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Q&A with IBC CEO Michael Crimp

What are your expectations for this year’s IBC? Last year we welcomed 55,092 total attendees, from well over 100 countries around the world. This information is available on www.ibc.org, where you will find demographics of who has attended IBC over the last six years. You will see that our influence is growing stronger. The proportion […]

What are your expectations for this year’s IBC?

Last year we welcomed 55,092 total attendees, from well over 100 countries around the world. This information is available on www.ibc.org, where you will find demographics of who has attended IBC over the last six years.

You will see that our influence is growing stronger. The proportion of visitors who are at board level continues to grow, up to almost a quarter of all attendees last year.

We have consciously tailored our offering towards decision makers, through business and strategic conference sessions, through added value events which help put technology into context, and through networking and engagement opportunities like Touch & Connect.

Yes, the exhibition is bigger than ever this year, and yes, we expect the total number of visitors to increase. But that is much less important to me than the relationships which are built here. IBC is about influencing the industry throughout the year, not just six days in Amsterdam.

Is OTT a hot topic at the moment?

As an industry, we are good at accepting change. In part that is because we are a creative industry, which means we relish the challenge of the new. So smart broadcasters look on OTT as an opportunity not a threat, a new chance to engage with audiences.

As ever, IBC is the forum where all sides of the industry, and traditional and new media specialists, come together to find common ground. A great example was the opening keynote debate in the conference on Thursday morning. Three broadcasters – BBC from Europe, OSN from the Middle East and Scripps from the USA – were joined by the head of Android TV from Google to talk about the collaborative prospects for the future. Success comes from sharing knowledge.

What about mobile video?

Everywhere you go around IBC, people are talking variants on TV Everywhere. It is clear that consumers want to determine when, where and how they watch. According to the Ooyala Global Video Index, content on tablets and smartphones grew by a staggering 100% between the first quarter last year and the same quarter this year.

One of the challenges in achieving this complete ubiquity for content is the network capacity. This is an interesting problem, because it is not under the direct control of content providers. We are reliant on networks and ISPs to build out the capacity, and that is happening at different paces in different parts of the world.

But a clear indication of how important we see mobile content consumption for the future of the industry is that this year’s International Honour for Excellence award goes to ARM. The highest accolade IBC bestows, it reflects the huge advances ARM has made in processing technology.

Not only are its chips at the heart of virtually every smartphone and tablet, their embedded processing is also driving forward network capabilities. That is absolutely relevant to IBC2015, and why the company is a worthy winner of this award.

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