In TVBEurope's recently completed Broadcast Industry Trends Survey 2007, conducted in partnership with Sony Professional Solutions Europe, we asked the question, 'How important is the input of outside consultants to your business?'. The results were illuminating, writes Fergal Ringrose.
The reason we asked that question is that many equipment vendors feel that end-users are either resistant to outside consultants in the broadcast business, or, perhaps more crucially, customers do want outside consultancy but don't want to pay for it. For both reasons, we went into the survey thinking that end-users would not rate the use of outside consultants very highly. We were wrong, and maybe so is the perception of many vendors. A full 75% of you think that the input of outside consultants is of high or moderate importance. That's healthy.
So we then asked the question, 'What areas do you use or would you consider using outside consultants in your business?'. If respondents are well-disposed towards consultants, for which areas of the business would they engage them? Nigh on 50% would consult on infrastructure/engineering design, storage/archive, and media asset management.
Again, this drops down to just over 30% for playout, with a further stubborn 24% saying they would not consider consulting on playout. This jumps to 31% among TV stations/networks/channels, if we filter out other respondents. We've been given the impression over the last couple of years (by interested vendors, admittedly), that playout has become something of a commodity area in the typical broadcasting operation. It seems as if that impression was inaccurate.