Sessions Explore the Digital Dividend and Content Production

As broadcasters make the transition from analogue to digital TV one of the most controversial topics in the industry has become The Digital Dividend — an issue that IBC is putting under the microscope on Saturday 13 September.

The fact is governments and regulators face some difficult decisions on what to do with the leftover spectrum (the digital dividend) once the switch-off is complete.

And not surprisingly, everyone has conflicting views about how this left over spectrum should be used. Potential users of the dividend include mobile phone companies, broadcasters for both digital TV and HD services, as well as wireless Internet and broadband providers, to name a few.

In Spain the Government has indicated that all spectrum cleared by analogue TV will be used for digital TV services, while the European Commission proposes that member states should save at least half the radio spectrum for wireless Internet services.

In the United Kingdom meanwhile regulator Ofcom has come under fire from manufacturers, trade bodies and broadcasters for auctioning off spectrum without ring-fencing a proportion for public service broadcasters’ digital terrestrial HD channels.

The IBC session “Great idea for the digital dividend — but what about the business plan” will explore the relative economics of using the digital dividend to provide these different services.

Because spectrum is a publicly owned, natural resource the session will also examine how society can best benefit from the reallocation of spectrum and how priorities are likely to vary from country to country, and why this might be.

The session will be chaired by Gregory Bensberg, one of Ofcom’s key advisors who himself has had to weigh up how to release spectrum and enable innovative services that will deliver benefits to U.K. citizens and consumers.

Other sessions to address this theme include “The beginners guide to spectrum management,” designed to provide managers with they key facts needed to grasp this on-going debate; and “The Great Spectrum land rush” in which three speakers from competing mediums — HD, mobile and broadband — all put their cases forward.

For every cinematographer who hates the idea of everyone on set seeing his work on a monitor there is a Red user who loves the compressed link to Final Cut Pro and control of his own creative destiny.

While the film vs. tape debate has been running at IBC for the past decade or so, Saturday’s Masterclass, “Why has film not yet been killed off?,” promises to offer a refreshing and interactive take on this issue.

The session is designed to be a hype-debunking and issue-bashing discussion between David Stump, chairman of the American Society of Cinematographers’ camera sub-committee and Glenn Kennel, vice president and general manager for feature films at post giant Laser Pacific.

They plan to use illustrative production clips and both the chairman (veteran industry scribe, George Jarrett) and the speakers will set out to interact with the audience.

Broadcast engineering and IT are often portrayed as being technologies at odds with each other, but is there any way that practitioners can create the best of both worlds? On Sunday, 14 September, IBC’s conference theme day — Content Production: Technology, Creativity and Business, explores this issue and others as the content production chain continues its rapid transformation.

Other sessions within this theme include: “Tapeless infrastructure,” which features three participants, including John Maxwell Hobbs, the head of technology at BBC Scotland, who will discuss the impact that going tapeless has had on their organization. “Are we Live?” meanwhile, looks at live production infrastructure in the wake of HD, 3D and digital cinema.

“A fast forward to the future” will also see Adrian Scott, Pro-Bel’s director and chief marketing officer, quiz the course leaders of several training establishments from across Europe on what interests their students and how this might shape the future.

The “What Caught My Eye” sessions on the IBC conference proramme are a great starting point for time-pressed delegates and first time visitors looking to get a snap shot of the show before heading into the exhibition.

Sunday’s session, which features Mike Short, vice president of mobile company 02 and chairman of the GSM Association, will look at some of the cutting-edge developments where the worlds of broadcasting and mobile technology converge.

He explains: “The format is very much a summary for delegates to come and see what has been happening and the future of mobile TV and the mobility of media — highlighting some of the trends plus taking examples from the show floor.”

According to Short, new and future innovations will include screens anywhere at any time including in shopping malls and cars. And future plug-ins for mobile devices such as a pair of wearable glasses (similar to headphones) that plug into your iPod and enable the user to watch TV or see content in 3D.

Where mobile meets Internet will be another main focus point, as Short adds, “We are heading for four billion mobile phones this year worldwide and by 2010 all will have Internet capability. This capability will open up interactivity and take mobile to the next level and transform the mobile phone into a viewing and storage device.”