With the current climate crisis acting as a daily reminder of the scale of the problems facing us globally, it’s essential that we as an industry all commit to being part of the solution by putting sustainability at the very heart of our business. At Genelec we don’t see this as a regulatory hurdle to overcome or an opportunity to try and ‘greenwash’ a corporate image to make ourselves look better, but something that is crucial for the broadcast sector to survive and thrive.
Josh Arensberg was elected Chair of the IABM Members’ Board in July this year. We asked him to share his vision for where he sees IABM – and our industry – heading.
Sustainability is undeniably a pressing concern within the video streaming industry, and the latest data about emissions generated by the sector underscores the urgency of addressing its environmental impact. As has been widely quoted, with between 2% and 4% of global energy usage accounted for by ICT and with more than 70% of internet traffic associated with video, it is clear that improving our energy footprint can have a significant impact on the problem overall.
Streaming might be our favorite pastime, but beneath the surface, it’s a colossal energy-guzzling process that’s taking a toll on our planet.
Today, the average consumer worldwide spends about 19 hours a week streaming video – but this can be much, much higher for some. And with a population of more than 742,200,000, Europeans could have streamed more than 735 billion hours – or 83 million years – of content in 2022 alone!
To put this into perspective, every hour of video streamed emits roughly 55g of CO2e. This would mean that Europeans streaming habits account to roughly 40.4 million metric tons of CO2e in just one year – the equivalent of driving 210 billion km, given the average gas-powered car emits 192g of CO2e per km.
Adopting real-time streaming experiences such as live events, interactive video, cloud gaming, video communications, and virtual worlds is soaring. Meeting this demand with CPU-based codecs can often be expensive and inefficient, unnecessarily boosting CAPEX, OPEX, and carbon emissions generated by CPU-based encoding. In a breakthrough for the video processing sector, Tony speaks to us about how organizations can tap into GPU-based solutions that substantially trim down operating costs, capital expenditure, and energy usage.
Judging by the number of trade publication articles and speaking sessions that focus on the topic, you’d think that the entire media and entertainment industry is focussed on cutting carbon costs. But is that really the case? True, broadcasters have set ambitious targets to reach net zero, the streaming giants are following suit, and they’re putting pressure on production companies to reduce their environmental impact and include sustainability messaging in the content they produce. Carbon emissions have even become a critical consideration in planning new studio builds. But not every part of the production chain is putting the environment first.
In an era of unprecedented technological advancement, the media and broadcast industry plays a significant role in shaping how we perceive the world. However, this sector, like many others, faces a pressing challenge: the threat to our planet’s delicate ecological balance. As concerns about environmental sustainability escalate, our industry needs to take bold steps to minimize its own impact on the environment and pave the way for a greener future.
As we approach the end of the summer, marked as the warmest ever recorded, it’s clear that focusing on the environment and sustainability is crucial for all organizations and businesses. The TV and media industry has a dual responsibility. On one hand, it’s crucial to provide the public with accurate information about the situation, and on the other hand, it’s equally important to address the sustainability impact of producing and distributing TV and video content.
Technology is set to play a crucial role in the fight against climate change by helping us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance energy efficiency, and promote sustainable practices. Is there potential for AI to also play a part in this? Google DeepMind certainly thinks so and is using the latest AI developments to help fight climate change and build a more sustainable, low-carbon world. But although AI has received a lot of attention since the launch of the large language model, ChatGPT, last year, AI and machine learning (ML) are not new concepts. Content creators, technology vendors, and service providers in the video industry have been using ML for some time. The difference now is that generative AI models have become more advanced, and are now being used by a wider audience. If organizations like Google DeepMind aim to use generative AI to fight climate change, can the video industry also use generative AI to optimize systems, create more sustainable consumption habits, and reduce the industry’s carbon impact?
In recent years, the emergence of new distribution models such as AVOD, SVOD, and FAST channels have disrupted the traditional television market. These newer platforms offer viewers greater flexibility and choice and are rapidly gaining popularity among younger audiences. To stay ahead of the curve, broadcasters need to diversify their channels by developing content specifically tailored to these new platforms and consumers, whilst simultaneously meeting the needs of existing audiences.
But is the current mix of talent behind the scenes diverse enough to cover all perspectives, when creating and managing next generation channels?