IBC2002: The show goes on
Nobody is as eager to put IBC2001 behind them as the IBC2002 exhibitors. Not only are the Americans, who were virtually non-existent last year, ready to demo their wares, but interviews with European companies revealed that they too want IBC back to normal.
The one hitch in the scenario this year is how the uncertain economic conditions on both sides of The Pond will impact visitor attendance. After the drop-off experienced at NAB2002 six months ago, IBC2002 may suffer the same fate. On the other hand, as the NAB exhibitors agreed, those who do attend represent quality buyers.
With this in mind, Broadcast Engi-neering's World Edition asked a cross section of exhibitors:
“What are the major technical issues and trends as we head into IBC2002?
Leitch Europe vice president sales & marketing
In today's difficult markets, there has been consolidation among manufacturers and broadcasters, causing them to focus on their core businesses. This core business trend is quite important to customers who are looking to stay with the long-term players.
The digital infrastructure is well established in Europe, and now broadcasters are looking at cost of ownership and operational efficiency. On the engineering side, the conversion from tape to network-based server systems continues in Europe. But underpinning all of the technical issues is the demand for open architecture and complete interoperability.
We have seen a shift in the way customers are viewing manufacturers. In the old days of analog systems, which were put together by systems integrators, it was quite easy to connect some cables and make a system work. Now, because it is all computer-based and connected by Ethernet, integrators have less ability to make it work. It's really upon the manufacturers getting together and agreeing that the protocols and the file transfers will work together.
Hamlet managing director
The technical issues of terrestrial DTV and HD production and distribution are overshadowed by a broadcast industry at a standstill — where the exchange medium is DigiBeta or Beta SP, where people are having second thoughts about DTV and HD programming. At present, we remain firmly entrenched in the technology of yesteryear. Cost reduction and programming on the cheap are the orders of the day.
NVISION director of marketing
It seems like everyone is searching for the ‘right’ business model, one that will enable them to justify the cost of updating and upgrading their facilities. On the broadcast side, this seems to be driving a trend toward more and more consolidation — a consolidation of station ownership, a consolidation of facilities and, ultimately, a consolidation of jobs.
On the post-production side, the trend is toward diversification. Video post houses are pursuing new customers and new revenue streams by offering new services like DVD authoring and post production for e-cinema. In my view, this is an opportune time for the people who really understand this business to grow and gain market share.
Mohan G. Mysore
Ciprico marketing manager entertainment & media
What this industry needs are systems that are easy and simple to install and use. In other words, plug and play. The pressure on ROE (return on investment) is increasing as well as the need to go digital. The challenge is how to grow the revenue and still keep the bottom line in a healthy condition.
Irdeto Access CEO
Reviewing the turmoil in the media industries, people are getting back to the basics and concentrating on what they do best to make money where they can. As a consequence, aspirations for new and beautiful shiny things have been tarnished.
Thanks to shining markets such as China and the opportunities created by increased concern with content protection globally, we are weathering the storm.
My message is that these are very turbulent times, with lots of rapid change and lots of sorry tales out there, but there is opportunity, and we feel that we are getting our fair share of that opportunity.
Snell & Wilcox director of product marketing
The theme is the business case for quality. Among the benefits would be faster throughput to save time and zero defects to avoid redoing the same process.
Customers are looking to extract the maximum value from their content and also protect their content for future exploitation in as many markets as they can reach. Master Once, Re-purpose Many describes the current philosophy.
In terms of the technologies, an important trend in both cable and broadcasting is open standards. Open standards is important not only as far as the interoperability of products within a cable network, but also because it makes it simpler for all the parties involved — content providers, vendors, partners, programmers, cable operators — to be integrated.
Panther GmbH marketing manager
Panther GmbH is arriving at IBC with a new mission. We have concluded that we cannot live on the cinema industry alone and are diversifying into the broadcast market. We will introduce our first broadcast products at IBC.
There are three ways to go: We can adapt existing products for video, we can take over marketing of products from partners, and we can develop products purely for the video market.
Grass Valley CEO
IBC will be the first major exhibition for the integrated Thomson Grass Valley since the acquisition of GVG by Thomson Broadcast. Although the broadcast market is flat, we are cautiously optimistic. Thomson Grass Valley will continue to invest heavily in R&D. Manufacturing has been streamlined, and support departments are in place around the world.
IBIS director of marketing
People are waking up to the fact that what they need is more information systems management. It is a link between the various elements of their broadcast business as seamless as possible. People want to maximize all of their information systems. The objective is value for money.
Guy Le Carvennec
Thales Broadcast vice president strategy & communications
Despite setbacks for DVB-T in the UK and Spain, Thales Broadcast will be at IBC to follow the roll-out in other countries such as France and Germany. The market in Europe is in the ‘watching phase,’ certainly linked to what is happening to the DVB broadcast operators in the UK, Sweden, and Spain. DVB is gaining acceptance worldwide outside Europe, thus making the international attendance at IBC more important.
New Skies vice president marketing
Having launched the company three years ago with five satellites inherited from INTELSAT, New Skies is going to IBC to focus on four new satellites of our own. The first, NSS 7, was put in orbit in April over the Atlantic Region. The second is due to launch next month as NNS 6 with an Asian footprint. We will re-deploy an existing satellite as NSS 5. NSS 8 will be launched next year.
All of this activity will depend heavily on video business. When we took over the INTELSAT satellites, about 70 percent of our business was video, and about 30 percent was telephony. But over the last three years, we have built up a huge Internet business.
This year, we are returning to our roots by providing more services to the video community. After three years of focusing on the IP business, we realized that we had neglected our video base. We realized that we could apply lessons learned from the IP experience to video services.
Studer product manager
A key technical issue at IBC will be ergonomic user interfaces. The digital signal processing technology inside today's consoles is no longer a main issue. What the people need now, particulary in television broadcasting, is proper user interface.
PESA senior vice president sales & marketing
Echoing a catch phrase of a decade ago, it's the economy that's the problem. It has nothing to do with technical.
DK-Audio sales & marketing director
The current flatness of the broadcast markets has not affected audio metering very much. I don't know whether it's because of the prominent interest in surround sound. The fact that loudness is being discussed frequently in metering is another good sign for audio companies.
EVS Broadcast Equipment product marketing manager
Recessions or not, major sports events go on. Slow-motion equipment was used at the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup this year. With slow-motion servers, for that field of activities, we are hardly influenced by global trends. We are strongly influenced by the major sports events.