Posts Tagged ‘systems integrators’

More Broadcast Vendor M&A: Grass Valley Sells Systems Integration Business to German Private Equity Firm

Broadcast Vendor M&A | Posted by Joe Zaller
Aug 07 2012

Leading broadcast technology vendor Grass Valley announced that it has sold the assets and resources of its systems integration (SI) team based in Weiterstadt, Germany to  BTS broadcast technology solutions GmbH. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BTS is owned by Parter Capital, a German private equity firm.  This is the second Grass Valley-related deal for Parter Capital.  In May 2011  Parter acquired the Grass Valley transmission business and the right to use the Thomson brand from Technicolor for a “non-material amount.”.

The transaction involves the sale of Grass Valley’s system engineers and specialists that design and build outside broadcast (OB) vehicles as well as production and broadcast facilities across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).  Grass Valley says it will continue to work with BTS, as well as other SIs around the world.

Grass Valley says the deal will reinforce its “strategy to focus on IT-centric software and hardware systems, while building a strong partners ecosystem,” and that it will work with BTS

“As an investment company, we saw the potential for growth as Grass Valley concentrates on its core businesses, and we are confident we can continue to make BTS broadcast technology solutions GmbH a global provider of high-quality leading solutions for fixed and remote production and broadcast facilities,” said Dr. Rüdiger G. Terhorst, Managing Director at PARTER Capital Group. ”
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Related Content:

Press Release: Germany’s PARTER Capital Group Acquires Grass Valley German Systems Integration Business http://dcft.co/TeA92U

More Broadcast Vendor M&A: Technicolor Closes Deal to Dispose of Grass Valley Transmission Business

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© Devoncroft Partners. All Rights Reserved.

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Ascent Media Will Take $1-2 Million Charge When It Shuts Down Systems Integration Business

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
May 10 2011

Ascent Media, which has sold off its media and broadcast assets over the past year, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that it plans to shut down its systems system integration business and record a restructuring charge of $1 to $2 million.

The news comes a little more than a month after Ascent sent a letter to its partners and suppliers saying that Ascent would closing its systems integration business on or about May 1, 2011.

Here is the information from the SEC filing:

“The Content Services group includes the System Integration business, which provides program management, engineering design, equipment procurement, software integration, construction, installation, maintenance and support services for advanced technical systems for the media and telecommunications industries and other customers.

“In the second quarter of 2011, Ascent Media plans to shut down the System Integration business and record a restructuring charge between $1 to $2 million primarily for abandoned leases under the 2010 Restructuring Plan.

“The Content Services group had historically also included the Content Distribution business, which provided facilities and services necessary to archive, manage, and reformat media assets for distribution, as well as the infrastructure to assemble programming content and to distribute media signals via satellite and terrestrial networks. This business was sold to Encompass Digital Media, Inc. (“Encompass”) in February 2011 and has been treated as a discontinued operation for all periods presented.”

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Related Content:

Ascent Media 10-Q filing with SEC, May 9, 2011

Ascent Media Joins Azcar in Shutting Down Broadcast Systems Integration Business http://bit.ly/eMnoEU

Ascent Media 2010 annual 10-K filing with SEC

Broadcast Systems Integrator Azcar Technologies Ceases Operations

TVB article: Azcar Folds

Broadcast Engineering Article: Systems integrator AZCAR ceases business

Press Release: Ascent Buys Montronic

Ascent Sells Post Business to Deluxe

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Ascent Media Joins Azcar in Shutting Down Broadcast Systems Integration Business

broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 25 2011

Yesterday broadcast systems integrator Azcar announced that it was shutting down its operations

It turns out that Azcar is not the only broadcast SI shutting its doors.  On the same day that Azcar announced its liquidation, it was revealed that Ascent Media is also closing shutting down its broadcast systems integration business.

This week Ascent Media senior buyer Marlene Lefort sent a letter to Ascent’s partners and suppliers saying that Ascent is closing its systems integration business on or about May 1, 2011.

Here’s the text of the letter:

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 “This letter is to inform you that Ascent Media Systems Integration will be shutting down for business on or about May 1, 2011. We thank you for your support these past years and wish you continued success. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.”

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Ascent’s SI business has struggled in recent years as a result of the recession, which forced many of its customers to delay or cancel projects.

