Accelerating transformation: The business trends shaping the broadcasting industry

January 28, 2021 by Malik Khan, Executive Chairman, Co-Founder
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2020 brought many challenges and changes to the media and broadcasting industry. Remote production replaced on-site production to enable the return of entertainment and sports events during the pandemic. Broadcasters and production companies benefited from cloud-driven opex economic models in a critical time for the industry.

Although COVID-19 accelerated remote production, this shift was already well underway. The economics of remote production are compelling, and the improved latency and reliability of high-bandwidth IP contribution of live camera feeds have made remote production workflows comparable to on-site production. Finally, the ability to use the best technical talent and high-availability production technology on a centralized basis creates consistently excellent production quality.

Beyond the pandemic-driven disruption, industry developments in the US, such as the FCC’s decision to reserve 20% and then 60% of C-band satellite capacity for 5G deployment, changed the market dynamics. Media organizations relying on satellite for full-time or occasional use transmission are now looking at IP-based terrestrial distribution for their primary or secondary path as satellite providers squeeze them into highly compressed feeds.

While the FCC auction of C-band capacity has accelerated the trend toward terrestrial IP distribution, this shift was already inevitable. Growth in digital outlet audiences, increasing demand for content versioning specific to each outlet, and massive interest in the higher CPM rates for addressable advertising have all fueled the need for a more flexible IP alternative to satellite’s one-size-fits-all model.

As with any change of this magnitude, some industry players may initially resist these trends.

The ability to use the best technical talent and high-availability production technology on a centralized basis creates consistently excellent production quality.

Inertia can hobble industry success

Change is difficult, especially when imposed by unforeseen circumstances. Broadcasting businesses, particularly long-established ones, develop skills, processes, and even culture that can be slow to embrace transformation.

Corporate silos have exacerbated inertia in the broadcasting industry. Business and finance functions are often disconnected from technology-focused professionals, making it difficult for them to work together to implement innovation.

2020 demonstrated transformation is the only way for media companies to survive and thrive. Over the next 12 months, we expect to see new business trends that will enable the industry to benefit from technological innovation and future-proofing, and create the right market dynamics for profitability.

2020 demonstrated transformation is the only way for media companies to survive and thrive.

The broadcasting industry will embrace technology and business model change

In a previous blog, we discussed the key technology trends that will shape the broadcasting industry in 2021:

  • Remote production workflows
  • Addressable advertising
  • Cloud-based content exchange and distribution models
  • The shift from satellite to IP distribution

Having benefited from the flexibility and economics of remote production and IP distribution in the past year, the industry will increasingly overcome inertia and become more open to long-term change. Although industry players have realized that the shift to IP and cloud-based architectures is necessary, we can’t expect a full transition in the short term. There will be an adaptation period that will see the adoption of new business models and technologies accompanied by industry restructuring.

Having benefited from the flexibility and economics of remote production and IP distribution in the past year, the industry will increasingly overcome inertia and become more open to long-term change.


Strategic technology partnerships will enable prudent transformation

Technological innovation requires new infrastructure, especially when companies are looking to transition from capex to opex models during a period of technology disruption. By partnering with experienced technology vendors, media companies can make this transition at a sustainable pace for their business. Managed services protect media organizations from technological obsolescence and remove the need for large financial investment, especially in an uncertain economic environment.

Building stronger partnerships with technology vendors with an established track record of providing reliable, innovative solutions can be an important catalyst for change for media companies. These relationships allow customers and technology partners to work together to create roadmaps for transformation that enable businesses to build agility, tap into new revenue streams, and prepare for future challenges.

Managed services protect media organizations from technological obsolescence and remove the need for large financial investment, especially in an uncertain economic environment.

Success in 2021 will require future-proofing

Although the world is starting to see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel, uncertainty will continue in 2021. Moving forward, future-proofing will be high on the business agenda. Businesses will make sure they build the mission-critical capabilities and flexibility to pivot quickly in the face of new circumstances.

In 2021, we shouldn’t simply bounce back but bounce forward.

Defining the future together

Over the last year, the media and broadcasting industry has been tested and proven resilient. Media organizations rose to new challenges and deployed new cloud and IP-driven technologies to deliver excellent viewing experiences to their audiences. Business leaders demonstrated their ability to adapt and help their organizations ride the storm.

This is the time to build on the momentum toward business and technology transformation. In 2021, we shouldn’t simply bounce back but bounce forward.


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