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Special Report: Has our industry changed forever?

Create | Produce | Consume - Feature Article from Journal

Thu 08, 04 2021

We asked IABM member companies operating in the Create, Produce and Consume segments of the BaM Content Chain® about the effects the pandemic has had on their businesses and the industry over the last year and to take a look into their crystal balls for how the future will pan out. We received an unprecedented number and quality of responses from no less than 34 companies. While some common themes emerged – many correspondents felt that the pandemic largely accelerated trends that were already underway for example - it is inspiring to see the rich variety of positive reactions the pandemic induced and the changes it brought and opportunities it has created.

The questions we asked were:

  • Market change: Has the coronavirus pandemic fundamentally changed any/all/some of the drivers in the market?
  • Company change: How is this influencing the way your company operates and are there other factors driving change in the market?
  •  Long term effects: Do you see these changes as a long-term effect that will continue to inform your operations in 2021 and beyond?
  • What’s next?: What are the next developments you are working on and what problems will they solve?

Here’s what our members had to say.

Adobe

Michael Gamböck, Senior Strategic Development Manager, Creative Cloud Video

Market change

“We have seen a strong acceleration of digital transformation, instead of a few years, everything has now happened in weeks or months. Adobe is helping companies with this transformation, so of course the pandemic has also boosted our business. Adobe Creative Cloud as a solution and the associated cloud services are location agnostic. I can use my tools and my content anywhere in the world on any device.

Company change

“We closed our global offices very early and virtually went into the home office overnight with the entire workforce. This worked very well and we used the time to find solutions for how we will work in the future. In terms of our products and services, we launched Creative Cloud in 2012 and have had a strong focus on cloud ever since. This has naturally been accelerated by the increased demand.

“Adobe’s vision is to enable everyone to be creative. We call that ‘Creativity for All’. Storytelling, graphics, video editing, or any content production is no longer something reserved for the few. Telling a story is part of every profession. It's no wonder that creativity is the most sought-after soft skill in job postings (according to a LinkedIn report).

Long term effects

“It is now proven that content creation works just as well remotely from the living room as it does in the office/studio or broadcaster. People are great, we have adapted very quickly to the changed situation. I see a big trend after 2021, companies that allow their employees to be storytellers and encourage creativity in any form will be more successful than others. This was already evident before the pandemic and it has been accelerated now.

What’s next?

“Here I see the following areas: Cloud. It will become easier and easier to work independent of location. Cloud will be the first choice for most workflows and processes in the future. And here I don't just mean remote access to computers, but native cloud workflows that allow you to work collaboratively from anywhere. Another point will be that it will be easier and easier to create content. AI systems will help us to create great content, complex workflows and systems will become easier to use.”

Aveco

Pavel Potužák, CEO

Market Change

“I believe we will see more remote and more at home productions…from the homes of specific operators, such as graphics, replay, playout, etc. It would only make sense that the industry maintain the ‘new normal’ workflows that have worked successfully for them. Aveco is helping all our customers to achieve their immediate goals, launching entertainment channels for people at home, remote access to Aveco workflows, as well as remote installation of new Aveco systems.

Company change

“Most of us are working from home, while some of Aveco's staff continues to go into the office to ensure that operations and customer deliveries run smooth. All of our systems can be installed from a distance, as well as be operated remotely. Thanks to that, we are working at 100% — we are here 24/7 for all our customers.

Long term effects

“I think there are several factors that may not have been caused so much by the coronavirus, but that have been brought to the forefront: launching new niche channels; the ability to work from other locations; planning for equipment upgrades and expansions — both on-prem and in the cloud. But the factors driving those changes, pre-virus, were the ability to have more flexibility and to increase viewership/revenue. Those have become necessities as opposed to something that might be considered for the future.

“When economies pick up again, and the wave of postponed projects and new opportunities will come. They will certainly adapt to the lessons learned from viewership trends during the virus lockdowns and as restrictions have started lifting. And Aveco has already started to adapt to what we see as the new trends in the market. There will be more remote operations, for example, so our goal is to make that as flexible and efficient as possible for our clients that desire to keep and expand that workflow.

What’s next?

“As a policy, Aveco doesn’t talk about what we have in development. But what I can say is that developments derive from two sources: first, our customers’ desire to see if something is possible. Second, Aveco’s development team which considers what may be possible as well as useful. The media industry and the world it operates in drives the call for innovation. Aveco responds to that call.”

Azimuth Soft

Elena Kiseleva, Head of Marketing

Market change

“Buyers are looking for cost-effective solutions for remote workplaces and creator contribution, better ways to automate production and broadcasting operations performed by their reduced (and often overloaded) essential personnel. There’s also an unexpected growth in traditional TV news viewership in our markets, as the public is finding professionally-made news content more trustworthy than the often-controversial information distributed on social networks and messengers.

Company change

“Azimuth Soft is busy adapting to all these changing business needs and shifting technology trends, while maintaining the high level of technical support. We can be more flexible in pricing policy and adapting our solutions to customers’ needs. We’re proud to say we’ve kept 100% staff on 100% pay during the two lockdowns we’ve had. We have perfected our remote support procedures, but there are no fundamental changes in our day-to-day operations. Our product strategy has shifted to focus more on remote workplaces, journalist contribution and decentralized production solutions.

“The incidents with security failure of different companies brought new focus on the provision of security services. The acquisition of web-based and user-generated content has become more important for news operations, as to an extent this content has replaced live feeds and recorded footage previously brought in by the broadcasters’ own journalists.

Long term effects

“The travel restrictions are not going to be lifted soon and this has changed our marketing and sales strategies as well as product roadmaps. On the other hand, there’s an unexpected growth in traditional TV news viewership in our markets. This is especially true for regional broadcasters who again are playing an important role in the life of their communities. When the economy rebounds, we want to be on hand with new and efficient solutions to offer them.

What’s next?

“We’ve advanced our solutions and services to closely align with our customers’ strategies. Artificial Intelligence in MAM and news production is going to be big, because there’s practically no limit to how good the AI applications can become over time, both in saving man-hours and in giving the content creators new exciting choices. The enterprise media workflow solutions we’re offering to broadcasters will need to evolve to modern architectures, with microservices, containerization and all the user functionality available in a web browser anywhere in the world. We’ll continue adding new capabilities throughout 2021, strengthening and expanding the existing ones, adding new points of presence in the market.”

Broadcast Pix

Graham Sharp, CEO

Market change

“Clearly there is much more interest in remote productions at the professional level, but I think the bigger impact is the sheer volume of non-traditional organizations using video in their daily business – we termed the phrase from ‘Aquariums to Zoos and everything in between’ – and that is literally true: we are seeing enquiries and users from all areas of Business, Education, Government and Churches all trying to communicate with their constituents through Streaming Video.”

Company change

“It…is reshaping our thinking in terms of everything from product design and development, to communications and our own marketing. We became very used to operating in an environment where our customers were well known and could be easily marketed to and also well trained in the tools required for video production – now we are marketing to literally everyone and ease of use has become critically important.

“I think COVID accelerated the technology trends that were already occurring in our industry – the move to Video over IP, COTS infrastructure and the Cloud. Video over IP and all the associated technologies and techniques have enabled the widespread use of video streaming and the ability to produce remote productions – and the pace of adoption has left many traditional suppliers scrambling to keep up, particularly in the face of declining revenues from their traditional product lines.

Long term effects

“Without a doubt – what we are seeing now is the new norm:

  • The mass adoption of Video over IP
  • Numerous new and untrained operators
  • Mainly software functionality on COTS technology and in the Cloud
  • New, much lower price points in general

What’s next?

“We are very fortunate in that we already had a fully abstracted networked architecture, and this new environment reenforced a strategy we had embarked on just prior to COVID:

  • Make all our products very easy to install and use, so non-Broadcast trained operators can be up and running quickly
  • Demystify Networking
  • Support COTS platforms and the cloud
  • Provide the user with a choice of UI’s from configurable touch screens to supporting MIDI interfaces for hardware control

We embarked on this strategy at the end of 2019, not knowing what was about to happen and I think the events of 2020 have accelerated these requirements.”