Ascent’s recent 10-K filing with the SEC shows the impact of the recession on the company’s SI business.  On page 32 of the filing, it says:

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Revenue.  In 2010, Content Services revenue decreased by $27,185,000 or 17.6% due to a decrease of $27,474,000 in system integration services as customers reduced their spending on system integration projects, with one customer, Motorola, accounting for $17.0 million of the decease and (ii) a decrease of $1,165,000 due to lower revenues for content distribution and transport services in the United States and Singapore. In 2009, Content Services revenue decreased by $105,754,000 or 40.6% due to (i) a decrease of $95,511,000 in system integration services revenue due to a significant number of large projects in the United States and the United Kingdom in the prior year with one customer, Motorola, accounting for $47.8 million of the decrease, and a decline in system integration projects in 2009 as customers reduced their spending in response to a weaker economic climate, (ii) $7,282,000 due to lower content origination and transport services in the United States and the United Kingdom and (iii) unfavorable changes in foreign currency exchange rates of $3,826,000.”

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Although it’s quite a coincidence that both Azcar and Ascent announced that are shutting their SI operations in the same week, Ascent had previously telegraphed its intention to close the SI business via filings with securities regulators.

In its 10-K filing, Ascent stated its intention to dispose of the systems integration business, saying:  “We are currently exploring opportunities to dispose of the Systems Integration business, which we consider non-core. There can be no assurances that the disposition of the SI business will be completed in the near term and/or on terms favorable to Ascent Media, or on any terms.”

Ascent is in the process of transforming its business.  It recently acquired Montronics, a company that provides security alarm monitoring services: monitoring signals from burglaries, fires and other events, as well as, providing customer service and technical support. Ascent says Montronics has stable and scalable revenues.

To fund the Montronics acquisition, the company shed its broadcast-related interests, and exited the broadcast business altogether.  As part of this process, Ascent has disposed of assets including its:

  • Chiswick Park playout facility in London, which was sold to Discovery Communications for $34.4m
  • Global Media Exchange business, which was classified as discontinued operations in September 2010
  • Creative Services business, which was sold to Deluxe Entertainment for $69m
  • Content Distribution business, which was sold to Encompass Digital Media for $104m

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Unfortunately, it appears that Ascent has been unable to sell its SI business and has been forced to close its doors.

 

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 Related Content:

Ascent Media 2010 annual 10-K filing with SEC

Devoncroft blog post” http://bit.ly/hn6pUn

TVB article: Azcar Folds

Broadcast Engineering Article: Systems integrator AZCAR ceases business

Press Release: Ascent Buys Montronic

Ascent Sells Post Business to Deluxe

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How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Reliability

broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, market research, Top Broadcast Vendor Brands | Posted by Joe Zaller
Dec 07 2009

This is the fourth in a series of posts that discusses how a global sample of more than 325 systems integrators (SIs) who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS)* ranked broadcast technology vendors in a variety of measures. For information about how these results were collected, please see the bottom of this post**.

In an era when many broadcasters are shedding technology positions, SIs have become an extremely important part of the technology value chain.  Broadcasters now routinely outsource their project work to SIs, who are called in for their expertise and experience.  Thus the relationship that vendors have with their SI partners is very important to their business. 

Previously I have looked at How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Great Customer Service; and How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Innovation; and How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Vendors for Quality.  This post looks at how the global sample of systems integrators ranked vendors for reliability.

This is the third time I have written about how broadcast technology vendors have been ranked for reliability.  Previous posts include Reliability Rankings for Broadcast Technology Vendors, which looks at how the overall market ranks vendors for reliability, broken down by geography; and How Broadcasters of Different Sizes Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Reliability.

The chart below shows the responses from more than 325 SIs.  It is broken out by geography to show the responses of the global sample of all SIs who participated in the study, as well as the responses of SIs in EMEA and the Americas.  Due to a small sample size, SI rankings for Asia-Pacific have not been included as a separate column.  For the sake of comparison, I have also included in this chart the rankings of all respondents (regardless for organization type, geography etc), and all broadcasters (regardless of size or geography), in the first and second columns respectively.

 

Please note that in all cases, these brands are shown in alphabetical order, NOT in the order of their ranking in the study

 

Question: How would you rate [Brand X] on the following attribute [Great Customer Service] where 1 = very poor and 10 = best in the market?

Reliability -- by Systems Integrators

 

As always these findings are extremely interesting.  Here are a few quick observations about this table:

 

* There are 9 vendors on this list (out of 25 studied), the same number as in the innovation rankings.  This makes innovation and reliability the least varied and most concentrated of the metrics in this series of posts about perceptions of systems integrators. 

