Empowering customers to make more financially efficient decisions is fundamental, as the economic headwinds are all too evident.
Now that the dust has settled at IBC2022, we’re reflecting on what a fantastic event it was. The highlights were reconnecting with colleagues, speaking with our customers face-to-face and meeting new friends.
The changing nature of the M&E market was discussed extensively at IBC2022. But acknowledging the constant is also important, especially as multi-platform delivery is the game we’re all in. At Red Bee several years ago, we placed a huge bet that we should replace our traditional bespoke customer platforms with an IP-based software-powered stack that would enable multi-platform delivery for our customers for years to come. That bet has undoubtedly been a difficult transition to pull off. But today, as major broadcasters migrate successfully to next-generation product sets, it feels like a solid place to be.
As our customers make these technology stack transitions, having an appropriately skilled team is fundamental to ensure services continue to run. But being apart the last few years due to the pandemic has only amplified the market’s pre-existing skill and resource gaps. As an industry, we haven’t done enough to address the lack of diversity that’s so evident on the show floor, including helping to upskill young and hungry engineering and operational talent.
Simultaneously, the breadth of technical and operational skills has widened beyond all recognition. Shared resources are one powerful answer to this significant problem. The service provider model is built on a one-for-many concept by its very nature, meaning our customers can focus their time, energy and resources on business-impactful tasks such as hiring, recruitment and R&D projects, innovating at the edge, not recreating the generic core.
Freeing up teams from commodity-centric tasks also opens the door for our customers to focus on experimenting and exploring new business models. The FAST conference on Thursday during IBC highlighted the critical factors fostering growth:
- Smart TV predominance
- The volume of free premium content
- The shift of advertising toward digital and addressable
The motives for innovating in this space vary. Still, FAST is establishing itself as the fourth major business pillar for our industry, alongside classic broadcast, D2C and rights syndication. Broadcasters and content owners talk about the need to ‘ride the clutch’ in terms of how hard it is to accelerate for the new while retaining traditional revenue lines. It’s not about pursuing one business model in isolation, but the ability to work the different routes to audience and revenue in a smart and agile way.
Riding the economic waves
Empowering customers to make more financially efficient decisions is fundamental, as the economic headwinds are all too evident. During the Devoncroft summit, a graphic showed order books at a seemingly glorious growth curve of 9% up, but mirrored by a crushing reality that operating costs are growing at 12-15%. This position is exacerbated by the financial realities of investment in D2C, labour shortages and supply-chain challenges. Part of the answer must be to focus on agility and a hard drive for business results and avoid the limitations of long-winded procurement cycles where possible. Partnering with a service provider for some heavyweight broadcast business needs in playout, distribution, access and media movement can significantly reduce headcount and CAPEX while offering lower operational costs over time.
Today’s media company leaders are focused on business goals and results – technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The actual things that light our audiences up become more apparent – narratives, drama, excitement, talent, art, music, goals, heroes, laughter, energy, beauty, danger, information, debate, surprise, love and all the rest. By taking care of some of the risk factors in bringing video to screen flawlessly, our customers can thrive in being the very best in what they do in attracting and keeping those audiences.