BroadStream

Chuck Jones, CMO

Market change

“We saw a modest shift in business plans as some broadcasters decided to delay planned upgrades or new installations. Interest in cloud, virtual and streaming implementations increased. More consumers added streaming to their existing television viewing habits. However, we see a growing desire for local news, weather and sports that are typically done via linear TV. As a result, we’ve seen a growing trend to look for alternative ways to provide live subtitles using voice recognition and artificial intelligence to take on some of this work to supplement human subtitling and cut costs.

Company change

“We shifted quickly to more Remote Support, Commissioning and Training. A more significant change was our customers now needed to run their operations remotely. Fortunately, many of our systems’ interfaces were already equipped with this capability and others were implemented so our customers were able to continue operations without interruption. With our recent acquisition of Screen Subtitling Systems our Executive Team were making frequent trips to our offices in the UK to incorporate the new team into BroadStream’s procedures and policies and join departments together into single, dedicated Engineering, Operations, Sales and Development teams. This became more difficult as everything moved to virtual meetings but we were able to continue the process with everyone now on the same page.

Long term effects

“There is likely to be a mixed effect: when travel returns we will see customers face-to-face again, but probably not as frequently as most have adapted to virtual meetings as well as sales and support discussions. We found virtual trade shows to be much less effective and expect to gradually return to some level of participation in face-to-face events at some point, but we will likely take advantage of other means to reach current and new customers moving forward. I would also expect us to continue with some level of virtual commissioning and training.

What’s next?

With the acquisition of Screen Subtitling Systems a few years ago we are committed to keeping the Screen name and brand alive and independent. You will see an aggressive stance on new approaches to package, reposition and integrate these products to meet the changing needs and demands our customers have. In addition, we are heavily engaged in automating both live and file-based subtitling solutions. These solutions will provide cost savings and improved workflows for many customers. The core technology is vastly improved compared to 5-years ago and we will add improvements that make this new technology more valuable and easier to use.”

Cartoni 

Elisabetta Cartoni, CEO and President

Market change

“Yes the pandemic has changed the way we work at the factory, design, marketing, sales, administration (of course not the machining and assembly), it has changed the approach to the customer who you are not able to visit anymore, the way you present the product with new tools of webinars, videos, round tables via web.

Company change

“Many employees work remotely, the meetings are on-line; we perceive the need of a common platform to share the tasks and of a CRM to handle the customers. This has brought the need for new computer skills. Even service is now handled via remote with a webcam connection with Skype or Zoom.

Long term effects

“Yes, the changes will set a new way to work even when the personal displacement will be back to normal. The trade shows will still exist but on a smaller scale and with less expenses, the cloud computer systems will be more and more relevant. Even small companies will start looking at the big data. Distribution will accelerate the on-line purchase process in comparison to going to the shop.

What’s next?

“We are a camera support manufacturer so our product is very physical and the choice depends on the actual experience. We have noticed that we need to have a large demo stock to ship over to customers for real life trial. We have compensated this new expense with the savings on trade shows. When we will be back to normal I see the need of road shows more than exhibitions, it could team up companies with synergies to optimize the cost.

“During the pandemic we have designed new products as a line of supports for PTZ cameras, more and more popular in broadcasting and a UVC Disinfection cabinet called UVC BOXER to sanitize film and broadcast equipment with 99,99% effectiveness. Both lines have had a very positive market response.”

CGI

Michael Pfitzner, Vice President, Newsroom Solutions, and Michael Thielen, Vice President, Radio Solutions

Market change

“[The pandemic has] accelerated re-usage of content to feed more channels; intensified emphasize on planning to work economically; non-verbal communication and cooperation on the same topic/item/story from different locations (home-office) through planning platform.

Company change

“Focus on supporting remote work; revisit UI/UX aspects specifically for remote working; extend CGI offerings to AI & cloud consultation for a wider range of use cases.

“AI is picking up rapidly; presence on Social Media platforms is now normal. Broadcasters are testing different formats on different platforms, e.g. TikTok vs. YouTube vs. linear.

Long term effects

“Again AI, (categorisation of content, summary, speech2Text …). Remote work will snap back, but tools are now more evolved to allow remote work e.g. Working From Home.

What’s next?

“Beyond AI and cloud - preparing the distribution of news in different formats for different platforms while staying in control of the distribution. Evolution of Products from installable FAT Clients to lightweight Web Based Services which allow performing the workflows without the need of full blown installations on a PC.”

Cinegy

Daniella Weigner, Managing Director

Market change

“The broadcast market was already facing challenges from other sectors prior to the pandemic, so I see a more ‘adapt or die’ driver coming to the fore. This brings up opportunities to a different kind of content providers that might not otherwise have had a chance. The proliferation of streaming services and increased subscriptions to all services has risen so much, that one can’t help wondering if people are even watching TV anymore. Whilst this shift was predicted ages ago, the pandemic has certainly pushed the changes though at a faster pace than anyone could have foreseen.

Company change

“Cinegy has always worked on the premise that the broadcast market needs to be more IT orientated, and to adopt the principles and approaches we find there – open, flexible, commodity, IP, applications-led. The wonders of virtualisation have been something we have been vocal about for years. Cloud-based workflows, as we call them now, remote production and total client flexibility - these are all things you see now being promoted and embraced across the board.”

Long term effects

“We will not see a return to pre-January 2020 thinking or working habits. The remote working / working from home has become a bit of a trope but it is certainly here to stay. Presenteeism is in many cases frowned upon, if not actually illegal, and unless it is not possible to work offsite, then managerial thinking has been turned on its head. Work flexibility is now not just about staff work-life balance; it is an essential operational approach.

What’s next?

“Our approaches at Cinegy have always been well-suited to remote production and broadcast operations. What this means for us is that we have higher, and qualitatively better customer and partner engagement than we have seen pre-2020. We know that companies have been waiting for a commercial imperative to make a change, and we look forward to being able to make these strategic changes with our customers. We are focussing on our remote and virtualisation capabilities and how we can help our partners leverage these. Continual optimisation and continual optimism are required!”

Deltatre

Gilles Mas, President, Video Experiences

Market change

“In sport – in which Deltatre is heavily involved – prioritizing digital strategies and a true direct to consumer model is a trend which is accelerating. Sports organizations and federations have had to find alternative ways to interact with fans. With this of course, is the emergence and real advent of remote production techniques.

Company change

“We know our products and services have to help clients stand-out, engender a clear and powerful brand identity, reduce churn and ultimately, give the end-user what they really want. That means helping them find the content they want, with no fuss. It means clever, intuitive design. And it means allowing editorial staff and content curators to work with accessible and actionable data. In 2020, we launched mtribes, a SaaS platform that easily plugs into an existing sport technology stack and gives operators full insights into how their audience is interacting with a service, as well as the power to customise the features, design, and content shown to each user.

“In sport, the need to establish, maintain and solidify a relationship with fans is of paramount importance. The acceleration of the need to implement a digital-first strategy has underpinned the last year. But of course, this was happening in any case. We know that many within the younger generations are experiencing sports and entertainment in a different way, and relating to brands, leagues and federations in a different way too. How can you adapt your offering to best capture these users?

“It’s vital to differentiate yourself as a company, and we can’t underestimate the importance of highly engaging and sticky multi-platform player experiences for the fan. A video player which enables the user to catch-up instantly, find key moments and watch that while not missing a second of live action is key to this.

Long term effects

“Certainly, we believe the inflection point that been reached in terms of the move to streaming. As a result, we’re seeing more greenfield adopters starting a conversation with us; this is of course on top of the more mature adopters who continue to talk to us about their owned and operated solutions.