 

 * The complete list of vendors in this table (in alphabetical order), and how many times they appear is as follows: Evertz (2), EVS (4), Harris (1), Miranda (1), Omneon (2), Snell & Wilcox (5),  Sony (5), Thomson / Grass Valley (3), Utah Scientific (2)

 

* As always, there are some interesting differences in the rankings of vendors by SIs versus the rankings by other organization types such as broadcasters, and even the overall market. 

 

* Out of the 9 vendors in this table, only Snell & Wilcox and Sony made the top 5 list for reliability in all five categories (the overall market, the global sample of all broadcasters, and the three SI categories).

 

* EVS appears four times in this table.  The company made the top 5 list for reliability for all categories except systems integrators in the Americas.

 

* Utah Scientific and Omneon each appear twice in this table – in the Global SI and EMEA SI lists.  However, neither company is listed in the top 5 reliability for the overall market or the sample of all broadcasters. Interestingly, these results for Utah and Omneon go against the geographic bias exhibited for other metrics.  Both Utah and Omneon are based in the Americas, but neither company makes the top 5 reliability list for SIs in the Americas.  Instead, both companies are listed in the global SI and EMEA SI categories.

 

* One company that does make the top 5 reliability list for SIs in the Americas is Thomson / Grass Valley, which also appears in the top 5 reliability list for the overall market and the sample of all broadcasters.

 

* Other companies that make the top 5 reliability list for SIs in their home territories are EVS and Snell & Wilcox (EMEA) and Miranda and Evertz (Americas).

 

* Harris appears in the global sample of all respondents, but not in any of the SI samples.

 

* Appearing two times in this table, Evertz makes the list for the global sample of all broadcasters as well as SIs in the Americas.

 

* Miranda makes one appearance in this table – in the SI list for the Americas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 * The annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) is the largest and most comprehensive studies of broadcast technology vendor brands and industry trends.  The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by practitioners across the world.  It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type.

 

** Respondents to the BBS were asked to rank their opinion of twenty-five broadcast technology vendor brands in a variety of categories including awareness; overall opinion; change of opinion; recommendation; and a variety of brand attributes and brand drivers such as innovation, reliability, quality and great customer service.  The responses were then aggregated into a series of industry “league tables” that rank each broadcast technology vendor brand against the metrics mentio

How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for “Great Customer Service”

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, market research, Top Broadcast Vendor Brands | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 30 2009

This is the third in a series of posts that discusses how a global sample of more than 325 systems integrators (SIs) who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS)* ranked broadcast technology vendors in a variety of measures. For information about how these results were collected, please see the bottom of this post**.

In an era when many broadcasters are shedding technology positions, SIs have become an extremely important part of the technology value chain.  Broadcasters now routinely outsource their project work to SIs, who are called in for their expertise and experience.  Thus the relationship that vendors have with their SI partners is very important to their business. 

Previously I have looked at How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Innovation; and How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Vendors for Quality.  This post looks at how the global sample of systems integrators ranked vendors for “great customer service.”

This is fourth time I have written about how broadcast technology vendors are perceived by the market for their customer service.  Previous posts on the subject include A Ranking of Broadcast Technology Vendors for “Great Customer Service”, which breaks out overall rankings by geography; and How broadcasters of different sizes rank technology vendors for great customer service. 

I have also touched on how the perception of customer service can be extremely varied in different regions.  I highlighted one such case in an article called Brand Schizophrenia? Regional/customer variations in perception of broadcast vendor brands.  

Customer service is a very important measure, and in many cases it is one of the key determining factors in purchase decisions. I would imagine that this is particularly true for systems integrators who must work simultaneously with many vendors while striving to complete a project on time and on budget.  

Yet from my research I’ve found that the customer service offerings of broadcast technology vendors is also something that is perceived by the market as not being as strong as other metrics such as innovation, reliability and quality. 

Indeed as I wrote in a previous post “respondents were harder on this metric [customer service] than any other… it’s worth noting that on an overall basis, respondents to the BBS were much stingier with their “grades” in this category compared to all the others.  Many companies received very high scores for metrics like “overall opinion,” “innovation,” “reliability” etc., but no company was ranked “off the charts” in terms of the perception of “great customer service.”

So having said all that, how did systems integrators rank broadcast technology vendors for “great customer service?”

The chart below shows the responses from more than 325 SIs.  It is broken out by geography to show the responses of the global sample of all SIs who participated in the study, as well as the responses of SIs in EMEA and the Americas.  Due to a small sample size, SI rankings for Asia-Pacific have not been included as a separate column.  For the sake of comparison, I have also included in this chart the rankings of all respondents (regardless for organization type, geography etc), and all broadcasters (regardless of size or geography), in the first and second columns respectively.

