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Hot or not? Avoiding another 3D

Day Two of the inaugural MediaTech 360 Summit is in full swing

Day Two of the inaugural MediaTech 360 Summit is in full swing.

Chaired by Virtual AI CMO Niall Duffy, Day Two is focusing on various areas of business transformation throughout the broadcast and media industry.

Delivering the opening address, Duffy said: “What we have to understand is whether this industry change is metamorphous – are we leaving the old ways behind and becoming something beautiful – or are we just enhancing?

He shortly handed over to Jon Watts, managing partner and co-founder, MTM, to moderate the first panel of the day: Hot or not – top tech trends through to 2022.

Watts was joined by; Peter Sellar, associate director, broadcast, DTG; Louise Rice, chief executive,; Neil Berry, vice president and managing director, international, Comcast Technology Solutions; and Tom Griffiths, director of broadcast and distribution technology, ITV.

The right use case
Kicking off proceedings with an overview of the speed and velocity of the broadcast industry, Sellar said: “I don’t think technology changes as fast as we think. Even when we come up with a new technology, we’re waiting for 18-24 months for them to come into the market, and then longer for end-users and consumers to use them – at least widely.”

“We talk about VR, UHD, etcetera –we’ve been talking about them for quite a few years and they’re only really coming into fruition now. UHD is the perfect example. It’s been a step-change – we’ve added things like HDR and wide colour gamut piece by piece.

“I don’t think we need to worry too much about that – you can generally see these changes coming.”

Berry chimed in: “I would say the change in tech is accelerating, not decelerating. We’re all changing the way that we consume and behave around content, and that’s really what’s driving the change.

“Technologies like AR and VR are all about the right use case and building a business model around it.”

But what are the challenges involved in that ‘right use case’?

Griffiths said: “There are so many opportunities with various new technologies that it’s difficult not to get distracted.

“At ITV, we try not to get technology for technology’s sake and ensure that it’s part of our strategy, and is beneficial to drive our business forward.”

Jumping in too early
Berry alluded to 3D as a classic example of acting too fast: “Many TV manufacturers have now discontinued 3D televisions, after it was such a hype in the past.

“We thought it was really cool – much like AR now, but in this case, there was no market for it. There was nothing really to drive viewers and subscribers.”

Hot or not?
The conversation moved on to the ‘hot or not’ section of the discussion, where panellists were given various technologies and asked whether they consider them – you guessed it – hot or not.

On IP networking and content delivery

Sellar: IP’s here, everyone is using it, it’s fantastic of course, but it’s cooling.

Rice: “It’s opened up this massive library of content and enabling people to get out there, so it’s still hot.”

Berry: “This ship has sailed, so I wouldn’t say it’s hot. It’s kind of standard now and it’s what people expect.”

Griffiths: “It’s still hot in the production space. In content delivery, it’s old news.”

On cloud-based solutions and virtualisation for media aggregation and distribution

Sellar: “It’s hot, people are moving into it. From an OTT perspective you want to be able to scale, and cloud offers that. All broadcasters and platforms are thinking in the same way – they may not have done it yet, but they’re all moving in the same direction.

Berry: “Everything needs to be totally scalable in this day and age – now that cloud services are being heavily standardised, it’s now allowing linear and OTT to be made available in the same place.”

Griffiths: “Very hot – there’s no debate about it at ITV – it unlocks brand new business opportunities in terms of content delivery, but it will still take a little while for some companies to get there as there are costs involved.

On the potential effects of AI and machine learning on the media market

Sellar: ”A specific one I’ve seen is a technology where you could automate the tracking of whether something is being streamed legally or illegally. That’s a very interesting one considering the current issues and discussions surrounding services such as Kodi.”

Griffiths: “It’s still at an experimental stage, so it’s not hot just yet, but it’s certainly warming up. We’re looking at it – machine learning more than AI. We’re investigating applications – it’s finding those killer apps for it that really work.”

Three more panels are taking place this afternoon, including TV is not dead, it is reborn, featuring Google’s Justin Gupta, the DPP’s Mark Harrison and Sundog Media Toolkit’s Richard Welsh.

An in-depth write up of the tech trends panel session, along with the rest of the exciting insight and debate encompassed by MediaTech 360, will be available in the coming weeks.