This is the first in a series of articles about findings from Devoncroft’s 2017 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), an annual global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Several thousand broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2017 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry.
Measuring the Most Important Trends in the Broadcast and Digital Media Technology Industry
We would like to start by again thanking all the professionals who participate in the BBS each year. We recognize it is a lengthy and detailed survey, so are especially thankful that you take time from your busy schedules to participate, and we love (and read all of) your feedback.
One of the key outputs from the BBS is the annual BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. This is a ranking of the broadcast industry trends that are considered by BBS respondents the most commercially important to their businesses in any given year.
In order to ensure the relevance of the trends we measure each year, we spend a considerable amount of time seeking feedback about the structure of our reports from a wide variety of industry professionals.
As part of this process, the composition of the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is reviewed each year in conjunction with Devoncroft clients, broadcast technology end-users, and a variety of domain experts. New trends are added to the Index when BBS stakeholders believe that the value of this additional trend information outweighs the resulting distortion of the year-over-year comparisons.
A deliberately conservative strategy is used when considering adjustments to the index. By keeping changes to a minimum, we allow for a more straightforward comparison of how trends were ranked versus previous iterations of the survey.
Based on discussions with clients, end-users, and experts during the planning stages of the 2017 BBS project, we decided to add both “High Dynamic Range (HDR)” and “Next generation broadcasting (ATSC 3.0, DVB T-2 etc)”, and remove “Remove Reduction in carbon emissions / other green initiatives.”
The 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index
To create the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 19 industry trends and asked them to identify the one trend they consider to be “most important” to their business, the one trend they consider to be “second most important” to their business, and the other trends (plural) they consider to be “also very important.”
We then apply a statistical weighting to these results, based on how research participants ranked the commercial importance of each trend.
Please note that our goal from this question is to help clients gain insight into the business drivers behind the respondent’s answer. Therefore, respondents were asked to rank these trends in the context of the commercial importance to their business, rather than “industry buzz,” or “cool technology,” or marketing hype. The 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is shown below.
When reviewing the data presented above, readers should note the following about the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index:
- It is a measure of what research participants say is commercially important to their businesses in the future, not what they are doing now, or where they are spending money today (these topics will be addressed in future posts)
- The chart above is visualized as a weighted index, not as a measure of the number of people that said which trend was most important to them
- It measures the responses of all technology purchasers (i.e. non-vendors) who participated in the 2017 BBS, regardless of company type, company size, geographic location, job title, etc. Thus the responses of any demographic group such as a particular company type or geographic location may vary widely from the results presented in this article.
Analyzing the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index
Multi-platform content delivery (MPCD) is cited by a wide margin as the most important trend commercially to respondent businesses. This is not surprising given the continued rise of new distribution mediums and devices. Indeed, research participants have repeatedly stated multi-platform content delivery is the most commercially important trend to their business since the 2010 edition of the BBS.
However, our discussions with broadcasters, content owners, and technology vendors indicate that despite the obvious fact that the way content is delivered and consumed has changed forever, this is only now beginning to translate into profitable revenue streams for end-users. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and these have significant implications for content owners, broadcasters, and technology vendors.
There are quite a few other interesting things to consider in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.
For over the past decade and a half the transition to HDTV operations has been a major driver of end-user technology budgets, and therefore technology product sales. The first BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, published in 2009, ranked the transition to HD as the #1 trend globally. In the almost decade since, the transition to HD operations has drifted lower in the rankings based on the continued adoption of HD technology infrastructure globally. For the first time in 2014, the transition to HD operations was not ranked among the top five trends by respondents, instead ranking #6. In 2017, the transition to HD operations declined further, now ranking #15.
A trend also showing maturity in the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is “file-based / tapeless workflows.” While the trend ranked #4 in the 2016 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend index, it declined to #11 in the 2017 index.
Over the past decade, we’ve observed a pattern whereby broadcasters, who have invested considerable time, effort, and money into transitioning their operations to HD, next shifted their focus towards increasing the efficiency of their operations. As a result, efficiency became a key driver of broadcast technology purchasing. The results of the 2017 index suggests file-based workflow penetration has passed a milestone of maturity. Greater detail is available on the state of file-based workflow penetration in the 2017 BBS Market Report.
A trend that has increased in importance over the past several years is “IP networking & content delivery,” which is ranked as the #2 most important trend in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index.
The move to IP-based infrastructure has increased in importance in response to several market developments. Based on our research, end-user motivations for moving to IP-based infrastructure are more nuanced than simply generating operational efficiencies, though this goal is an important component. Rather, end-user responses to the Big Broadcast Survey are consistent with a more encompassing goal of moving to fundamentally different technology infrastructures to better support evolving media business models.
While the move to IP-based infrastructure is still at the stage of early adopters in broadcast operational environments, there were several notable developments during 2017, which are reflected in the research gathered in the 2017 BBS Reports.
The #3 ranked trend in the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is “4K / UHD.” Many in the industry believe 4K / UHD is the next major driver of infrastructure upgrades – similar to the transition to HD over a decade ago.
We provide significant coverage of the transition of global broadcast infrastructure in the 2017 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase). This includes a breakdown of the current and projected future infrastructure installment across analog, standard definition, high definition, 3Gbps operations, and 4K / UHD.
“Cloud computing / virtualization,” is the #4 ranked trend in 2017. It is not surprising “Cloud computing / virtualization” is a highly rated given the broader excitement in the technology sector for leveraging cloud infrastructure.
But what are buyers of broadcast technology actually planning to deploy in the cloud, and do they actually trust cloud technology? Perhaps more than any other topic, the industry’s plans for cloud have evolved considerably over the past several years.
There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2017 BBS on what technology segments end-users are deploying and planning to deploy cloud services, along with what efficiencies they hope to achieve by deploying cloud Services. This data is presented in the 2017 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).
“Improvements in compression efficiency,” which is ranked #5 in the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is consistent with the desire for increased efficiency. With content distribution models having migrated from single linear broadcast channels, to multi-channel Pay TV playout, to a totally on-demand environment, high quality compression is a critical success factor for broadcasters and content playout platforms.
A plethora of new channels, and the desire for simultaneous bandwidth saving and increased image quality for MPCD services have driven an increasing focus on high quality compression systems. For the past several years this has resulted in better MPEG-2 and H.264 compression products for primary distribution, contribution, and redistribution to consumers. H.265 (HEVC) compression technology holds the promise of further reducing the bandwidth required to deliver high quality images, particularly for 4K / UHD channels.
The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2017 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast industry trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands. Several thousand broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the 2017 BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the broadcast industry. The BBS is published annually by Devoncroft Partners.
Granular analysis of these results is available as part of various paid-for reports based on the 2017 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners.
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