 

Please note that in all cases, these brands are shown in alphabetical order, NOT in the order of their ranking in the study

 

Question: How would you rate [Brand X] on the following attribute [Great Customer Service] where 1 = very poor and 10 = best in the market?

Customer Service -- by Systems Integrators

 

As always these findings are extremely interesting.  Here are a few observations about this table:

 

* There are 11 vendors on this list (out of 25 studied); meaning that great customer service is the most varied and least concentrated of any metric in this series of posts about perceptions of systems integrators. 

 

* This lack of vendor concentration is similar to customer service findings in other categories.  For example, the customer service rankings of the overall market and that of broadcasters broken down by size (both mentioned above) both show a similar profile.

 

* Out of the 11 vendors in this table, no vendor made the top 5 list for great customer service in all categories. 

 

* However, both Omneon and Snell & Wilcox did achieve this in all three systems integrator categories.

 

* The complete list of vendors in this table (in alphabetical order), and how many times they appear is as follows: Axon (3), Evertz (3), EVS (2), Harris (1), Miranda (1), Omneon (3), Pebble Beach (2), Snell & Wilcox (4), Sony (2), Sundance (1), Thomson / Grass Valley

 

* As with many other findings, there are interesting regional variations in the way vendors are perceived for great customer service

 

* 4 out of 5 in the EMEA SI list are European based – Axon, Network, Pebble Beach and Snell & Wilcox

 

* Likewise, the Americas SI list is dominated by North American players.  In the Americas SI list, 4 out of the 5 vendors are based in the region — Evertz, Harris, Miranda and Omneon.

 

* There are also some interesting differences in the rankings of vendors by SIs versus the rankings by other organization types such as broadcasters, and even the overall market.

 

* There are two pure-play automation players in the global SI list for great customer service.  This is a first for me — no pure-play automation vendors have appeared in any ranking I have published so far (global sample, broadcaster by geography sample and broadcaster by or size sample).  So what is it about SIs that result in two of their top five spots for great customer service are pure-play automation vendors?

 

* EVS, Sony and Thomson / Grass Valley all make the top 5 great customer service list for the global sample of all respondent and the all broadcasters.  However, none of these companies makes any of the SI lists.

 

* Axon appears three times.  The company makes the top 5 list for great customer service for all broadcasters, all systems integrators and EMEA systems integrators.  Like EVS, Axon is a company that has done very well in the various customer service posts I have written.  Although the company is relatively small when compared to some of the others on this list, it is clearly caught the attention of the market by making customer service a priority.

 

* Like Axon, Evertz also appears on this list three times, but in only one of the SI categories – the Americas.  This is consistent with other findings about Evertz in that they seem to do best in the Americas market.

 

* Another strong regional player is Miranda, who does well with SIs in the company’s home region.  The same is true of Harris, which appears once in this chart – in the SI list for the Americas.

 

* Like Miranda and Harris, Network (now Nevion) appears once in this table – in EMEA SI list only, another example of a local vendor doing well in their home region.

 

* EVS, which appeared in the top 5 list for great customer service for all geographies in a previous post, appears in the first two columns of this chart (global sample and all broadcasters).  However the company is absent from all three systems integrator categories

 

* Although they did not make the top 5 great customer service list for all respondents or all broadcasters, Omneon appears in all three categories of this list for systems integrators. The only other vendor to appear in the top 5 list for all three categories of systems integrators was Snell & Wilcox.

 

* Two companies appear in two of the SI categories – Axon and Pebble Beach. Both companies are based in EMEA, and they each appear in the top 5 for all SIs and SIs in EMEA.

 

As per my previous findings on this subject, the SI rankings for “great customer service” are extremely interesting.  There are strong regional variations and both small and large vendors have made the above table in one or more places.    

I continue to be convinced that despite the strong showings by some vendors, broadcast technology buyers generally perceive customer service as a weakness in the industry.  Therefore, as I said in a previous post, “it’s clear to me that there is a real opportunity for vendors to step up to the plate and differentiate themselves on the basis of great customer service.  Whoever does this will be rewarded by their customers with increased loyalty.”

 

 

 

* The annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) is the largest and most comprehensive studies of broadcast technology vendor brands and industry trends.  The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by practitioners across the world.  It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type.

 

** Respondents to the BBS were asked to rank their opinion of twenty-five broadcast technology vendor brands in a variety of categories including awareness; overall opinion; change of opinion; recommendation; and a variety of brand attributes and brand drivers such as innovation, reliability, quality and great customer service.  The responses were then aggregated into a series of industry “league tables” that rank each broadcast technology vendor brand against the metrics mentioned above.

