06 Apr Future trends in Next-Gen broadcast technology and consumer electronics
The world of technology is constantly developing and we are charged with the task of staying ahead of the game in order to keep up with the latest trends in Next Gen broadcast and consumer electronics.
As an industry that continuously encounters advancing technology and new media formats, there are a number of challenges that we face. Speaking last month at BVE about this topic was the following panel:
Mark Harrison – Managing Director, Digital Production Partnership
Tom Williams – Co-founder and CEO, UX company Ostmodern
Gideon Ferber – Head of Virtual, Ross Video
Robert Ambrose – Founder, High Green Media
Ben Foakes – Founder and CEO, BASE Media Cloud
What issues are facing broadcasters?
Harrison, DPP: “Looking to the future of technology, everybody is preparing to move businesses into the Cloud. This brings about considerations of business models, cost models, cultural changes and requires a different way of doing things. Paradoxically though, with this idea of the Cloud being an accessible space of cohesive resources and far-ranging location, the biggest issue is connectivity. We have this fantastic hosting capability that enables on-demand access to a shared pool of computer resources but we have trouble using it because of the struggle connecting to it. Whether it is consumer or professional technology, once you leave the office or home in a major city (where you have great access to high quality broadband) you’re in trouble. We just don’t have the long reaching capability at the moment to support the Cloud’s network. We are a long way from ubiquitous and high quality connectivity which is a massive gap in the developments happening in both consumer and professional worlds.”
Williams, Ostmodern: “At Ostmodern we spend our time trying to get content on to devices in the most compelling way possible and find the challenge our clients repeatedly face is the need to stay relevant to a younger audience. They want higher levels of engagement and interactivity but also need to present their content in new ways across platforms to make sure they stand out in a crowded marketplace. The economics of device proliferation just don’t stack up; distinguishing yourself amongst the dominant players within broadcasting is difficult enough without tailoring content to suit numerous platforms that are constantly expanding. They’re tasked with finding economy in the workflow or white labelling, which is inherently derivative, so they’re stuck in a cycle. There is value in owning your own content but the way of potentially overcoming this issue is working in partnership with others and bearing economy and scale in mind to become noticed. Just ensure the content is suitable for the audience and doesn’t become diluted in the process.”
Arri and Varicam showcasing their contributions to the world of broadcast technology
Ferber, Ross Video: “From an equipment and technology perspective, we’re seeing lesser budgets but a higher demand for specialised and unique content. To do this, we suggest using current equipment in a better way. We’re also seeing clients trying to reuse existing solutions from different markets and implementing them into the broadcast workflow. This doesn’t always transition smoothly. Examples of this are the exploration of VR/AR usage within the gaming industry and thinking of ways to use it for broadcast, even though there isn’t a huge engagement with VR/AR in the this arena. There is also a push to make truly original content using a plethora of mediums. By overlaying more graphic content that is entertaining and interactive, the audience gets more out of their experience without the client going bankrupt. Broadcasters are emulating new dimensions and using traditional ideas but beginning to develop them via alternate methods, which is a step in the right direction.”
Ambrose, High Green Media: “We are looking at what consumers are doing as it influences everything in the media industry. There are 2 extremes of video production quality. Firstly we have between 15-30% of UK households with UHD televisions where content makers are able to develop high quality content to suit this format via the demand and opportunity model. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum whereby the quality of the content is lower and consumed as ‘snacking content’ on a mobile device, but is used more as a tool for reaching an audience. It is the consumer marketplace that decides the future of broadcast, not the content makers. We live in a reactive market and more frequently we see content dictated by the manufacturers, as they create the technology capable of distributing the content first. As we know, everything is about quick consumption and we must forecast far in advance in order to stay up to speed.”
Foakes, BASE Media Cloud: “Broadcasters can be slow to pick up on and partner with new platforms which can be a big risk to their business. To stay relevant, they have to invest in trialling new devices and platforms alongside launching products using the Cloud technology that is available to them. We can get frustrated by the limitations of the Cloud’s infrastructure as we build businesses around the premise that it should be as easy as possible to consume content from the editing stage right through to archiving. We can see the technology revolution with streaming services producing their own content and enabling ‘cord cutting’ to occur (opting to cancel subscriptions to terrestrial television and consuming media over the Internet). There are now technologies for smaller companies and freelancers, such as pay-as-you-go software, that enable the use of tools that used to be expensive and exclusive to large production companies and broadcasters. Now, anyone can be a broadcaster with minimal cost, skills and training, due to online platforms and video capable hardware. We must be malleable to the emergence of technology; we can’t change the rise of more broadcasters but we can look to the future to problem solve.”
Whilst anyone can be a content producer and broadcaster, the industry still strives for professional and exceptionally talented creators. Although there is a long way to go until these challenges are addressed effectively, content creators must stay ahead of the game by forecasting the consumer’s needs – a difficult task, but since when was our industry a walk in the park?
To see video content from our freelancers, look at our online showreel gallery.