Peter White, IABM director general, drew a full house to his annual ‘State of the Market’ survey at IBC, and while he confirmed that by and large the industry is in a better state this year than for the past few years, there are still growing problems for his vendor members, not least currency devaluations in some countries.
Around 70% of the 46 respondents to the IABM’s Industry Trends Survey are either ‘very positive’ or ‘quite positive’ for the next 2-3 years in terms of prospects. However, White said there are also trends showing that broadcasters are increasingly turning to the IT sector to solve problems that were once the near-exclusive domain of IABM members.
Around half of the vendors also anticipate further consolidation of their sector, forced upon them by pressure on margins and pricing in general. Only 54% of responding companies were in profit this year and last, while 22% had been loss-making for the past two years. “Our SME members are under considerable pressure,” said White.
The panel discussion, chaired by John Ive, IABM’s director of business development, heard Gier Bryn-Jensen (CEO, Nevion) tell delegates that despite the trend towards IT suppliers increasingly being used, this represented “an opportunity for vendors. We must reinvent ourselves and take advantage of these changes.” Martin Burkhalter, CEO at Vizrt, said that the speed of change itself was a very real challenge. “How can we deliver what’s needed today, but at the same time prepare for what’s needed tomorrow. It’s a challenging combination.”
Avid president/CEO Louis Hernandez Jr: “Our industry is undergoing some fundamental changes, and vendors are going to have to match those changes. We have to provide for those demands in a much faster, closer and more efficient way.”
Industry veteran Larry Kaplan, now heading SDVI Corp, summed up for all saying that the broadcasting industry was undoubtedly at a tipping point, “and where we should be using generic and high-volume equipment in smarter ways. For example, the time it takes for us to reconfigure our infrastructure is nuts, it really is. Every month we can take off that timescale improves our client’s revenues.”