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IBC’s Wrap Up: “All change for everything”

IBC’s popular ‘Wrap Up’ panel attempted to put into context 15 halls of equipments and demos, a few hundred hours of conference sessions and more than a few one-on-one meetings that most panelists had undertaken.

They all admitted it was a tough call. ITV’s Tom Griffiths (director of broadcast and distribution) was enthusiastic about the shift to an all-IP world.

“It will benefit us all, and I hope will lead to us finding new ways to work, and fresh business opportunities as a result. However, in the past the technology tended to set the limits of what could be done.

The power might now shift to the creative team, and those extra business inputs.

Can IP save me money, as well as deliver more income?

Microsoft’s Tony Emerson (worldwide MD/media and cable) said there would also be a need to understand, and to trust, the new technology.

The panel said one strong theme that emerged from IBC was – rightly – the consumer. The DTG’s Richard Lindsay-Davies argued that while standards are inevitably important, the industry needed to work with multiple standards, not least in the cellular world, computing and the new kids of VR and AR. He also praised TiVo’s new all-embracing remote control.

One panelist reminded delegates that not so very long ago people would comment about ‘300 channels and nothing to watch’. “Now they say ‘a million pieces of content out there but how do I find what I want’.”

The panel did not ignore 4K/UHD, nor high dynamic range developments.

The EBU’s Simon Fell said most of his public service broadcasters were now testing UHD and in some cases broadcasting trials of 4K material. ITV’s Griffiths said some of the broadcaster’s high-end drama footage was now being captured in UHD.

But Fell as stressed that ‘live’ output was still a guaranteed ratings winner with audiences, and would stay as such for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, all the panelists were stressing that the industry was in a period of considerable change, and that those changes, in IP, UHD, and even the influence of the likes of Netflix, Google, Apple and Amazon, would still be in discussion a year from now.