What’s next?

“We’ve brought to market a modular, end-to-end OTT solution that puts the fan first. What we want to provide is a highly flexible and scalable reference system architecture that takes away the technical complexity of building a full-service OTT solution, allowing a client to focus on creating great content and building strong fan relationships.

“We’ve made great strides in AI and automated recognition among other topics. In parallel we are pushing hard on enhancing further our offerings into gamification, fan engagement and D2C betting feature sets for our existing product lines.”

EVS

Benoit Quirijnen, Strategy & Partnerships

Market change

“The pandemic accelerated the transition towards distributed production. This has an impact on many different aspects including workflows, the need for compression, the overall experience for the crews with the need for evolutions of the tools, the higher appetite from OPEX model, communication between the crew members. For sports events or entertainment, interactions with fans also evolved with different mechanics to artificially create a mood of live event, with different levels of success. The acceleration of the need for distributed production has accelerated the planning of companies in their transition to IP, fostering new reflections in terms of infrastructure and management of shared resources.

Company change

“At EVS, we reprioritized some features and the support of distributed workflows. In April 2020, EVS introduced the Live Production Anywhere program enabling many customers to benefit from a distributed infrastructure for their live operation of EVS systems. We also launched LSM-VIA – the latest generation of replay and highlight experience – which has been designed for remote operation. As part of the distributed workflows, we also see an accelerated interest in the cloud. In 2021, we initiated the instantiation of new services and applications in the cloud.

“From a corporate perspective, this also changed the way the distributed teams work with each other, strengthening some links between teams located in different regions of the world. This also changed the way we can support our customers, present more comprehensive demos without moving the overall setup on the customer premises.

Long term effects

“The changes initiated by the pandemic were expected to happen anyway during this decade. The pandemic has been an accelerating factor for the changes. Distributed production will remain and keep growing, even if it could be a bit less distributed (typically not necessarily working from home). From a corporate perspective, home working will remain, even if certainly not full time. NAB, IBC and other events will of course happen and EVS will be very happy to participate to these events to meet our customers. But the objectives will probably change.

What’s next?

“We continue to further enhance EVS VIA, a central production and distribution platform enabling the management of resources, workflow and capabilities (including third party) for live operations. The VIA Platform is designed for distributed and cloud environment – to support more distributed workflows while keeping a nice and efficient experience for the operators. Thanks to acquisition of Axon in 2020, we also now better integrate Media Infrastructure elements in EVS end-to-end solutions.

“With Cerebrum as the overarching control system, we consolidate the VIA Platform with a strong asset to propose a centralized control of distributed production resources, including the control of cloud systems and resources. With Neuron, EVS offers a virtualization environment on a robust platform to support many use cases linked to audio and video conversions and compressions.
Cerebrum and Neuron come at the right point as key elements for end-to-end distributed workflows with no compromise on quality and latency.”

G&D

Jochen Bauer, Director Sales & Marketing, and member of the IABM DACH Council

Market change

“In 2020 pretty much everything changed and we all had to get used to a new normal. However, virtualization and cloud computing have been a fast-growing trend for years and have been further accelerated by the new situation. Many broadcast houses, TV stations, productions and post productions had to adjust to the new situation and therefore introduced alternative and innovative work processes and smart working. Structures and workflows have changed. Now, more than ever, team members are working from different locations to keep a safe distance.

“Many broadcast facilities already have IT infrastructures based on KVM systems, keeping users and servers physically separate. Producers access their remote computers via KVM technology and work in real time and at full performance even though their work equipment is located in a server room. The question now is how team members will be able to remotely access a KVM system and the underlying on-site computing landscape from home. The solution is RemoteAccess-GATE. This stand-alone device links a KVM system to a network, providing remote access to the IT infrastructure connected to the KVM system via LAN, WAN and the Internet.

Company change

“The pandemic forced companies to adapt to the situation extremely fast and with the required flexibility. This clearly accelerated the trend, and companies had to introduce innovative ways of working and alternative ways of communicating and interacting with customers. We, too, had to adapt quickly by having to find new ways of providing our customers with remote presentations and demonstrations. A time where all trade shows are cancelled and customer visits are not possible calls for new solutions. This is how we came up with the idea for G&D's ControlCenter-Xperience (CCX), a remote demo center of superlatives.

“The positive feedback and strong demand for remote demonstrations in our CCX shows us that we have hit the nerve of the time. Here, we are able to offer a platform for personal live consulting on a real control room application, independent of time and place.

Long term effects

“The trends towards virtualisation, hybrid infrastructures and remote access of systems existed long before the pandemic, but they were naturally intensified by it. We therefore see a long-term effect. KVM systems support this trend by enabling flexible and reliable infrastructures, thus creating user-friendly systems that are intuitive to operate and easily and flexibly scalable if required.

What’s next?

“Another trend we've seen for years is the continuous shift to more IP-based systems. IP structures are extremely flexible and provide high bandwidths to help teams collaborate, but also to take project management as a whole to a new level. Here, too, G&D operates in a hybrid world, offering a wide range of high-performance KVM-over-IP systems in addition to classic KVM.”

InSync Technology

Paola Hobson, Managing Director

Market change

“The pandemic has certainly accelerated changes which were already in progress such as transition to software-based workflows and remote production. An interesting change we are starting to see is a revival of customer concern for picture quality. As more people are spending time in front of their home TV screens, viewers are becoming more sensitive to picture quality, so high quality motion compensated standards conversion (frame rate conversion) is coming back up the list of requirements when broadcasters are looking for international distribution solutions.

Company change

“InSync Technology has been developing flexible solutions over several years, without compromising on quality. We now offer motion compensated standards conversion as SaaS services. A SaaS standards converter is accessible from any remote location, it can be easily mapped into a workflow using readily available media orchestration tools, and the user only pays for the conversion when they are using it.

“Beyond coronavirus, we see OTT services putting pressure on traditional broadcasters, with consequential impact on picture quality for the consumer due to a common myth about software players. There is an assumption that it's OK to send any frame rate to a software player since the software can decode any frame rate. However, this creates a far greater testing burden for service providers. Furthermore, while 59.94 and 50Hz content may be streamed to the player, support for clean switching between different frame rates is not supported by many technologies. Finally, achieving high quality motion portrayal requires a match between video frame rate and screen refresh rate.”

Long term effects

“Recent events will certainly have a long-lasting effect due to the depressed global economic situation, but there are strong signs of appetite to reinvigorate the market and regenerate excitement in the industry. For example, we recently saw CCTV launch an experimental 8K transmission service, sports events production has eagerly embraced new technologies for the new series of events now underway, and several broadcasters are now taking advantage of the production possibilities that HDR brings. We think that there's a lot of pent-up energy waiting to be released when the global situation starts to calm down.

What’s next?

“InSync Technology is continuing to develop new and advanced SaaS and on-premise solutions for international conversion requirements: frame rate conversion, format conversion (resolution up/down conversion) and HDR/WCG management. We're also continuing development of our 8K product range, as we are seeing more interest in 8K production around the world.  Furthermore, we're investing in development of new products supporting ST 2110 to support the need for entirely remote production chains, which we expect to remain a permanent customer requirement.”

Karthavya Technologies Pvt Ltd

Sunil Gangappa, Director - Sales

Market change

“The pandemic has changed some of the drivers in the market. Remote operability of solutions is now critical to the success of the product.

Company change

“Most of our existing solutions were ready for remote operations and during the last year, we have modified the remaining solutions also for the same. The growth of cloud-based solutions was already impacting the market. The pandemic acted as a catalyst for the same and now the transformation towards cloud-based solutions has accelerated manyfold.

Long term effects

“We do see these changes as a long-term effect. The pandemic proved that with the right tools, remote operations are possible. The organizations which have tasted success in this will not want to go back considering the flexibility and cost savings it provides over the long term.

What’s next?

