here are some of the high level findings that were presented at the meeting.

This study has very up-to-date information.  It takes into account actual results of vendors through June 2009 and adds projections through the end of 2009.  It then provides an overall market forecast through to 2012

At a high level, the study found that the overall broadcast technology market declined 9.5% in 2009.  This number was the subject of much discussion among member companies, especially in light of the following table, which shows a breakdown of how vendors reported / forecast their revenues for 2009:


Broadcast Technology Vendor Revenues in 2009:

Revenue Growth 0-10% revenue decline 10-15% revenue decline 15-20% revenue decline 20%+ revenue decline






Source: IABM/Screen Digest 2009

Clearly there is some discrepancy between the numbers in the above chart and the overall 9.5% decline for the total market.   Vendors at the meeting wanted to know how it’s possible that this report shows a (mere) 9.5% drop in the overall market when so many companies have seen such significant revenue drops (as shown in the table above)?

Indeed there is much anecdotal evidence that the broadcast technology market is down much more than 9.5% for 2009.  As I posted previously, during IBC 2009, many vendors told me that their revenues were down by 20-40%.  However I also found some bright spots at IBC – particularly in those areas that have to do with making broadcasters more efficient and saving them money – e.g. automation, workflow optimization, asset management, business systems etc.  Perhaps growth in these areas has made up for some of the losses in others.

For its part, the IABM and Screen Digest are standing behind the projections, and say that that the following needs to be taken into account when looking at these numbers:

  • Sources of income to customers (advertising, license fees, subscriptions)
  • Product revenue vs. service revenue and the trend towards outsourcing
  • Regional differences
  • ForX rates, which have been extremely volatile the past few years
  • Dynamics in individual market segments and product categories


Here are some other interesting things / highlights of this report:

  • The total market size is pegged at $25BN, with $16BN (63%) coming from product revenue, and $9BN (37%) coming from service revenue.  Service revenue includes Rental/hire, transmission, managed services, systems integration, support contracts and consultancy.
  • This means that service providers such as playout centers and others are counted as part of the market size.  This is consistent with previous IABM reports, but perhaps not with the way most vendors count their revenues.  Indeed, to a typical vendor a playout / service provider is a customer.
  • Service revenues in Europe are now higher than product revenues, and (IMO) will likely continue to increase worldwide as broadcasters move to more outsourcing in order to shift cost from Capex to Opex.
  • By 2012, the market size will be back to where it was at its peak in 2008


When all of this is explained (which takes a while), you can understand how Screen Digest arrived at these numbers, but this does not mean that all the vendors at the meetings agreed with them.  What this highlights is that the industry is changing.  I’ve made several posts about this including my Impressions of IBC 2009 and Silverwood Partners’ Take on IBC 2009.  This reports is also consistent with a question I posed in the post HDTV… just a “pause” on the path to transition to IT-based broadcasting? which said that the transit ion to HD (much of which had to be done with hardware), put back the move to IT-based broadcasting by about five years.  During the biggest years of the HD transition, many vendors grew very rapidly, including a few that went public.  Today, the transition to HD is well underway, and the focus of the customers is all about efficiency.   So it makes me wonder whether when the recovery does happen, who will reap the biggest benefit — the traditional hardware vendors, or providers of efficient IT-based systems.  I think we will see some new players emerge, while some established players continue to struggle.

All-in-all the new IABM/Screen Digest report looks well worth considering if you are involved in the financial or supply side of the broadcast technology industry.  You can get more info on this report here.

Silverwood Partners’ Take on IBC 2009

broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 25 2009

 Specialist investment bank Silverwood Partners today issued a note called “IBC 2009 Perspectives.”

I thought it was an interesting take on the show and on the industry, and it’s worth sharing.


September 25, 2009 – IBC 2009 was an active show that reflected the transformative changes taking place in the media technology industry. We would like to share our perspectives from the event.

1. Challenging Environment in Broadcast Technology.   Broadcast customers are losing revenue from their traditional business as advertising dollars are being siphoned off to online alternatives. Concurrently, the broadcast industry is moving toward a lower cost, file-based infrastructure, with high-performance technology available at a fraction of traditional cost. Neither trend is good for the pricing power or the margins of incumbent companies. Some have cut costs to outpace the revenue decline; some have found other revenue streams. Many traditional vendors have enjoyed a stable business environment, with high margins, for years, and some will find it difficult to make the necessary business adjustments.

2.  DTV and HD Shifts Nearing Completion.  The Digital TV transition and the HD transition are substantially complete, and have in each case provided a boost to the broadcast technology industry.  The related capital investment has masked the underlying poor fundamentals of the industry.  As the stimulus from these trends abates, broadcast technology suppliers will be increasingly exposed to the fundamental weakness of demand in the industry.

3.  Revenue Flow vs. Work Flow.   As the influence of the online medium grows and media outlets proliferate, broadcasters are being forced to focus on monetization and revenue generation rather than primarily workflow and program delivery.  Traditional broadcast technology buyers are inexperienced with the technology framework of the online medium.  Such buyers are actively seeking assistance in solving immediate and unfamiliar problems that involve not just the technology infrastructure but also the business model.  Related customer inquiry is driving acquisition interest within the sector.

4.  Abundance of Acquisition Opportunities – Importance of Differentiation.  The recent economic disruption has exacerbated the structural changes in the broadcast industry and has driven many companies to look at strategic alternatives.  For well-capitalized companies this is a favorable time to look at acquiring competitive and complementary technologies. Large companies are evaluating many transaction opportunities and are being highly selective in their acquisition strategies. It is important for prospective sellers to understand the value and differentiation represented by their business or technology, and to directly relate the distinction to a prospective buyer’s specific objectives.  

5.  Unique Opportunity for Smaller Technology Companies.  Historically, decision makers behind key technology purchases at large customers reflexively avoided smaller suppliers and principally sourced key technologies from large, well-known companies.  In the current environment, smaller, innovative companies can be more responsive to the rapidly evolving needs of media technology customers.  With the broadcast business model changing as a result of, and as a response to, fundamental technology shifts there is a unique opportunity to capture a leading position in a rapidly growing market.  

Silverwood is actively involved in a number of transactions for companies that were exhibitors at IBC, and we have an informed and current perspective on transaction structuring, pricing and feasibility.

%d bloggers like this: