Broadcasters report lower broadcast equipment budgets in 2010

According to new research, 40 percent of broadcasters from the Americas report that their budgets for 2010 were lower than in the previous year. As a result, 45 percent of broadcast equipment vendors reported their sales had declined or stalled from the previous year.

The information was culled from 800 broadcast technology vendors who participated in the “2010 Big Broadcast Survey,” a comprehensive marketing survey focusing on the broadcast industry. The survey questions asked how their company’s revenues had changed over the past year in terms of percentage growth or decline.

About half of the respondents reported that their sales had increased — in some cases by quite a bit. Devoncroft Partners’ Joe Zaller, who supervised the survey, said the results caused him to dig further for more details.

The largest companies, Zaller said, primarily ones who supply hardware products, were the most impacted by the recession. Fifty-three percent of respondents from vendors with 1000 or more employees reported that their sales had either declined or stayed the same.

In terms of pure-play versus non-pure-play broadcast vendors, respondents from firms that sell more than 80 percent of their products into the broadcast industry fared slightly worse than those who sell 20 percent or less of their products into the industry.

It was small companies — software vendors and venture capital funded private firms (many of whom are small providers of software products) — who fared best.

In terms of overall growth, 50 percent of these vendors reported that their revenues had increased versus the previous year. However, when companies who provide primarily software products are considered, this number jumps to 62 percent of respondents.

Software companies led the way with sales. Twenty-one percent of respondents from vendors that sell primarily software products, and 18 percent of privately held venture capital-backed companies, reported that their revenue grew by more than 30 percent versus the previous year. And 18 percent of small companies (those with 50 employees or less) also reported that their revenues had increased by 30 percent or more.

When considering these results, Zaller said it’s important to keep in mind that revenue growth is one thing, but profitability is another. This analysis does not consider the profitability of vendors.

Zaller noted that at IBC, IABM director General Peter White stated that about 60 percent of broadcast technology suppliers are now making a profit — up considerably from last year — with European companies performing better in terms of profit performance.