“The architecture of our upcoming solutions revolves around the cloud-centric approach. The solutions are ground up built to leverage the advantages of cloud on scalability, collaboration, and flexibility.”

latakoo

Jade Kurian, Co-founder & President

Market change

“The pandemic created a scenario of multiple and contradicting challenges for the broadcast and production industries. They had to clear house suddenly. Meanwhile, the lockdowns created an enormous demand for content. That meant they had to keep producing in some way. Along with that, they had to tighten their belts. The broadcast and production industries were always a bit slower than others to fully embrace the cloud, but this pandemic drove them to quicken the pace. In both the news and the production sides, there is now a willingness to adopt full cloud implementations of video transfer and collaboration services. Technology services that allow crews in multiple locations to collaborate moved to the top of the must-buy list. And they will remain there because the cloud is essentially pandemic proof, removing obstacles in news and production workflows.

Company change

“latakoo is born on the cloud and our expertise in cloud architecture and efficiencies put us in a strong position during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic the way people consume content had already shifted dramatically to video on demand. During the pandemic, newly released, high value films appeared first in streaming services instead of the movie theater. Consumption of content is multi-platform, multi-device, multi-format. This requires technology companies in this space to be agnostic, fast-moving and pliable, providing software that addresses the needs of many. This has always been core to our mission: we never build it hoping they will come, but we build it based on what we know they will buy.

Long term effects

“The pandemic has left an indelible mark on our communities and on our industry. Broadcasting became small-casting. Anchors left the studio and started bringing you the news from their kitchens and living rooms. Video became our touch point with friends, family and everything else. The technologies that made that possible have a real stake in the future of the industry. We’ve always been a company that focused on keeping the user interface simple, creating low-touch, high-tech solutions for broadcasters and production companies.

What’s next?

“Interconnectedness, interoperability and higher quality transfer and streaming video are three areas we are focusing on and three areas we believe are the in-demand technologies. The key right now and in the future is connecting people and teams. We have released new services in 2020 and in 2021 that connect teams further, including Manifest, an assignment and file tracking system and our cloud video editor. In the end, we believe our service only works when our clients have full ease of use in their workflows and that’s what interoperability achieves. We know the answer is never in being an island, but a broker. Finally, video quality online is still a huge issue. latakoo has been investing heavily in creating the next revolutionary step forward in the highest quality video delivery in all bandwidth conditions. We call it the Generative Video Codec and unlike most other codecs which are built for storage, this one is built for transfer efficiency.”

Levira

Tiit Tammiste, CEO

Market change

“The Pandemic boosted very much both streaming customers and linear TV usage. That means broadcasters looking more for flexibility: how to manage streaming on-demand load, how to introduce and validate pop-up linear channels, how to automate content preparation etc.

Company change

“Levira’s strategic offering didn’t change too much. Platform as a service is new approach to take technical pain and scalability issues off from broadcasters but leave strategic business processes in-house. Hopefully this creates cost-saving possibilities also if to look overall value chain. We are still active in our European main markets including UK, CEE and Scandinavia.

“Cloud is coming to be commodity. I see here very similar processes like the IT-industry had several years ago. All IP is the same. It’s a bit expensive yet but flexibility and future proofness is something to drive it quite quickly.

Long term effects

“There is no way back definitely. We saw these changes in the air before pandemic already, heavy acceleration is ongoing just now and it changes landscape completely.

What’s next?

“On-demand services share in our portfolio will grow. Also platform as a service. Automated content creation is something we are validating at the moment. People cannot get to sport halls, but you need to bring events to the screen. Sport.television.ee is our AI based sport content sandbox.”

Live News and Sports Systems

John O’Loan, CEO iOMedia Group Limited

Market change

“It certainly has fundamentally changed many of the drivers in the market, particularly speeding up the move towards cloud and IP technology in the gathering and ingest of news, its production and play-out. We were moving that way anyhow, but the lock down certainly sped things up. With millions of people being homebound, use of television shot up. Initially terrestrial television got a big boost from news and entertainment audiences, but as the lockdown dragged on, there was a surge towards OTT platforms, offering a wider choice of programming. With media revenues declining at the same time, cloud technology is starting to enable large production centres, using up large areas of floor space, to downsize into cheaper accommodation. When life gradually reverts to something more like ‘normal’ the wider choice to consumers and lower operating costs possible by media companies, will be lessons learnt and retained. We will not be returning to the way things were done before Covid.

Company change

“Given that Covid touched or affected every corner of life over the past 12 months, it’s hard to say that any changes wouldn’t have come about, the way they did, if it hadn’t been for Covid, even down to the macro economics of the consumer market. This is in turn affecting advertising budgets, and the choices of “cord cutters” in deciding which and how many streaming platforms they can afford, to replace their old but limited choices of terrestrial channels, and more limited choices on DTH and cable. We are reacting to the market’s new direction by investing more and more into R&D of cloud and IP based technology, packaging end-to-end “cloudability” and the need for more streaming and OTT outlets and programmatic advertising.

Long term effects

“The market has changed forever, particularly with the increase in the need for OTT content. The cost of entry continues to drop, as the need for new channels and content continues to climb. There will be more of everything available from streaming and OTT services, requiring more medium priced and more flexible production and distribution technology.

What’s next?

“Our heads are firmly fixed in the cloud at the moment, as the need for OTT continues to grow for live production and programmatic play out. They will enable faster and sharper ‘coal face decisions’ in the field, in the studio, and in the control room, which in many cases will cease to exist.”

Net Insight

Per Lindgren, CTO

Market change

“Remote production workflows and cloud and IP- based platforms were already shaping the broadcast and media industries. The pandemic led these workflows to become the go-to video production and delivery models that ensured the media industry could keep going despite the challenges. The success of these models has demonstrated that open IP networks and the virtualization of media functions using cloud-based technologies have a huge role to play in the future of live content.

Company change

“At Net Insight, we’ve been driving the industry transition towards remote production for many years, with the first full-scale remote production set up at the 2012 London Olympics. During the past year, we supported several leading service providers, broadcasters, production companies and enterprises to shift to remote production workflows while ensuring the reliability and robustness they need for uninterrupted feeds. Our Nimbra platform is designed for processing and transporting high-quality media over IP, allowing customers to handle contribution, distribution, cloud ingest and orchestration on one platform and open up new business models.

“The media ecosystem will encounter further mergers and adaptation among industry players. Cloud players will be moving into the media industry, venue contribution players will be entering media transportation and service providers will invest in production capabilities. We will also see greater consolidation among broadcasters as they look to ensure access to content rights and production companies will increasingly acquire networks to gain control, enhance connectivity services and pave the way for remote production in the future.

Long term effects

“Media companies that had to pivot their video production and media delivery to cloud and IP technologies have enjoyed the cost and resource benefits and the flexibility of  distributed production workflows. Most customers we have spoken to will continue to use these models, even though some adjustments will be made. The move to cloud-based and remote workflows has also accelerated the move to a more flexible and scalable OPEX price model. We don’t expect these players to revert to CAPEX.

What’s next?

“Net Insight’s Nimbra and Aperi media ecosystem is fully virtualized and additional upgrades that will support its transition to all-IP and cloud-based workflows will be announced later in the year. We will also be introducing a subscription and recurring price model for our  platforms in the coming months. This will allow our customers to make the most of the economics of the cloud in a way that suits their business needs.

“In addition, we are enabling our customers to reap the benefits of 5G. Net Insight’s Nimbra solution portfolio is designed for next-generation media processing and delivery workflows that are 5G-ready. Broadcasters can ingest and distribute any live media stream, in any format, securely to multiple destinations across any IP network, with 5G dramatically increasing network capacity to make this process faster and more reliable.”

nxtedition

Roger Persson, Sales & Marketing Manager

Market change

“The big change over the last year is that remote production shifted, overnight, from a science project or ‘nice to have’ into an absolute essential. Remote production depends upon good collaboration, best served by having a smaller team of multi-skilled individuals, supported by the right technology using automation that takes away the repetitive tasks leaving the team free to stay engaged with the creativity of telling the story. The industry is still talking about IP and not IT: IP is not just an enabling technology, it also allows us to leverage all of the power of IT’s capabilities in the service of the media industry. Only when we do that can we really embrace the possibilities of what’s possible.

