Conference: As most broadcasting industry suppliers know only too well, the past two years have been tough. Peter White, director general of the IABM, spelt out just how dramatically bad the period had been to IBC delegates.
Using the latest IABM industry index survey, he told delegates that his member’s profits had taken a severe hit, from a positive 25% two and more years ago to -15% on average, and had hit the industry to the extent that earlier this year only half of the IABM’s member companies were in profit at all.
“But not all parts of the globe suffered,” White said. “Asia Pacific was hardly affected, other than Japan itself. In terms of profit recovery Europe has moved much quicker then North America. In fact 71% of our European members are now profitable again. But margins are being squeezed harder than ever. 2011 looks more promising, and 2012 being a quadrennial year looks more hopeful again.”
But he said some fresh trends also emerged from the IABM. “72% of buyers are seeking ‘fit for purpose’ kit, and at a lower cost. Indeed, this reflects a degree of cynicism [over vendor suggestions] that now affects buyers, which I see as a step-change in buyer’s attitudes. The survey found that 65% of buyers wanted ‘tried and tested’ over ‘leading edge’ options.
Naomi Climer, Sony Professional’s VP/ EMEA, said Sony was now cautiously optimistic, with that optimism reflecting the “dramatic upturn over the past six months”. But she also issued a warning: “As an industry we must better anticipate new trends.”
Mathias Eckert, VP sales & services at Harris Broadcast, said the transition to HDTV had helped some stalled projects move forward. “European business has grown and this has helped offset the slower recovery in North America.” Eckert added that broadcasters are also making fundamental changes in their business philosophy. “They are spending on new revenue streams. These new business models, usually internet-related, represent a huge opportunity for the industry.”