How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Quality

broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, market research, Top Broadcast Vendor Brands | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 23 2009

This is the second in a series of posts that discusses how a global sample of more than 325 systems integrators (SIs) who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS)* ranked broadcast technology vendors in a variety of measures. For information about how these results were collected, please see the bottom of this post**.

In an era when many broadcasters are shedding technology positions, SIs have become an extremely important part of the technology value chain.  Broadcasters now routinely outsource their project work to SIs, who are called in for their expertise and experience.  Thus the relationship that vendors have with their SI partners is very important to their business. 

Last week I posted an article about how How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Innovation, and today I am going to look at how this influential group ranked vendors for quality.

Quality is an important ranking, and I have looked previously at quality ranking of broadcast technology vendors, including how broadcasters of different sizes rank vendors for quality.

The chart below shows the responses from more than 325 SIs.  It is broken out by geography to show the responses of the global sample of SIs as well as the responses of SIs in EMEA and the Americas.  Due to a small sample size, SI rankings for Asia-Pacific have not been included.  For the sake of comparison, I have also included in this chart the rankings of all respondents (regardless for organization type, geography etc), and all broadcasters (regardless of size or geography), in the first and second columns respectively.

 

Please note that in all cases, these brands are shown in alphabetical order, NOT in the order of their ranking in the study

 

Question: How would you rate [Brand X] on the following attribute [Quality] where 1 = very poor and 10 = best in the market?

 

 

Quality -- by Systems Integrators

 Some thoughts and observations about these findings:

 

* There are 10 vendors in this chart, making this metric slightly more varied than innovation, where there were 9 vendors. 

 

* As with how SIs ranked vendors for innovation, only Snell & Wilcox and Sony appear in all five categories, meaning that these vendors made the top 5 quality list for all respondents, all broadcasters and all SIs.

 

* Other vendors (in alphabetical order) making an appearance in this chart are: Axon (1), Evertz (2), EVS (3), Harris (2), Miranda (1), Sundance (1), Thomson / Grass Valley (2)

 

* It’s interesting to note that the five vendors in the top 5 quality ranking of the global sample of all respondents is identical to the sample of all respondents (regardless of company type or location)  is identical, but the view of the SIs is different than broadcasters. 

 

* There are a total of 8 vendors in the three categories of SI rankings in the above table, 5 of which do not appear in the top 5 quality rankings of the global sample or broadcasters.

 

 * Harris and Thomson / Grass Valley appear in the top 5 quality rankings for the global sample of all respondents and for all broadcasters globally.  However neither company made the top 5 list for any of the systems integrator categories.

 

* Conversely, Evertz, Omneon, Sundance, Axon and Miranda make the top 5 quality list for at least one of the SI categories, but do appear in the top 5 quality lists for the global sample or the sample of all broadcasters.

 

* Like almost all other metrics that I’ve studied, there are also some interesting geographic variations in these results.

 

* Netherlands-based Axon appears once in this chart, in the EMEA SI list. 

 

* Like Axon, Miranda makes one appearance in this chart – in the Americas SIs list. 

 

* Evertz appears on 2 of the 3 SI lists – All SIs and Americas SIs – but the company does make the top 5 quality list for the global sample of all respondents or for the sample of all broadcasters.

 

* EVS appears three times in the above chart – in the global list of all respondents, all broadcasters and SI list in EMEA.

 

* Sundance makes one appearance in this chart – in the top 5 quality list for SIs globally.  Interestingly, this is the second time that a pure-play automation vendor made the list for SIs but not other categories. Pebble Beach appeared twice on the list of how SIs rank broadcast technology vendors for innovation

 

 

 

* The annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) is the largest and most comprehensive studies of broadcast technology vendor brands and industry trends.  The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by practitioners across the world.  It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type.

 

** Respondents to the BBS were asked to rank their opinion of twenty-five broadcast technology vendor brands in a variety of categories including awareness; overall opinion; change of opinion; recommendation; and a variety of brand attributes and brand drivers such as innovation, reliability, quality and great customer service.  The responses were then aggregated into a series of industry “league tables” that rank each broadcast technology vendor brand against the metrics mentioned above.

How Systems Integrators Rank Broadcast Technology Vendors for Innovation

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast Vendor Brand Research, Top Broadcast Vendor Brands | Posted by Joe Zaller
Nov 17 2009

This is the first in a series of posts looking at how a global sample of more than 325 systems integrators (SIs) who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS)* ranked broadcast technology vendors in a variety of measures. For information about how these results were collected, please see the bottom of this post**.

