Snell—Simon Derry, CEO
Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2012?
The trend toward “TV Everywhere” and the corresponding ability of consumers to access content on a variety of devices will be a central focus of the show. However, while consumer demand for multiplatform content is driving significant change within our industry, ongoing challenges such as transitioning from SD to HD, from baseband to file-based, from manual to automated workflows, and from a single linear channel to a multichannel, multiplatform content provider continue to consume broadcasters’ time and resources, and they do so during a time in which most businesses must do more with less.
Technical and financial challenges abound, and so it is not surprising that we’re seeing our customers demand solutions that satisfy both their business and technology needs. Certainly, this demand will be evident at IBC2012, and we’ll be showcasing solutions carefully engineered to help customers address both areas of their operations. We’ve built partnerships with our customers that enable us to gain a deep understanding of their needs and bring our expertise in delivering elegant and cost-effective solutions that will help them to take on the challenges of today’s marketplace and reach their goals.
Q. Any thoughts on how the current economic climate will affect the show?
Despite the current economic climate being difficult, we are confident that IBC will continue to attract a wide range of clients from all over the world. In order to face these changing market dynamics, customers will be looking for higher cost efficiencies and to engage with the social media trends. It is for this reason that we expect the IBC visitors to be ever more interested to see how technology and products are evolving. While it’s impossible to ignore the overall economic climate, we are somewhat fortunate in that Snell is a global business with a well-diversified product portfolio, so our exposure to slowing economies is balanced by our business in other parts of the world where the economy is performing better.
Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2012 and that broadcasters should look for there?
We’ll be featuring exciting new products from across the Snell portfolio. Broadcasters attending IBC2012 should look for our new Momentum media asset management (MAM) and workflow product, which is designed to address the rapid growth of TV Everywhere. With respect to playout products, we’ll be showing new features for our game-changing channel-in-a-box platform, ICE. Broadcasters also will see that our widely deployed Morpheus enterprise automation system has been enhanced with new user interfaces that further simplify monitoring tasks and, in turn, increase the volume of channels a single operator can monitor. For complete signal handling and conversion, we’ll feature our KudosPro signal-processing platform; our Vega flexible and high-performance router, and the world’s first truly asymmetric router enabling dynamic mixed connectivity environments; and we will highlight our Advanced Hybrid Processing within the Sirius 800 routers. Finally, we’ll demonstrate the live production workflow with two exciting new additions to our Kahuna family of production switchers.
Q. How is your new product offerings different from what’s available on the market?
Snell products are different from other offerings because they are built on innovation, technical excellence and deep relationships with customers that together enable creation of groundbreaking solutions that meet both users’ technical and business needs.
One key focus for us has been TV Everywhere, and both our highly integrated ICE channel-in-a-box platform and our state-of-the-art Momentum MAM workflow system target this application area. By combining what were multiple racks of hardware into just a small number of rack units and by incorporating more of the “channel” into the “box,” ICE upends the conventional economics of delivering television content to maximize commercial and operational benefits. Because ICE is driven by Morpheus, it is the only channel-in-a-box system that can truly scale from a single channel to 100+ channels, while being controlled via the same user interface. Momentum allows file-based workflows to be created and managed more effectively than ever before, enabling new efficiencies in both linear and nonlinear content delivery.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
Our headquarters is in the United Kingdom, and we have local offices in the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, China and India. Snell is a rapidly growing business and we are constantly developing and recruiting our employee base to enable us to sustain this growth whilst still delivering the service, support and values that our customers expect.
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?
I have been attending IBC for more than 15 years, and this is my 10th IBC with Snell. In addition to a variety of successful product launches, many of my fondest IBC memories are the excellent meetings with customers and partners, which the scale and timing of IBC uniquely enables versus other trade shows. Amsterdam has so many excellent restaurants, so it’s hard to pick just one. We typically stay in a hotel near the Rembrandtplein, which offers a terrific variety of choices, including a small pizza restaurant that I visit during the week of the show.
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.”
Due to the changing social behaviour and multiple devices for media consumption, we don’t believe that social media and broadcasters is hype. In fact, this is the reality today and Snell has outstanding functionality to support these new trends.
As “social TV” increases, broadcasters are looking for ways to not only interact with their viewers, but also to monetize these engagements. Snell customers can do both today.
Our Morpheus automation system provides real-time triggers and rich metadata from the primary broadcast output, allowing new levels of synchronized interactivity with online and mobile applications.
As a result, viewers can engage directly with broadcast content through interactive voting, quizzes, chat, VOD and a variety of social networks. Broadcasters get the benefit of increased audience engagement along with the opportunity to monetize these interactions via branded content, targeted advertising and integrated e-commerce.