Company change

“We are a relatively new company, starting in the IT era. Our initial driver was a frustration with the traditional ways of working. That drove us to create a new production system that was inherently agile, inherently collaborative, inherently remote capable. As a company we have always encouraged remote working. It is built into our culture as well as our products.

Long term effects

“Some broadcasters cannot wait to go back to the old ways of working. They are comfortable with their traditional workflows and operations, and they believe that they will be back there soon.

More opportunistic companies are looking on the changes forced upon them as an opportunity to re-evaluate their whole philosophy. The move to an IT platform gives them the chance to take a completely fresh look, and if traditional broadcasters are reluctant to change, then we will see new media houses emerging, which will take market share. But change is always tricky.

What’s next?

“For us, we are going to carry on doing what we did before. Our emphasis was always to evolve new, collaborative, efficient ways of producing content and telling stories. We use IT technology to do this, and we code the way the big guys – Facebook, Google – do. We will draw on emerging standards like 5G and SRT to help broadcasters and media companies make much more use of remote working.

“We are already seeing some of the biggest sports broadcasters create facilities and workflows for remote production. Those broadcasters may have been sceptical before the pandemic, but have learnt that – given the technology to underpin fast workflows –remote production is perfectly possible without compromise, and has many advantages. Working from home, at least some of the time, gives your precious staff a better work/life balance, and the reduction in travel helps save the planet.

“We sometimes say that nxtedition is the aspirin of the media industry. We take away the headaches of systems and workflows. Our future is to find ever better ways of doing that, ways of relieving these industry headaches efficiently and creatively through software.”

Octopus Newsroom 

Gene Sudduth, National Sales Director for North America and Gianluca Bertuzzi, Sales Manager Africa & Latin America

Market change

“I’m not sure I’d say that things have fundamentally changed, but there is much more interest in cloud-based products that can be easily accessed, scaled and used from anywhere, preferably with a simple web browser. The tendency is to postpone investments due to a reduction of the budgets; nevertheless clients keep inquiring about the product and they try to overcome the obstacles because they know they have to modernize.

Company change

“Octopus has supported work from anywhere operations for a long time and we’re bringing new products to market that promise to provide even better tools to work with. The company was coping well with the situation even before the pandemic, through innovation and the creation of new systems like iReporter, Ko:r and improving the existing Octopus NRCS. Instead of shrinking we grew organically and increased marketing.

“There is always a need to work with our customers to add functionalities and to improve efficiencies in every workflow. Another prominent driver is the constant pressure to reduce expenses, both CAPEX and OPEX. Acceleration in the realm of technology and new ways of thinking about content creation among broadcasters and publishers are changing the needs and landscape of players in the market.

Long term effects

“Yes, I believe that we’re seeing another permanent shift in our industry. The broadcasting industry has been quite the same for a long time; now there are changes which will influence the near- and long-term future. Innovation is paving the road for a more collaborative way of working at distance but also better and more effective content creation.

What’s next?

“We believe in crowd journalism and for that we have created iReporter as video gathering platform and Ko:r, a brand new, cloud-based collaboration and planning tool, to our flagship product, the Octopus X newsroom collaboration system. This will boost content creation and open new horizons for clients who want to be market leaders and monetize from bigger inflow of videos. AI will be even more present in our technologies in order to facilitate and streamline workflows. The interoperability between our systems and third-party systems joined with cloud architecture will generate new opportunities also for businesses outside the broadcasting industry.”

On-Hertz

Benjamin Lardinoit, CEO & Co-Founder

Market change

“Although we were advocating for a shift towards dematerialized production infrastructures with distributed operations for a few years already, the pandemic has transformed a latent topic into an immediate requirement. Interestingly as well, before the pandemic, the technical / support teams were quite skeptical about virtualised tools because it is a major paradigm shift for them and it requires a new set of skills. On the other end, production people saw the new opportunities and were quite enthusiastic. After the pandemic started, the mindset shifted quickly as the focus was on restoring ‘normal’ operations and software-based solutions could help in that regard. At that point, end-users had to take the plunge / learning curve with new tools with limited support from the technical teams (because they were remote).

“The pandemic accelerated the launch of our turnkey, cloud-based offer that was in the roadmap but awaiting the right timing in terms of market acceptance. It seems to be quite clear for everybody now that there is no coming back even after the pandemic. Broadcasters need to be ready whatever happens, and traditional facilities with centralized operations simply won’t work.

“Our focus is on audio and we can see that audio is on the rise everywhere. A recent report from eMarketer and relayed by Spotify shows that mobile time spent listening to audio content is now outpacing time spent on social media, video, and gaming in the U.S..

“There are plenty of new distribution platforms requiring new / more flexible production chains; think podcast, home assistants, the growing eco-system around AirPods and the likes, Clubhouse… Media fragmentation goes hand in hand with the increase in the number of content creators and the commoditization of production tools. Traditional broadcasters have a lot of challenges to face, usually with less resources, to remain relevant in that landscape and we are helping them do just that.

Long term effects

“While the coronavirus took everybody by surprise, it surely would be very hard for any broadcaster to justify being unprepared / not organized for similar situations in the future. Remote / distributed operations is a long-lasting trend, also because it will help everybody work more efficiently.

What’s next?

“Without revealing any big secret, we think the silos between audio, video and IT in broadcast are things of the past. We don’t see production infrastructures as rigid entities but rather as a fluid combination of technologies that should adapt behind the scene without requiring extensive expertise from end-users for example. Just like operations, the infrastructure itself will be distributed. And on the user-level, we should make sure every user profile is presented with interfaces that make sense for him/her, no matter the complexity of the operations in the background.

OWC (Other World Computing)

Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO

Market change

“The world will never be the same when the pandemic is over. Near term it has driven a need for more localized independence as well as cloud/multi-user solutions (like Jupiter and Jellyfish) that enable users to still have remote collaboration/contribution from their work that has become remote vs. teams together.

“We are about to enter a hybrid world of in-person and remote collaboration with everyone being able to choose easily between both. The companies that adapted to this time effectively will be the most successful in the post pandemic era.

Company change

“While we’ve seen these trends coming for a while, the abrupt shift to remote work has forced us to optimize faster than had planned, and we are now fully prepared for the hybrid world. Whether employees are in-office or working from home, we have effective solutions for that at OWC. We’ve used this time to build the future.

“Fiber, 5G, 8k/higher bandwidth video demands, the rise of influencers and independent filmmakers, and the overall explosion of content creation for social media, YouTube, and streaming services due to the lack of in -person engagement have transformed OWC’s customer base. While everyone is looking for reliable cloud-based workflows, the reality is that the need for cost effective, powerful local solutions that interact with the cloud has never been higher. So long as bandwidth, resolution, and codecs improve and file sizes continue to rise, there will be no getting around the need for physical media devices and solutions. The cloud will complement, and OWC is committed to finding the happy medium between local and the cloud, and creating the practical workflows needed to solve these challenges.

Long term effects

“In the nutshell - I think a direction was already in motion, but the circumstances over the last year have highly accelerated both remote service utilization as well as on site, individual capability. As we go forward, OWC will have even more synergy and the advances/acceleration I would expect to see benefit all user workflows.

What’s next?

“The primary challenge that every post-Covid industry is trying to solve is how do you cost effectively manage your digital data, communication, marketing, and content? How are you building your in-office and remote team member solution workflows? If everyone and everything now needs to be their own movie studio, what is the most efficient way to create, search, and store those assets and data? And how will you share it with your remote collaborators? It will be a hybrid approach to in-person, remote, local/shared storage and cloud storage that will win. More than anything, though, it will be about crafting effective, holistic, and affordable SOLUTIONS to manage this problem.

