MediaTech Spotlight: NAB Show 2024 Preview

MediaTech Spotlight: NAB Show 2024 Preview


Thought leadership articles by IABM and our members
Articles taken from IABM's journal and at show papers
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MediaTech Radar is a monthly newsletter put together by IABM’s Head of Knowledge Lorenzo Zanni. It focuses on a spotlight topic in MediaTech and reflects on a series of past, present, and future business developments in the industry. In this edition, our spotlight topic is NAB Show 2024 Preview.

MediaTech Spotlight: NAB Show 2024 Preview

A spotlight topic in MediaTech.

  • NAB Show will take place next month (I’ll be there; get in touch if you want to book a meeting with me) which gives me a great opportunity to explore what I think will be the hot topics (and questions) at the show – I have shared 10 below:
  • Profitability: The sector’s profitability has been under pressure between 2023 and 2024 due to the toll exerted by the move to streaming business models. Several media companies have been managing costs by reducing staff to improve their profits (see some examples below the Watchlist), and this will surely affect conversations at the show.
  • Consolidation: I talked about this topic at length in my last newsletter. It is top of mind for everyone in the media industry as the sector struggles with the transition to streaming business models. Recent deals at the end of 2023 and in Q1 2024 have signaled increasing M&A activity. No doubt this will be talked about at the show.
  • Efficiency: The need for consolidation stems from a financial struggle with streaming. This struggle is also leading media companies to adopt technology that can make their operations more efficient. The search for efficiency will therefore continue from last year’s show, and many industry solutions will be focusing on it.
  • Gen AI: Gen AI will continue to be a hot technology topic at this year’s show, particularly as media businesses strive to become more efficient. As I said in a newsletter at the end of last year, I do not expect AI to rapidly disrupt our industry just yet but rather to bring gradual (and surgical) change to (predominantly repetitive) media workflows, at least for now.
  • Cloud: IABM research has shown that, in 2023, cloud investment decreased and then recovered on the back of AI spending. How will cloud investment in media fare this year? AI will continue to be a spending driver though some media companies may also continue to question the viability of cloud economic models in some areas of the industry.
  • Democratization: We have seen that MediaTech is becoming more usable and accessible to appeal to markets other than broadcast and media. I will continue to look for signs of this on the show floor: everything ranging from slicker UIs to features borrowed from other sectors and, perhaps, more individual content creators attending the exhibition.
  • Live Streaming: In my last newsletter, I mentioned that Disney, WBD and Fox joined forces to launch a joint streaming service and that Netflix agreed a $5bn deal with WWE to stream its wrestling shows for a decade. These are two major deals (and not the only ones in this area) which will probably put a spotlight on live streaming technology at the show.
  • Interactivity: The other interesting deal (mentioned in more detail below) that happened recently is Disney’s investment in Epic Games. In fact, media companies engaging with consumers in less conventional ways such as games, and, more generally, with more interactive experiences, is something we might see more of at the show.
  • FAST: FAST was already a big topic at last year’s show and at IBC. Since then, the number of FAST deployments has been rapidly rising. With over 1,500 FAST channels operating in the US as of January, the topic of monetization in a highly competitive environment may particularly be under the spotlight at this year’s show.
  • Resilience: There is a plethora of trends requiring MediaTech companies to be resilient. Supply chain disruption, talent shortages, security, sustainability, and geopolitical uncertainty are among these, and they are all becoming more important in the sector. Expect them to be integral parts of discussions at the show as well.
  • We will be talking about all these topics and other industry challenges at our State of the Industry Briefing in Vegas.

MediaTech Watchlist: Disney/Epic, Sky, ISE 2024, and more…

A watchlist of selected past, present and future business developments in MediaTech.

  • Disney invested $1.5bn in Epic Games in February. This is a big sum that will allow the company to collaborate with Epic on new games that will enable users to engage with franchises such as Star Wars in a different fashion. This is another sign of convergence between broadcast and gaming. We have reported that this trend slowed down significantly last year due to macro pressures, though we have always said that changing consumer viewing habits will sooner or later require media companies to offer more interactive experiences to their customers.
  • To recap on Disney’s history with interactive entertainment: the company first hired a gaming executive from Apple to lead its newly founded next-gen division focused on the Metaverse and started developing a betting app proposition post-pandemic. However, that next-gen division was axed in March 2023, presumably due to cost-cutting – the company continued its investment in betting with a $2bn investment in the ESPN BET initiative in August 2023. Having retreated from the Metaverse, Disney may now be focusing on combining gaming with its loved franchises and blending betting with sports streaming.
  • In our last newsletter, we talked about layoffs in the technology industry. At the start of February, Sky announced that it would cut 1,000 jobs due to a long-anticipated switch from satellite to digital. As reported by the IBC365 article citing this news, a spokesperson for Sky said: “Increasingly, customers are choosing Sky Glass and Sky Stream which don’t require specialist installation, and that has led us to change the number of roles we need to deliver our services.” This is yet another sign of the decline of satellite as a distribution medium.
  • I attended ISE 2024 between January and February. The show was buzzing – it attracted about 74K unique attendees. At the show, I chaired a panel of MediaTech suppliers focused on the convergence between broadcast and pro-AV – the session was part of ISE’s conference stream on Content Production & Distribution. The panel’s consensus was that non-media organizations are increasingly investing in content, and particularly video content, to engage with consumers and tell a story about their brand. Interestingly, it was also evident that MediaTech suppliers are sometimes struggling to reach the right audience at non-media organizations – the key decision-makers purchasing MediaTech.
  • Total spending on film and high-end television production in the UK in 2023 fell by 32% compared to 2022, largely due to the strikes in Hollywood, as reported by BFI.
  • Nikon acquired RED at the start of March, with Nikon aiming to expand into the cinema market with this acquisition.
  • Paramount also announced layoffs in February with CEO Bob Bakish saying that the company’s priority is profitability and stating: “We’ll get there by growing our revenue while closely managing costs.”

Thank you for reading this newsletter. If there are topics you would like me to cover or have information/ideas you’d like to share, please get in touch with us.

Lorenzo Zanni

Head of Knowledge