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By the Numbers

In Part 2 of our series looking at industry spending plans, we examine the state of editing technology. The data in this report was gathered from Broadcast Engineering readers in late winter.

The field of editing is one area in which old habits die hard. I was recently in one of the largest TV network newsrooms in Japan. In that one room, I counted more than 100 Sony decks assembling news clips by the old punch-and-crunch method. Why not use NLE? For their particular application, VTR editing is reliable, well understood and relatively inexpensive. Who can argue with that? So what are the NLE plans for our U.S. readers?

Who has NLE capability?

Production and cable facilities rank highest in terms of NLE usage. However, there's not a lot of difference based on the type of facility. Television stations rank lowest in terms of NLE capability, running at 57 percent, and post production houses barely higher at 61 percent. The production and cable locations show the highest current usage of NLE at 68 percent. Combined, 60 percent of all types of facilities report having NLE capability.

Adding new NLE this year?

Respondents were then asked about their plans to purchase NLE technology in 2001. A disappointing 32 percent of television stations report any plans to buy additional NLE capability this year. Looking at the other side of this equation, almost 52 percent of the TV stations said they would not be adding NLE technology this year. Sixteen percent did not answer the question.

The numbers are much better for production, cable and post facilities. About 51 percent of the production and cable facilities report that they will be buying new NLE hardware this year. About the same percentage of post houses, 49 percent, say they plan to add to their NLE equipment lineup in the next nine months.

Looking at the overall response, almost 49 percent said they would not buy NLE equipment this year. Twelve percent of the respondents did not answer this question. So, is NLE hot? I think not.

How much will you spend?

It's hard to know whether the answer to this question is good or bad news, at least as a measure of industry health. The survey asked for predicted equipment budgets for seven classes of equipment. It turned out that spending for NLE was the second highest, led only by planned spending on cameras and lenses.

Predicted spending for NLE equipment this year is $72,833. That will buy you a lot of software packages, or a small but full-featured newsroom or production system.