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IABM: Challenges ahead

The IABM’s annual market evaluation was a mixture of rude health and rude shocks. Market value is $40 billion, growing to $45 billion in 2017, but this industry is playing catch-up.

Under the banner ‘What future for broadcast technology?’ IABM CEO Peter White produced a mass of stats – the top user spend prediction is multi platform for content delivery, 69% of vendors are in profit, and the big companies take 85% of revenue – being just three of dozens.

“The market is quite buoyant, but it is going to change,” he said. “There will be new players coming in and established names going out or being absorbed. We are still spending a lot on innovation and R&D, but is that roadmap aligned with market requirements?

“If you are not into workflow management, managing assets, and providing that sort of service you are likely to be missing an opportunity,” he added.
Price pressure is immense, margins pinched, R&D a risk or at risk, but the IABM’s evolving membership is so indicative of change.

“We are not finding many large global members. There are a lot of small companies coming in that provide IP network services and streaming,” said White. “A lot of the innovation is coming from the smaller players.”
Dan Castles, president and CEO of Telestream, can sleep at night because 86% of users want to make ‘best of breed’ purchases. All the consolidation just makes people nervous.

“I have been in this industry for 30 years and there has never been this level of vendor and strategy change,” he said.

Ray Cross, executive chairman and CEO of Quantel, said: “Everyone is looking to do more for less, and if you help them do that you are going to be successful. The industry is coming of age.”
According to Marco Lopez, president of Grass Valley, “customers are seeing a lot of change, and we want to ensure they are future ready. Investment in R&D is critical because the industry is making such an important shift.”

Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications and Gates Air, added: “This is an industry that’s a decade behind where it should be. A big part of this mess is the way the networks have been designed and built. We are going to see a lot more consolidation.

“This industry has got to get to a common protocol, and that’s going to be IP. This is a community and we have to find a way to work better together. Quantel and Grass Valley should be partners of Imagine,” he added.