Ahead of TVBEurope’s MediaTech 360 Summit at the end of March, we catch up with event host Oisin Lunny to discuss why he thinks the future of trade shows will be hybrid, how the media industry has dealt with the pandemic, and what’s he’s looking forward to at the event.
We’re delighted to have you join us for this month’s MediaTech 360 conference. You’ve done plenty in this sector in recent years, notably at IBC, so what excites you about the broadcast media technology industry?
Thanks for the invitation, I am thrilled to be a part of MediaTech 360! To paraphrase a chat I had with Lord Stuart Rose, content is king, but content viewers are the masters of the universe. The global lockdowns have reinforced the intrinsic value of broadcast media, it fulfils a hugely important role in keeping us all happy, informed and entertained. There is a lot to be excited about, from developments in appointment to view and on-demand, and from tech offerings like VR and XR to immersive audio tech to multi-screen social participation.
What have you made of the impact of pandemic conditions on the broadcast market, and the way it has innovated its way through these remarkably tough conditions?
The broadcast industry has really shown it’s true technicolours during the pandemic, from crews filming in quarantined conditions to newsreaders and talk show hosts keeping us engaged from portable home studios. I have particularly enjoyed live music concert streams, being a lifelong music lover. It is a regular trope on social media for folks to say they have completed watching everything on a well-known streaming platform, but due to the ingenuity and unstoppable creativity of the industry, the well of great content is unlikely to run dry. The proof is in the pudding, and at MediaTech 360 I am really looking forward to hearing from Justin Gupta at Google about how the lockdown accelerated the rates of adoption for digital video.
What are you looking forward to most about the 360 sessions later this month?
To be honest, all of it! I always welcome the opportunity to catch up with Muki Kulhan, she is my “go-to” person the get the latest news on all things VR, XR and more. The session about the use of AI should also be fascinating, and I am really looking forward to catching Jenny Priestley interviewing The Mandalorian cinematographer Greig Fraser. The panel with women’s advocacy group Rise will be superb, everyone should watch that!
You’re a regular on the global trade show stage, giving keynotes and hosting conferences at events such as SXSW, Mobile World Congress, and IBC… how much are you missing that in-person interaction with these communities and do you think the role of trade shows will change as a result of what we’re all experiencing?
Hell yes. I LOVE meeting people and getting to know them, and I do miss that part of events. But the virtual events being produced now, like MediaTech 360, are put together with such consideration for the delegates and speakers to get real value, I think moving forward most shows will be hybrid, both in-person and online. Given the environmental impact of business travel this is not a bad thing.
Finally, how do you think the broadcast marketplace will emerge from these conditions, and what would you say are the technologies that will play a key role in the future of how we produce, distribute, and consume, content?
I think 5G will help more people share their vision with a global audience, in fact media production is one of the killer use-cases for the technology. AI has the potential to act as a powerhouse for scalability, the question will be around access to the best technology. In terms of hardware, I have seen some amazing live stream events produced with equipment like the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro (via http://www.livestreambcn.com/) and I think this is a glimpse into further miniaturisation and democratisation of production equipment. On the more high end side of things, the use of the Unreal Engine for VFX, as seen in The Mandalorian, is incredible, and virtual production is undoubtedly here to stay. Will XR glasses ever become mainstream? Let’s see what Apple does next. Advanced audio technology, like the JBL 9.1 with built-in Dolby Atmos, is bringing immersive audio to the front room, while new ExP technology from HARMAN (disclosure: a company I host a podcast for) brings individualised surround sound into vehicles, so immersive sound formats will reach more and more people. Having said all that, I suspect that the expert speakers joining me at MediaTech 360 will have a more accurate crystal ball than I do! I’m looking forward to learning from the best.
More details about MediaTech 360 Summit, which takes place on 25th and 26th March, are available here.