Opinion

Countdown to IBC2017

Microservices … metadata harvesting … blockchain … artificial intelligence … machine learning … these are the terms I have heard discussed more prominently in the last few months, and I believe they will come under the spotlight at IBC this year.

These terms are not just part of some distant future but part of ongoing implementations in the region by forward-thinking industry techies, who aim to keep their entertainment offerings ahead of the rest of the pack. Our cover story discusses one such regional launch from Starz Play this month, which uses some of these technologies to drive its OTT platform. In fact, Starz Play has created such a complex and rich next-gen platform that other broadcasters are apparently knocking on its doors to sub-license the platform.

That’s just one regional player. I hear another is investing heavily in AI, voice and image recognition to harvest metadata. Speaking of AI, I must urge you to read Karim Sarkis’ imaginative take on Bob, the builder of the future of TV.
While we make all these sweeping technical changes, one question begs to be heard on the commercial front as well. Are we ready for collaboration and consolidation? Are we ready for a MENA Hulu? Or do we feel threatened? We asked a number of senior executives in the industry if they would welcome a Hulu lookalike here.

I don’t know if we have all the answers just yet. Perhaps at IBC, we will have more clarity on some of these topics, as we sit among peers and share our experiences. I look forward to an interesting IBC this year. See you in Amsterdam!