News Business

Recession has altered technology procurement, say US broadcasters

29 June 2011

Well over two-thirds of North American broadcasters agree that the recession has changed the way their company approaches procurement and projects, according to the 2011 IABM survey of North American broadcasters, writes Fergal Ringrose.

The statement “we try harder to ensure that everything we buy is fit for purpose” ranked highest on a list of specific recession-induced procurement changes, followed by “we take care to validate what suppliers tell us about integration” and “we are more sceptical about sales pitches and promises to deliver”.

The IABM says these results to its March 2011 survey suggest the recession has not only resulted in lower budgets, but has prompted a review and a tightening up of procurement procedures – all of which applies more pressure to manufacturers. Respondents listed “generate new business”, “improve operational efficiency” and “make more cost-effective use of resources” as their top three objectives for technology procurement.

In terms of shopping lists, respondents to the IABM survey put storage on top of the list followed by HD, video and audio editing/processing, cameras, and new media delivery. 3D was well down the list, at number 14.

When ranking what their company needs most from the supplier community in the future, respondents listed “enhanced value for money” as top choice, followed closely by “innovative new products”, “better support for existing products”, and “better connectivity.”

In terms of the broadcast business model, more than 90% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “all broadcasters and content creators need to develop new content monetisation methods to exploit new revenue streams”. However, the sample divided sharply on the question of whether “Advertising is diminishing as a revenue source for broadcasters”.

There was broad agreement for both these statements: “The internet is the biggest threat to traditional broadcasters” and “the internet is the biggest opportunity for traditional broadcasters”.

When asked about the most important sources of information when making technology procurement decisions, the order of importance was: trade shows and conferences; personal contact with vendors; vendor web sites; personal contacts in other companies; in-house experts; vendor literature; articles in the trade press; advertisements in the trade press; internet search engines; seminars, webinars and roundtables; integrators; consultants; and blogs, newsletters, podcasts and social networks. In the age of the internet, it seems that personal contact and the views of colleagues remain the most important source of information for North American broadcasters.

The IABM conducted the survey during March using a sample of more than 1,000 NAB show attendees. All respondents classified themselves as “buyers”, with 39% being broadcasters/networks, 35% production or post production houses, 8% integrators, and the remaining 16% classified as studios, playout centres and “other”. Almost 75% were from North America, with 7% from the Middle East and 5% from Western Europe.

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