The product side of the film & broadcast industry is driven by technology and innovation.  All vendors strive to create techniques that will make their products stand out from the competition.  Thus innovation is a very important component of the brand image and reputation of vendors in this space.

In previous posts, I have looked how the global sample of BBS respondents ranked broadcast technology vendors for innovation.  I have also looked at how broadcasters of different sizes rank vendors for innovation.

This post looks at the opinions of a different, but very influential type of broadcast technology buyer – systems integrators (SIs).  In an era when many broadcasters are shedding technology positions, SIs have become an extremely important part of the technology value chain.  Broadcasters now routinely outsource their project work to SIs, who are called in for their expertise and experience.  Thus the relationship that vendors have with their SI partners is very important to their business.

So how do systems integrators rank broadcast technology vendors for innovation?

The chart below shows the responses from more than 325 SIs.  It is broken out by geography to show the responses of the global sample of SIs as well as the responses of SIs in EMEA and the Americas.  Due to a small sample size, SI rankings for Asia-Pacific have not been included.  For the sake of comparison, I have also included in this chart the rankings of all respondents (regardless for organization type, geography etc), and all broadcasters (regardless of size or geography), in the first and second columns respectively.

 

Please note that in all cases, these brands are shown in alphabetical order, NOT in the order of their ranking in the study

 

Question: How would you rate [Brand X] on the following attribute [Innovation] where 1 = very poor and 10 = best in the market?

  Innovation -- by Systems Integrators

 

 Some thoughts and observations about these findings:

* There are total of nine vendors in this chart.  Of those nine, only Snell & Wilcox and Sony appear in all columns, meaning that these vendors made the top 5 innovation list for all respondents, all broadcasters and all SIs.

 

* Other vendors (in alphabetical order) making an appearance in this chart are: Evertz (3), EVS (2), Harris (1), Miranda (4), Omenon (2), Pebble Beach (2) and Thomson / Grass Valley (1)

 

* Although some of the brands that broadcasters ranked in the top 5 for innovation also appeared in the top 5 innovation list for SIs, there are some brands that appear in the top 5 rankings of one group but not the other

 

* EVS makes the top 5 innovation list for the global sample of all respondents as well as for all broadcasters globally.  However, the company is absent from all categories in the top 5 innovation ranking of SIs

 

* The reverse is true for Omneon and Pebble Beach.  Neither company make the top 5 innovation list for the global sample or the broadcaster sample. However, both companies do make the top 5 innovation list for systems integrators globally and in EMEA.

 

* Miranda did not make the top 5 innovation list for the global sample of all respondents, but the company appears in the top 5 innovation list for all broadcasters and SIs globally and regionally.  Overall, Miranda is listed four times in this chart, appearing in the top 5 innovation list for all categories except the global sample of all respondents.

 

* Thomson / Grass Valley is the opposite of Miranda.  The company makes the top 5 innovation list for the global sample of all respondents, but does not appear in the top 5 innovation list of either broadcasters or SIs.

 

* Like Thomson / Grass Valley, Harris appears once in the chart.  The company makes the top 5 innovation ranking for SIs in the Americas, but not for any other category.

 

* Evertz appears in the top 5 innovation list for the global sample, and the sample of all broadcasters.  While Evertz does not make the top 5 innovation list for all systems integrators, it is included in the top 5 innovation list for SIs in the Americas.

 

* In addition to differences in rankings between broadcasters and SIs, there are also some regional variations in the SI rankings. 

 

* As mentioned above, the single appearance of Harris is in the list of SIs in the Americas

 

* Evertz also has a strong showing in the Americas.  It appears in the top 5 innovation ranking for SIs in the Americas, but not for those in EMEA.  Evertz is also absent from the top 5 innovation list of the global sample of SIs. 

 

* Pebble Beach, which appears twice in this chart, appears in the top 5 innovation list for SIs in EMEA and also for SIs globally, but the company does not appear on the top 5 innovation list for SIs in the Americas.

 

  

 

* The annual Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) is the largest and most comprehensive studies of broadcast technology vendor brands and industry trends.  The BBS provides insight into market trends and the perceptions of leading broadcast industry vendor brands by practitioners across the world.  It also delivers vendor brand ranking “league tables” in a variety of product categories; all of which can be segmented by geography and customer type.

