What did you miss at IBC 2018?

The $50 billion dollar business...

At IBC 2018 we found out that the Broadcast and Media industry is now worth $50 billion according to the latest research from the IABM (International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers).  The old guard video hardware and software vendors who have underpinned the show for decades were still present at IBC, but continue to tilt product development towards an an industry increasingly dominated by IP based distribution and production. As traditional broadcast technology and linear TV continues to fragment, it seems inevitable that the video industry will be increasingly disrupted by tech companies that weren't always interested in the media and entertainment business…

BAT vs FAANG – Fight!

In particular, two teams with deep pockets are fighting for digital dominance – China’s BAT made up of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are taking on FAANG - an international team including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. FAANG would love access to China’s 1.4 billion population, but protectionist regulation has made that difficult. Meanwhile BAT look set to encroach on FAANG's territory in the west. While not openly fighting in the aisles at IBC (Marvel need to get their creatives to work on this), these tech giants are set to compete for market share across the media and entertainment industry – across all aspects of IP digital production, network distribution and content creation.

IP Standards

IBC 2018 was the moment when the standards for IP distribution and interoperability were finally accepted. SMPTE announced the approval of SMPTE 2110 - the standards suite for carrying content over internet protocol (IP). SMPTE 2110 will help broadcast engineers develop an entirely new set of applications and workflows that leverage information technology protocols and infrastructure.

While this may not sound like a big deal, it marks the end of years of uncertainty within the industry with several competing proprietary solutions all attempting to dominate.

Combined with the NMOS (Networked Media Open Specification) from AMWA (Advanced Media Workflow Association), which helps identify devices, connections and resources on a network, it means that IP broadcasting industry has never looked so well organised - and will no doubt encourage more innovation and collaboration.

And If that doesn’t mean anything to you – it just means everyone just agreed on the most efficient, vendor agnostic way to produce more content and bring even more great entertainment to your internet enabled TV and connected devices.

New Codecs on the Horizon

While standards in IP distribution and workflow may not butter your bitrate, the announcement of a new range of codecs designed to provide better quality pictures over IP with much lower file size overheads will surely excite any one who has experienced poor picture quality on connected devices - while on the move, or when the available bandwidth at home is compromised.

AV1, VVC and XVC are poised to take over from a market currently dominated by the 15-year-old AVC/H.264 codec – a format which has remained ubiquitous due to its easy licensing terms and widespread decoder support. The new generation of codecs promise better performance, or royalty free usage, or both - but have yet to gain full adoption – watch this space to see who wins the next codec war.

The Imagen IBC survey

While IBC gives us a chance to keep up to date with the broadcast and media industry, it’s also great way to spend time with existing customers and welcome new visitors to our stand. We like to hear about your day to day challenges, and talk about how Imagen can help you manage, market and distribute your media content more effectively.

We know you're busy so we just ask one simple question when you visit our stand. This year we asked What are you looking for in a video management system?

This is what was important to you:

Ease of access was the clear winner, then scalability, then a joint third place shared between the ability to brand, security and sharing via social media.

We find these results fascinating - suggesting that content owners clearly recognise the fact that there is no point storing content if there is no easy way to retrieve it. Also, if your audiences (B2B or B2C) are going to consume your content, they might as well engage with your brand while they do it. Sharing content through social media will also enable your media to be enjoyed by the widest possible audience across multiple platforms - again good for brand.

The importance of scalability in second place also recognises the need to plan for extra capacity as more and more content is set to be generated.

This information will help shape our roadmap and plan our product development - we are always keen to hear your ideas about how we can more effectively manage and distribute your video and make life easier for media managers. Thank you for taking the time to take part in our survey and please get in touch if you want to tell us more.

That's a wrap for this year's IBC. As Autumn kicks in, put on a jumper, throw a log on the fire and marvel at the delights on your screens - brought to you by the hardworking folks in the media and entertainment industry. See you next time!

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