Harris Broadcast Communications—Mathias Eckert, VP, Sales and Services, Europe and Africa
Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2012
OTT will definitely be an important topic. This is driven by the need how to manage the increasing number of different distribution platforms and securing revenue streams as well as broadcast appropriate content via the dedicated channel.
Becoming more cost-efficient by managing more complex technology is a key trend Harris recognizes and will provide answers for during IBC.
Another trend is second screen, which means the TV remains the campfire of the family and viewer, but there is additional content to be provided via IP, etc. This enables people to search and find more information about what is being broadcaster on their TV.
Q. Any thoughts on how the current economic climate will affect the show?
IBC is a very important event for our industry, so we expect a large number of customers and partners coming to Amsterdam. That said, we recognize that for our customer it is becoming more difficult to get the travel budget approved. We recognize a high quality of customers and same number of companies, but at the same time they send less people. Of course it depends on an organisation’s investment plans and needs as to how much this trend affects the individual companies and partners.
Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2012 and that broadcasters should look for there?
As usual, Harris will have new product announcements in a number of areas of broadcast technology. Perhaps of most interest will be our first channel-in-a-box system, which will make its worldwide debut at IBC. We are really looking forward and are already excited with what we can surprise our customers and partners with.
Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
It is always important to set clear differentiation to the existing product offering of other vendors, once you develop a new product. We listened a lot and recognized the need to come up with a number of brand new ideas and solutions, which will help our customers to react and be ready for the challenges of the market in flexible and responsive ways according to future market trends.
A good example is the ability to create a scalable solution depending on budget constraints. We understand that low cost of ownership and return of investment linked with flexibility is key to success in our industry. Managing smarter workflows with integrated solutions is the path to success, we believe.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
I am based in Munich and my team (sales, pre-sales, service and customer support EA of around 100 people) covers all Europe and Africa. We believe in close customer relationships and have offices in all major countries and markets. Our large installed base allows us to have very close relationships with our customers and partners. The key to success, I believe, is trust and understanding customers’ needs whilst helping them to provide the right solutions—this is why we exist.
Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?
This is my 14th IBC. I enjoy coming to Amsterdam and meeting with our clients. I remember an event when we celebrated a great deal together with a client, but surviving the next day on the stand was a challenge! Naming one pub or the other wouldn’t be right, as I feel there is always a perfect place to go depending on the event and reason.
Q. Last year I asked whether 3D was Hope, Hype or In Between. This year I want to know similar thoughts on “social media and broadcasters.”
Good question, couldn’t become a hype, a hope or vice versa? Not sure this answers your question? To be fair, social media will be connected one way or another into our world and is already; the difference is that, compared to 3D its demands lower investment.