 

** Respondents to the BBS were asked to rank their opinion of twenty-five broadcast technology vendor brands in a variety of categories including awareness; overall opinion; change of opinion; recommendation; and a variety of brand attributes and brand drivers such as innovation, reliability, quality and great customer service.  The responses were then aggregated into a series of industry “league tables” that rank each broadcast technology vendor brand against the metrics mentioned above.

Let the broadcaster beware…. Business interests of broadcasters not always aligned with those of vendors

market research, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 14 2009

I have written several times about technology trends in the broadcast industry, including a look at how trends vary by geographic region, and what technology trends are most important to broadcasters.   Having done this, I decided to look more deeply at the trends that are the most important to broadcasters, and then compare this to others in the supply chain. What I found is that there are important differences between the business interests of technology suppliers (vendors and SIs) and technology buyers (broadcasters).

To get this data, I presented the nearly 5,000 people who responded to the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS) with a list of 15 industry trends and asked to choose three trends from the list (ranking them 1-3) that they feel will have the most significant impact on the way they do business over the next 2-3 years. Because this question is about what’s important to the business of the respondents, it reveals much about their motivations. 

The results, which are summarized in the chart below, show that the commercial motivations of those supplying technology (vendors and systems integrators) are not always aligned with technology buyers (broadcasters).

 Question: Please rank in order (1-3) which of the following technology trends are most important to your business, with 1 being most important

Trends -- Broadcasters vs Vendors & SIs

 

Here’s a quick round-up of the differences between what’s important to technology buyers versus technology suppliers:

More Important to Technology Buyers (Broadcasters):

  • Transition to HDTV operations
  • Transition to tapeless workflows
  • Automated workflows
  • File-based workflows
  • Multiplatform delivery

 

More Important to Technology Suppliers (Vendors and Sis):

  • IP content delivery
  • Advanced encoding techniques (e.g. h.264)
  • Video on Demand
  • Transition to 3Gbps operations (1080p)
  • On-line advertising
  • 3D TV
  • Set-top box PVR/DVR
  • 4K production
  • Network DVR
  • 2K production

 

Looking at this, it seems to me that:

  • the trends that are most important to broadcasters are about finishing what they started and making it work in practice (transition to HD), becoming more efficient (tapeless, file-based, automated workflows) and increasing revenues (multi-platform content delivery)
  • the trends that are most important to technology suppliers are about new technology

 

Let’s look at this in another way… The table below depicts this, expressed as the difference between the average for each respondent group and the overall global average.  As you can see there are some major differences between broadcasters and their suppliers, particularly when it comes to transition to HDTV, tapeless workflows, automated workflows and the transition to 3Gbps:

Trend Variation -- between broadcastes and vendors

Broadcasters believe that refining workflows and gaining efficiencies, particularly through digital file management, is very important to their business, whereas vendors and systems integrators place more importance on next generation technologies such as 3Gbps operations.  Similarly broadcasters do not currently view IP content delivery as a stand out issue, whereas vendors and systems integrators believe this is to be the second most important trend influencing their business.

These findings are in-line with what Roger Crumpton of the IABM said at their market workshop recently — i.e. that broadcasters in today’s climate are focusing on completing existing projects (e.g. HDTV transition) and increasingly risk averse when it comes to new technology unless it can make them more efficient in some way (e.g. automated workflows).

So what does all this mean?   If a technology suppliers can more fully understand what’s most important to their customers they will have a better change of success, but only if they listen to what their customer is telling them and adjust their sales approach accordingly.

Do broadcast technology buyers prefer to purchase from a single supplier or from “best-of-breed”?

Broadcast technology channel strategy, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 07 2009

Vendor consolidation in the broadcast technology market is on the rise.  The reasons often quoted for these deals include increased scale, greater operational efficiencies, broader market reach, better use of existing sales infrastructure, and of course the opportunity to sell integrated solutions. 

This all makes sound business sense, particularly the ability to sell complete solutions — after all if a vendor can reach “critical mass” it may be able to capture more, or even all, of large contracts. 

Buying from a “one-stop-shop” makes sense for the customer too.  It’s easier to deal with a single vendor;  and if there’s a problem with a system the customer has one number to call and has better assurance that there will be no finger pointing between multiple vendors.

In the interest of finding out whether this seemingly sensible proposition is widely accepted by technology buyers,  I asked almost 4,000 people who participated in the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey the following question:

When purchasing broadcast technology products, do you prefer to buy from a single “one-stop-shop” or select “best-of-breed” solutions from multiple vendors?

  • Where possible from a single supplier
  • Evaluate individual suppliers and select best of breed
  • Don’t know

 

The responses to this question are summarized in the chart below.  It appears that despite the clear benefits of  buying from a single vendor, the majority of broadcast technology buyers prefer to evaluate and purchase “best-of-breed” solutions from multiple vendors.