“With the acquisition of Lumaforge/Jellyfish and BRU , OWC is committed to provide that seamless workflow incorporating individual creators as our existing line always has into the feed for collaborative/higher demand production and with the addition of strong cloud services integration both for remote collaboration and also direct distribution capabilities that provide more control to the content creators.”

PlayBox Technology

Phillip Neighbour, COO

Market change

“Coronavirus shifted the focus quite rapidly to remote playout and media management for broadcasters both big and small. As a result, the journey to the cloud and hybrid cloud environments for many broadcasters has been implemented sooner than initially planned.

Company change

“After identifying those new pain points for our customers, we got to work with a number of initiatives - incorporating SRT protocol into our playout products and introducing tools for remote centralization in our Neo & Cosmos product ranges. We also revamped our E-commerce strategy - you can now purchase PlayBox Technology products through a variety of vendors and our enhanced worldwide dealer network.

“Whilst it’s difficult to focus on anything but COVID-19 at the moment, OTT, digital video and the connected TV experience are still having a major impact on how broadcasters look to distribute their content for the future; and how this content is monetised.

Long term effects

“We’ll likely see a range of broadcasters take stock and decide which routes will be best for them going forwards - remote or in-house? Hybrid-cloud, cloud or remaining on premises? The pandemic has completely altered business strategies and long-term objectives, especially for our industry. We’ll be there to support all of our broadcasters with these crucial choices as we move further into this new decade.

What’s next?

“Expect a new cloud-based product range and greater emphasis on streaming for up and coming broadcasters who love digital video content delivery. Our dedicated support team will remain on-hand to advise our customers and provide the best solutions for them as we move forwards into 2021.”

Primestream

Claudio Lisman, President and CEO

Market change

“The global health crisis has profoundly changed the broadcast and video markets. Operations have had to adapt – almost overnight – to remote collaboration workflows that keep team members safe while ensuring production continuity. Another big dynamic is the exploding demand for online video content, which only accelerated further in 2020 with legions of viewers stuck at home and craving new programs. The industry’s ongoing migration to IP- and cloud-based operations was well underway prior to the pandemic, but over the past year these paradigms have played a critical role in helping broadcasters move quickly to remote production. The entire video industry – both traditional broadcast and streaming – has had to speed up its IP adoption exponentially.

Company change

“At Primestream, we were laser-focused on helping media operations make the shift to IP-based operations well before the pandemic began. That means we’re better positioned than ever to empower our customers to respond to the immediate demands of today while preparing for the challenges of the future.

“The IP revolution would have continued even without the jolt from COVID-19, as video operations all over the world have been moving away from centralized, studio-based, SDI operations to decentralized, remote production enabled by IP technologies and solutions. It’s a fundamental shift that is bringing unprecedented levels of efficiency, cost savings, and flexibility to broadcast operations. And as we’ve seen over the past year, IP and the cloud are key to helping broadcasters respond nimbly to rapidly changing requirements.

Long term effects

“The IP migration will continue to shape the broadcast landscape long after the pandemic is over. Driven by IP and the cloud, the shift to remote workflows is another trend that is here to stay. Broadcasters of all sizes have found out just how much they’re capable of doing remotely, and how easy and cost-effective it is to adapt operations to remote workflows. Broadcasters who had already taken the plunge will continue to refine and expand their remote capabilities, and those who were in the exploration stages will continue to build on the successes they have experienced over the past few months. 

What’s next?

“As IP continues to go mainstream for remote video production, broadcasters are looking for solutions that will deliver the same capabilities as legacy, SDI-based studio operations. They need IP streaming solutions that can integrate easily into production workflows and ingest non-baseband sources. They also need to be able to use all IP-based protocols and adopt fast, frictionless ways to transcode feeds into multiple house formats for asset management and distribution. To meet these requirements now and into the future, Primestream is continuing to deliver on its concept of the IP Network Operations Center (NOC). The Primestream IP NOC focusses on advanced, IP-based signal acquisition and cloud-based media asset management. These technologies offer a paradigm shift from traditional broadcast operation centers and satellite trucks to smaller and more nimble transmission gear, cameras, and capture devices. With the IP NOC, broadcasters can assemble an entire IP operation using off-the-shelf hardware and acquire signals from any IP source.”

Rascular

Ephraim Barrett, Sales Director

Market change

“From our perspective as a control applications design house, in many ways what was happening pre-pandemic has continued and that is the rise of NDI right across the sector and, of course, AV. We are seeing many uses and continue to have a very wide range of conversations about how it can be used with customers. This is not least for remote working and previewing/ monitoring content/ programme streams, regardless of what the ultimate output may be. But it really is right across the whole space. We’re also seeing more activity across the traditional SDI space now than we were a couple of years ago. It’s a very fractured market and we are having to be very fleetfooted. This is primarily – though not exclusively – with existing customers. This is for two main reasons: either channel count expansion, which involves the control of additional technologies; or refreshing existing workflows – which may well mean new routers, as an example, and therefore control protocols - to extend life. This also requires additional licences from us or different licences.

Company change

“We have spent the last three years developing our understanding of NDI and launching router control products – RouteMaster and RouteMaster Lite. We are continuing our application development. The amount of bespoke work we are doing, tailoring software to the precise requirements of customers, has also increased because of the fractured nature of the market. This dovetails with the fact that we are seeing a move away from all-in-one big systems – the MAM space being a prime example – to smaller, application-specific software. In response, we’re working with other suppliers to help our customers in terms of integration; our relationship with Woody Technologies is a good example.

Long term effects

“We think in terms of NDI continuing to grow, yes, this is very much a long-term prospect, not least because it’s clear that remote working/production is here to stay, and NDI is a powerful format in that regard. There are also the NDI “islands” that are being installed within overall SDI workflows. We also see great prospects for it across the AV space.

What’s next?

“We are working on expanding our NDI product suite – there will be another application release soon and more across 2021 in terms of the Rascular NDI ecosystem. Based on many conversations that we’ve had we know that there are customers eager for our next developments.”

ROE Visual Europe

Marina Prak, Marketing Manager

Market change

“[The pandemic] has driven the event sector towards a remote approach, relying on hybrid/virtual event approaches that use virtual production technology. We see a steep rise in the use of this type of technology and also an inventive and creative use of virtual production techniques. With the absence of audiences (or limited audiences) the revenue model also changes for concerts and events. The Billie Eilish live stream is a good example of how you can turn that to work out positively (including options for fan shopping). For broadcast and film it has driven teams towards a more remote based workflow, reducing the amount of persons that actually need to be on the work floor, where parts of the work can be done from a remote work place. The use of virtual production makes it possible to create background shots without the need to travel with complete camera crews, making it easier and faster. The demand for content is huge, which will drive streaming companies to invest even further in (fully equipped) production locations; we see this reflected in the demands we receive.”

Company change

“Being involved in virtual production technology at an early stage, we have been able to foresee the effect this would have on the film and broadcast industry, and act accordingly. This has meant a turnaround in the market we serve, from mainly event and live music orientated, to film and broadcast. Alongside some of our clients, we have adapted our product lines and market focus. This meant also adapting new workflows and technologies and training our entire staff to be able to service and support clients in this market. We have engaged in partnerships with companies like disguise and unreal engine. Apart from all this there is a drive for more efficient workflows, and enabling production teams to work more time- and cost-effectively. The overall market sees a tendency for smaller pixel pitches in general and being able to drive content on 4 or 8K platforms.

