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IBC Content Everywhere Q&A with IBC CEO Michael Crimp

A discussion with IBC's CEO Michael Crimp about the organisations new series of global events, 'IBC Content Everywhere'.

IBC Amsterdam is a huge success, so why launch a global series of events?

Our industry continues to go through dynamic change and so far, we have covered this with the IBC umbrella. However, our research shows there is an opportunity to cover an overlapping industry, in new and growing territories.

Broadcast as a technology is defined as ‘one to many’, and mobiles – working on a subscription and pay per download basis – have defined ‘one to one’, but there’s a gap in the middle. Recent developments have given media companies the opportunity to reach more than one screen, with different and complementary information, and this has a new set of challenges and opportunities. It affects our current visitors and exhibitors, but also a new audience such as device makers; rich media producers; app builders, digital marketeers and of course, cloud services.

The key talking points for this new industry are “What business models are going to work in this environment?”, “Who shall we align ourselves with?” and “Can I own an audience?”. We want to bring people together to help find answers to these questions. It’s a significant step in the continuing digital revolution for media.

Doesn’t ‘Connected World’ at IBC already do this?

For several years, IBC has successfully owned and developed IBC Connected World as a discrete zone that is an exhibition feature within the main event. But a huge amount has changed. The sales of smartphones in 2013 will be over 918 million – outstripping simpler models for the first time. This is a technology and a business that’s reaches into so many products and workflows, and thus every corner of IBC. We’re all a part of it.

IBC Connected World has helped us understand this new and emerging opportunity, but a discrete zone is not the right vehicle to move forward. And IBC’s experience of the IBC Connected World plus significant background research and market investigation has allowed us to create market leadership in this area. IBC Content Everywhere is a big step-change development on from this, from a show feature into an entirely fresh series of events where participants can be located in any hall at any event.

As a consequence IBC has also ended its relationship with BPL (owners of IBE magazine) who provided first rate sales and marketing within the IBC Connected World zone. The IBC Connected World brand will cease at the end of IBC2013. Until then IBC will continue to market and promote the zone. It will be an important feature this year and I would advise you to go down and take a look.

How will the NFC technology add value and create a global presence?

One of our initiatives, which will have a live trial with 1,000 users at IBC2013, is the use of NFC devices. It will enable users to build a personal community built around who you meet and what you see at the show. This will allow anyone at the event to exchange information with their peers and to sustain that relationship over time. You’ll have to experience it for yourself! It will also allow an exhibitor in any of the 14 halls in Amsterdam to have a virtual presence at any of our other shows – and online – anywhere in the world. We already have significant interest from exhibitors for worldwide sponsorship of the whole global experience, and there are many other ways to get involved. Ultimately this technology will allow us to build communities across continents.

Why is IBC Content Everywhere different to IBC?

I’m pleased you asked me that because it allows me to state clearly that these events are not IBC ‘Lite’ or IBC ‘Regional’. Creating value in this new industry of ‘Content Everywhere’ is different from traditional broadcasting. One third of the planet will have fixed broadband with interactive access by 2017, so it’s not adequate to regard it as just a ‘bolt-on’ to broadcast infrastructure. There are parts of the world that have already flipped to viewing video and other content over IP, particularly mobile, and these are the markets we will initially address.
We are seeing a step-change in our industry, and this is going to be matched by a radically different approach and of course IBC’s values of high quality and independence will persist. Whilst there will be an opportunity to exhibit in the normal way, we’ve got some remarkable and compelling new tools to mediate and build communities both at the show and afterwards.

IBC Content Everywhere – as you’ll see from the highly visible orange branding – is a new entity. Having said that, stakeholders have the opportunity to use the IBC Content Everywhere branding and technology within the Amsterdam event. In this way we believe we can add another dimension to the Amsterdam event, and link it to the events in MENA and Latin America.

I can see that, but why those regions in particular. Isn’t the growth meant to be just in the BRIC countries?

You have to assess the relative strength of each market. Latin America and the Middle East combine massive penetration and use of mobile technology – particularly for video and social media – with a thriving economy. For instance, Brazil – host of the 2016 Olympics – is the seventh largest internet audience in the world. The Middle East has over 284 million mobile users, with a market increasing at twice the speed of both Western Europe and North America combined. These are hotspots of real growth, and therefore IBC want to offer a platform for building relationships in those regions. These relationships will be the bedrock from which new offerings will be built. IBC Content Everywhere will target visitors who are shaping the new business models, and we’ll offer them a high quality and independent forum for debate. We’re confident that we can attract a good size audience of opinion formers and decision makers. IBC Content Everywhere will offer packages that include exhibiting, sponsorship, networking and online engagement. This is in response to exhibitor requests to take them into these new markets and to deliver a high quality experience, analogous with IBC.

How big are you expecting the IBC Content Everywhere global events to be?

We’re not looking for the scale of an IBC in Sao Paulo or Dubai, but it’s obvious that this emerging industry is very significant. If we can provide a global presence, where business leaders can gain strategic knowledge; gauge the momentum of events; establish good relationships; and build strong business models; then we’ll have succeeded. The IBC team is focused on high quality sustainable growth for the industry.

What about the future of IBC itself?

Amsterdam is a great base for the show and has proved enormously successful, with over 50,000 visitors in 2012. Global revenue for the broadcast industry has an estimated growth of 7% per annum over the next few years, so we are obviously committed to sustaining the show, and to providing the best return on investment possible to all those who take part. IBC is the mothership, and IBC Content Everywhere it’s satellite.

The whole IBC team is very confident, but not complacent, about the development of IBC. We understand the importance of IBC and won’t take our eye off the ball as we launch these new and exciting opportunities.