Best of breed preferred purchase method

The responses to this question were consistent across geographies, with the responses from all regions more or less mirroring the global response show in the chart above.

Interestingly, government and educational buyers exhibited the strongest preference to purchase from a single supplier.  This appears to conflict with the answer these same buyers gave to a different question that I wrote about in a previous post, when they said they prefer to buy from dealers.  However, it’s likely that these buyers consider dealers and systems integrators to be single suppliers.  If this is the case, it highlight the importance to vendors of developing and maintaining strong relationships with third-party players in the distribution channel.

 

How do broadcast technology buyers typically purchase — direct from vendors, through an SI or a dealer?

Broadcast technology channel strategy, market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 06 2009

It’s a big world and in a global industry like broadcast technology hardware and software, even the largest vendors must rely on a mix of direct and indirect sales channels.  

As part of the 2009 Big Broadcast Survey, I asked technology purchasers how they typically buy broadcast technology hardware and software — direct from a vendor, or through a third-party channel like a systems integrator (SI) or dealer. 

The results are interesting because they highlight that there are some times when it makes more sense for vendors to use a channel than go direct.  They also show that there are some types of buyers who are more used to buying through the channel versus direct.

It turns out that overall, about 2/3 of customers purchase through a third-party supplier (dealer or SI), with the rest buying directly from the vendor.

However, when you break the results down by the type of customer (as I have done in the chart below),  you quickly see that there are differences between the typical purchasing habits of various customer types, and this information has important implications for vendors.

Question: How do you typically purchase broadcast technology products?

how_do_you_typically_purchase

Out of six different customer types, only “cable/satellite/IPTV operators” (companies like DirectTV, Sky, Comcast etc) and  “cable programmers” (companies like Discovery and HBO) typically buy more than 50% directly from vendors.  Perhaps this is because there are not that many of these customers, and they tend to be large. 

These customers also appear to rely heavily on systems integrators to plan and impliment their projects.   Many of these projects are large end up being “all or nothing” for vendors, so they are clearly paying special attention to these customers, and fighting for the business.

At the other end of the spectrum, customers in post production, government and education typically buy through  a dealer.  There are probably a variety of reasons for this:

  • In post production there are specialized local dealers who have both in-depth knowledge of the market and deep relationships with this (relatively small) customer base.  For many vendors, it makes sense to sell through these dealers rather than pay for a dedicated sales effort.  The downside of this is that it concentrates the power with dealers since they “own” the relationship with the customer base, increasing the risk of substitution.
  • Government is another category that requires strong relationships, and in some cases specialist credentials such security clearance and/or extensive operational experience.  Selling to the government (at least at the national level) can be lucrative for vendors, but it can also take major effort to break into this market.  At the local government level (e.g. every town hall in a country), the market is enormous but very disparate, and therefore often left to local resellers. In aggregate this is a large market, but most vendors are not geared up to go after it direct.
  • Education is arguably the largest market of all — after all there are many more schools than broadcasters and/or town halls — and yet only 20% of these customers typically buy broadcast technology hardware and software direct from vendors.  it’s likely that because of the size, not to mention huge diversity, of this customer base that a specialist dealer with deep relationships at the local level will always be best positioned to win this business.

 

This leave “broadcasters / TV station” customers in the middle of the pack.  There are likely a variety of reasons for this.  For example, this is broad category that encompasses state / national broadcasters as well as local players.  Vendors with limited resources (e.g. just about all of them) who are after large sales will tend to concentrate their efforts on the biggest part of the market (in value terms) and leave the rest to dealers.  Also there are certain regions (like parts of Asia and South America) where the most efficient way to sell (even to the largest broadcasters) is through third party distribution.

I should point out that this question does not ask about the value of product purchased from each category, but if I did I think that it would further highlight the important role of systems integrators and consultants.    As customers look to cut cost they often eliminate technical staff positions, effectively outsourcing their technical design and installation to third party consultants — systems integrators in particular.  SIs were found to play a strong role in all categories — and particularly in those which tend to have large, complex projects.  After all, if a broadcaster is buying a replacement part for an existing system it’s easy to go to a dealer; but if they are building a disaster recovery facility as part of a major strategic initiative, they are likely to go with an SI.

These finding highlight that it’s important for suppliers to tailor their approach to different markets and customer types.  It also demonstrates that the third-party distribution channels are a crucial part of their business, because they account for a significant portion of the market access that all vendors need to survive and thrive.

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