Long term effects

“Virtual events are here to stay – (larger) companies see the advantages of being able to broadcast a message to a wider audience, without the need for extensive (and time-consuming) travelling. Our engagement in the film and broadcast market as well as for (hybrid) events will continue to grow, the diversification on virtual production for film, broadcast or for events will grow, since the requirements differ. Events will return, but the events industry will need time to recover. The diversification in product lines and applications will continue and ROE Visual has launched/will launch dedicated products for these markets, like the BP2.2 and (soon to be launched) the Ruby 1.5 in both a regular as well as a studio version.

What’s next?

“Very soon we´re going to release groundbreaking features in LED walls and image processing: more options for virtual events, broadcast, XR stages and film production volumes, resulting in higher production efficiency, enabling focused target group marketing for broadcast and events.”

Shotoku UK

James Eddershaw, Managing Director

Market change

“[For us, things have not changed] fundamentally, in the  long term. Our drivers (robotic camera systems) have always been around efficiency and on-air quality of productions. The pandemic has put more pressure on the efficiency element, but essentially it is simply more of the same. Remote working (to reduce staff in control rooms) is a slightly new angle in that sometimes these operators might be at their homes, but they were very often remote from the studio in any case (sometimes in entirely different cities), so again not a fundamental change in the requirements our customers have.

Company change

“The pandemic and restrictions surrounding it have significantly affected the way we physically work, but not too much in the overall workflow of our development and manufacturing processes. It has slowed things down as we have to operate in a physically changed space with additional processes, but overall the changes are manageable and proportionate, meaning we can still achieve the things we need to, in an acceptable timeframe. Customers’ demands for delivery timescales and support interventions have tended to stretch for reasons of their own severely affected working practices, so our own processes have aligned with those of our customers in a natural way.

Long term effects

“Hopefully we will see a return to a (mostly) normal operation as 2021 progresses. That said, we have certainly moved to more staff working at home, more often and we have found that has worked well, much better than anticipated in fact - even for roles I would traditionally have considered 100% office based. I am certain that more home working will be a pattern that remains a permanent feature.

What’s next?

“More automation and more integration with third party systems is a trend that was well established prior to the pandemic, but has certainly been re-enforced and accelerated among small or medium clients who previously may have had limited automation in their process. We have accelerated our AutoFrame face-tracking system enabling customers to maintain camera framing with no, or minimal, human intervention for the entire live broadcast. This concept was attractive to news broadcasters at any time, but especially now when they are trying to reduce the number of people sitting in a control room together.”

StormGeo

Ragnvald Moberg, Vice President Media

Market change

“The pandemic has for many changed the workflow, and introduced new ways of working. Many, if not most have been working from home - which was somewhat unheard of prior to the pandemic. This will most likely impact how we work post-pandemic as well, where the flexibility as for when, where and how we work will be changed in the long run. This will require organizations to take on more online tools in their day-to-day operations, in order to ease tasks shared across many competencies (and people).

Company change

“The focus on a more cost-efficient workflow has been accelerated due to the pandemic; we’re compelled to work in new ways. Since many TV studios have been closed or in limited use during the pandemic, quite a few additional tasks have been pushed to the individual when producing editorial content i.e. camera, sound, research etc. Weather shows are a good example, where earlier it was produced using larger virtual set in studios and now, during the pandemic, it has been done outdoors. In combination with new online tools, this has strengthened the editorial staff in telling the story more efficiently.

Long term effects

“I think, we might see many more organizations becoming more flexible in their day-to-day operations based on the learnings during the pandemic.

What’s next?

“We will continue to optimize and innovate our online and cloud-based solutions, where scalability and easy access for the use of editorial staff is in focus.”

Telos Alliance

Martin Dyster, VP of Business Development

Market change

“COVID has effectively accelerated TV studios’ migration toward cloud-based workflows out of necessity as work-from-home production becomes the norm. The pandemic has made it clear that the need for reliable, scalable, and secure off-prem products and services will continue to grow, with broadcasters becoming increasingly skilled in these workflows. The new work-from-home norm has also made simplicity more important than ever. This is important for fast on-the-fly set up in a home environment where a team member might not be technically proficient when it comes to IT. It’s not enough for the technology to adapt to remote working, it has to be easy for users at all skill levels to set up and connect.

“Telos Infinity IP Intercom, for example, has this kind of functionality built-in and adapts to ‘WFH’ natively. However, we realized at the outset of the pandemic that the configuration was not going to be simple for all users to undertake, so we made some fundamental changes that made the product as close to ‘plug and play’ as possible. We’ve even found that some customers whose incumbent in-house Intercom might not be Telos Infinity have found it easier and more cost-effective to use Infinity for remote operation than to adapt their existing technology.

“Another factor influencing the market is the transition to Next-Generation Audio/ATSC 3.0, which has been slightly slowed due to COVID. However, we’ve been impressed with broadcasters trudging on through the pandemic and transitioning to ATSC 3.0. We hope to see some early adopters on the creative side moving toward incorporating these exciting new technologies to create a richer viewing experience and are excited to be a part of it all with our Next-Generation Audio products from Linear Acoustic that can help broadcasters get up and running fast with these new standards and with top audio quality.

Long term effects

“We do not see this transition slowing down. At Telos Alliance, we are energized by this trend and have ramped up our own transition to cloud-based products based on the demand and have also adapted some of our hardware technology to facilitate remote and work-from-home use.

What’s next?

“Using remote hardware products that are connected back to core infrastructure has been the model adopted by most broadcasters because the technology can adapt to this workflow, but it isn’t efficient. The utopian solution is virtualization of hardware technology and virtual intercom is something that we get asked for all the time. Telos Alliance is known for innovation and we’ve been listening, learning and evolving. We hope to be announcing some exciting developments in the near future.”

TVU Networks

Paul Shen, CEO

Market change

“The pandemic rapidly accelerated changes that were already underway within the media industry. The forced move to remote production has shortened by years the migration from everything operationally needing to be in the studio to cloud-based workflows in which production can occur outside of the four walls. We saw this vividly in content acquisition with reporters and anchors using their mobile phones and mobile apps like TVU Anywhere to broadcast from their living rooms. It’s now just another regular tool available for broadcasters. Another area of change is the challenge of true collaboration in a remote environment between crew, hosts and guests when producing programs. The use of consumer grade video conferencing to replace the dynamics of in-person interaction to create live programs falls short of goal. Perfectly synced audio and video, low latency, mix minus audio and high-definition video are examples of what are needed in a video platform to help bridge the gap with team collaboration.

Company change

“In addition to our portfolio of IP based solutions, we’ve continued to launch cloud-based products and services designed to address the new challenges faced by media companies. Last year, we rolled out TVU Partyline for broadcast grade video conferencing, allowing production crews and hosts to collaborate and interact nearly seamlessly. We’re able to address remote production with our cloud-based TVU Producer which allows for full featured, multi-camera video production practically anywhere with a web browser and internet connection.

“The industry changes have also propelled the need for much faster technology development and innovation. As a company, we embraced and incorporated the DevOps process, allowing us to capture requested features and enhancements by customers and rapidly developing and testing the changes. We’re able to deploy very rapidly and have the new feature in the hands of our customer within days.

Long term effects

“We see these changes propelling the shift to newer cloud-based technology adoption and faster technology innovation for the foreseeable future. As media companies have determined it’s possible to run production without the traditional heavy reliance on lots of hardware in studio infrastructure, we expect the changes are long-term and will continue to move towards cost-effective cloud production.

What’s next?

“The next development is going to be a data driven media supply chain. We’ve been active in this area and will continue to expand our efforts here. We expect to see an emphasis on a heavily automated content lifecycle which would encompass planning to distribution. This also includes acquisition which covers the ability to not only deliver more of our content but also content from other suppliers. We would describe this future as DevOps for content in which effective rapid development encourages experimentation and faster innovation.”

