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New Developments, Optimism Lead to Vibrant Market

Complete Coverage: IBC 2012

As IBC draws to a close on Sept. 11, attendees were reporting a relatively vibrant market, that sentiment being bolstered by several new studies released during the show on the state of broadcast industry technology.

Much of the optimism was centered around newer media, which until recently had produced more fear than optimism among broadcasters. A survey from Avid and Ovum, released at the start of IBC, found that two-thirds of the 200- plus executives surveyed from major broadcast and other media organizations were optimistic about their future, with 85% feeling that multiplatform distribution will be critical to their growth.

Broadcasters are also moving into 2013 in good financial shape, said Gary Greenfield, president/CEO of Avid. “This is an election where we are going to see the most money spent in history,” he noted. “Does that mean [broadcasters] will be buying a lot more product between now and the elections? No, but it does mean we will go into next year with healthy balance sheets, and that’s a big difference from a few years ago.”

Those sentiments were also evident in two separate reports released by the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers and the investment bank Silverwood Partners that highlighted the shift to software, IT and IPbased technologies for digital distribution.

But shifting demand is also creating “a lot of winners and losers in the market,” as well as some caution among broadcasters, said Jonathan Hodson-Walker, managing partner of Silverwood Partners. “The rate of change is so great and there are so many different ways of distributing video that people don’t want to invest a lot of money in technologies they aren’t sure will be the right technology for the future,” he said.

During the market, this shift was evident in a plethora of new solutions to handle various aspects of multiplatform delivery. “There is clearly a profound transformation in the market in how customers are spending their money and what they care about,” said Alain Andreoli, president and CEO of Grass Valley. “Building this multiplatform content delivery architecture, which includes file-based workflows and IP-based networking and content discovery, is on the forefront of what our customers are doing.”

Production systems meant to streamline the way producers and news organizations work in multiple locations was also a hot topic. During IBC, Avid released its Cloud-based Interplay Sphere system, which allows journalists to create, edit, share and publish news from the field, while Adobe launched its Adobe Anywhere distributed production system with the announcement that CNN would be deploying it.

The market also saw continuing advances in low-cost newsgathering systems. LiveU was showing its compact, lightweight LU40-S uplink device that bonds together 3G or 4G cellular connections to send back video from the field. TVU Networks introduced its TVUPack Mini SE, an ultra-portable cellular 3G/4G uplink solution designed for use with the Sony XDCAM shoulder camcorders.

Meanwhile, Dejero announced that the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is deploying the Dejero Live+ Mobile App to 100 of its national and international field reporters. This app gives reporters the ability to transmit highquality live or recorded video from an iPhone or iPad using cellular bonding technologies.

Advances in satellite newsgathering were also evident. Former BBC executive Martin Turner, who recently joined Inmarsat as director of media business, said the company is working to deploy systems offering customers more compact, yet faster methods for delivering news. These include the 2013 deployment of an improved version of Inmarsat’s widely used Began satellite uplink system that doubles streaming speeds, and the late-2013/early-2014 launch of a new Global Xpress Ka-band service offering even higher speeds.

As broadcasters looked for lighter-weight, less-expensive newsgathering solutions, vendors were also moving to satisfy the demand for lowercost production equipment, with Sony announcing a new family of mid-range switchers.

While the new MVS-3000, MVS-6530 and MVS-6520 switchers have many of the key features of Sony’s higher-end MVS switcher line, the least expensive model, the MVS- 3000, will sell for just under $40,000.

“Sony made its name in high-end broadcast equipment, but in the last five or six years, we’ve branched down into more affordable equipment,” said Mark Bonifacio, director of Sony Electronics’ live production systems group. “We’ve done that for cameras, monitors and decks. These are our first switchers for under $100,000.”

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