Vitec Group

Mike Dowson (VPGM Manual Supports) and Richard Satchell (VPGM Robotics/ Prompting/ Lighting and Mobile Power)

Market change

“In the last 12 months with the Covid pandemic in mind the key driver that we have seen is health & safety – whether that be moving to remote production for studio and OB events, or distanced working on a film set. In the studio and OB environment this has translated and extended to themes such as IP and cloud, that are providing the level of flexibility and workflows required to facilitate safe working, deliver greater levels of resilience, flexibility and redundancy to overall operations and content production. We have also seen an increase in demand for smaller tripod systems as additional camera sets ups have been installed due to the restrictions and reducing the number of people around each camera. Interest for small camera set-ups for home studios has also increased.

Company change

“With the emergence of Covid there was an initial need to focus on continuing studio operations in the face of restricted ways of working. This fueled investment in remote / home studios and is driving creativity in how content is captured with interviews being done virtually using VR and AR environments etc. There has also been an acceleration towards IP and cloud infrastructure, for example creating entirely virtual control rooms that can be spun up / down on an as needed basis. There is a greater use of remote operation (REMI) in outside broadcasting. This is to minimize the number of people who need to be on site without reducing the number of camera points at an event as the requirement of quality content remains as strong as ever.

“We see an ever-increasing demand to be able to do more with each piece of equipment on set or on location – to be able to derive the greatest level of flexibility and performance, facilitate the speed of shooting/content creation, and in doing so, deliver the highest return on investment for our customers.

Long term effects

“The pandemic has only accelerated the direction of travel. The fundamental drivers and dynamics of our markets haven’t changed however the pace of adoption in IP, cloud and remote production has seen a shift change that will be here to stay.”

Vizrt

André Torsvik, Head of Marketing Strategy and Planning

Market change

“I think it has massively accelerated three things; the move to IP, the move to remote workflows and the move to software-based solutions. All of these can be seen as one driver – a desire for more flexibility. Out of these three I think software by far is the most important as it is the enabler for the other two. The second [trend] I see is the democratization of video production, in that broadcasters have been forced to use ‘mundane’ tools to get on air. Simple screen backdrops in garages, anchors on Teams calls and compressed video over regular Ethernet – all these things have had to be accepted, in order for broadcasters to be able to deliver content.

Company change

“I think the pandemic acted as an accelerator – but the trinity of software, IP and remote was already happening. The virus was not the cause, but it created a shift in speed of uptake. We were always a software company, and this situation has made us thankful of that, and made us double down on our software vision of production technology.

Long term effects

“I think this is the de facto new production reality – flexibility will be the mantra it has been over the last year. The virus situation showed us that the customers with the most flexible setups and the willingness to leverage new technologies such as NDI and remote calling to create news, were the most successful. This means we need to support this demand in the future as well.

What’s next?

“We have just launched Flexible Access, which truly is the innovation to match the zeitgeist. Rather than forcing customers to put down a large, up front capex bet on technology they do not know how or even if they will use two to three years hence, we allow access to all our technology through monthly or annual plans – with no huge investment at the start. The great opportunity in this for the broadcasters is that they can shift their technology stack to match where their revenue streams come from.”

VSN

Patricia Corral, Marketing Director

Market change

“Overall, 2020 has forced a leap in the natural trend towards direct-to-consumer services, SaaS services and technology solutions that are not only innovative, but also robust enough to ensure service and business continuity in the medium and  long term. In short, the transition that was already underway seems, in many ways, to have progressed 5 to 7 years rather than one.

Company change

“We need to provide our customers with more flexible solutions, both in terms of accessibility and contracting. Our priority is to enable them to continue operating under any circumstances and in a very agile way, and that means greater capacity in cloud environments and remote connectivity, features that many of our systems already have or will have, as well as maintaining our levels of implementation and support when we perform these services remotely. We were already offering these kinds of solutions and services in pre-pandemic times, but 2020 has encouraged us to improve even more in all these areas.

Long term effects

“The transition to remote working with decentralized teams is here to stay, basically because it has proved to be very efficient in terms of flexibility and cost effectiveness. In fact, we expect 2021 to be the year for the consolidation of this trend. Customers will no longer seek technological solutions to resume their pre-Covid style operations but instead will look to establish new, innovative ways of working and approaching their audiences once and for all.

“Technology will need to improve to become much more efficient in cloud-based infrastructures. Business models will need to gain flexibility to accommodate the changing requirements and needs of customers. Some services like solutions’ deployment and training will need to be optimized and shortened in time as well. And D2C models will probably affect competition in the market and even give rise to new players that will change the dynamics of our customers forever. We are confident that some of these effects will remain in the long-term.

What’s next?

“We are paying a lot of attention lately to multiplatform content scheduling and delivery. In fact, having content consumption raised 40% worldwide in 2020, we could not have had a better timing to keep working on our VSNCrea Broadcast Management System (BMS) and its tight integration with our VSNExplorer Media Asset Management (MAM). We are also placing a lot of resources on improving VSNCrea’s non-linear module, as well as the possibilities it brings for content monetization through multi-platform advertising. Concerning remote production, we are enhancing our solution as well including new powerful integrations with NLE systems to support low res workflows and editing. And finally, in regard to content production, we are now participating in some very interesting research projects to apply Machine Learning inside our MAM system for the self-creation of content based on semantic content searches.”

x-dream-distribution GmbH

Jutta Schönhaar, Managing Director

Market change

“It´s difficult to speak about the market in general, but for us the work has changed fundamentally. We are not able to travel, we are not able to meet people in person. Some of the strategic and long-term projects have been put on hold or postponed to later. On the other hand, we got much more requests for the quick fixes in the past year.

Company change

“Everything now happens remotely: not only are customer meetings virtual, but also project meetings with vendor and reseller partners are virtual. Also, installations and services are operated completely virtually. It is easier now to find time slots for project realization if you do everything remotely, as all people are at home. This may even push some projects. On the other hand, personal interactions help to reduce misunderstandings. Customer requests with regard to the products we offer changed. They also started to look more into a Software-as-a-Service, use cloud versions of the software from our portfolio.

“We saw the world changing quite fast in the past years, and we saw a slowdown in the last 1.5 years. The biggest change of the past years and which is also going into the future, is digitization. This even got a push with the pandemic. I think, in the future we (and of course, our customers) will experience even more remote work.

Long term effects

“We do see a long-term change: travelling will not happen as often as it happened in the past, also because some people will stay in their home offices, so customer visits will become more difficult to organize. There will be a different style of trade shows where we meet people in person, or they will be more regionally focused. The approach to find new customers will change, but the requirements from the customers to bring their content on-air will be always the same. Interesting fact: before Corona everyone said that classical broadcast is dying. I think, the last months pushed forward traditional broadcasters and all the streaming and VOD libraries. So yes, there is a change, but if this is related to Corona or to the improvement of the world, it is not clear.

What’s next?

“In general, the focus is on bringing on-premises technologies to Software-as-a-Service opportunities for all products we offer. It can be a hybrid approach of on-prem and Software-as-a-Service, a remote work, basically creating remote operations to enable people broadcast remotely. Plus, we are working on the new ways to approach our existing and potential customers. Last year we invested a lot of our time and money into developing our own online platform to run virtual events https://x-dream.events. We got rid of the boring webinars and now attract people with interactive interviews and panel discussions. As an additional outcome [from talking to our customers] we noticed that there might be products we want to add to our portfolio to be even more complete and satisfy the needs of our customers also in future in an innovative way.”

x-news

Andreas Pongratz, CEO

Market change

“Marketing for solutions and product has completely gone digital to community network platforms like LinkedIn, FB, Twitter as well as marketplaces like the IABM, DPP and others.

Company change

“We have launched an offer for topic based free of charge research (Covid, US elections ….) to prove the benefits and that has already attracted new customers that then have signed on. We have asked customers of what their pains in workflows are and adapted the features of the product.

Long term effects

“Travel and in person meetings will not take place in the same way as it used to be prior to covid. Continuity hence will be an important aspect of partnering, marketing and innovation.

What’s next?

“We will further support a user’s journey to become even more efficient and focused on creative story telling “

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