2018 is the tenth year Devoncroft conducted the Big Broadcast Survey (BBS), a global study of broadcast and media sector trends, technology purchasing plans, and benchmarking of broadcast technology vendor brands.
This is the first of a series of articles discussing excerpts of the BBS. For those parties interested in a more detail review of the data gathered in the 2018, there are several reports available for immediate delivery. We have also created the agenda for the upcoming Devoncroft Executive Summit based on the data gathered in the 2018 Big Broadcast Survey. We hope to see you there.
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. Once again in 2018, several thousand broadcast professionals in 100+ countries took part in the BBS, making it the largest and most comprehensive market study ever conducted in the global broadcast and media industry. We recognize it is a lengthy and detailed survey, so are especially thankful that you take time from your busy schedules to participate. Further, we read (and very much appreciate) all of the feedback on how to continue to evolve the survey.
One key output 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 2018 BBS project, we decided to add both “Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning” and “Cyber Security”, and remove “Analog switch-off.”
The 2018 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index
To create the 2018 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, we presented BBS respondents with a list of 20 industry trends and asked them to identify the one “most important” trend to their business, the one “second most important” trend to their business, and the other trends (plural) they consider “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 the goal from this question is to help clients gain insight into the business drivers behind the respondent’s answer. (We ourselves use the data for this purpose). 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 2018 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index is shown below.
When reviewing the data presented above, readers should note the following about the 2018 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 2018 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.
Analysis of the 2018 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index
For the ninth year in a row, Multi-platform content delivery was the most commercially important trend to the Broadcast and Media Industry. This is not surprising given the continued focus of global media companies to reach consumers across distribution mediums and devices.
Having now tracked the technology deployment decisions for Multi-platform content delivery over the past decade, it is interesting to observe the recent divergence in media company strategies. Strategies vary on the questions of go-it-alone vs. partner, own vs. outsource, or even build vs. buy. How these questions are answered by media companies will have considerable consequences to all constituents in the media sector.
While Multi-platform content delivery remains the top commercial trend to respondents, the margin has narrowed meaningfully versus prior years. For the purposes of contrast, please note the 2017 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index below.
What is immediately clear from a comparison of the data visualizations for each year is just how much the top trends have converged in level of importance. 2018 was the first time in almost nine years there has been a close second and a close third to Multi-platform content delivery.
The second most important trend was ‘IP networking & content delivery,’ which experienced a noticeable year-over-year increase in importance to technology end-users.
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.
As interesting as tracking the state of IP-based infrastructure deployments is measuring the progress of the new operational models and business practices enabled by the technology. “We are not going to IP for the sake of going to be IP” is a familiar refrain from technology end-users. New operational moels are the purpose of moving to IP-based infrastructure. Those new operational models are at an even earlier stage of adoption than the technology, though several data points within the BBS reflect significant developments in 2018.
Ranked #3 in the 2018 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.
The extent to which 4K/UHD will drive infrastructure upgrades is still a point of discussion in the sector. What is clear from the year-over-year increase – and number #3 ranking – is the considerable enthusiasm for 4K/UHD, especially on the part of production professionals. I witnessed this enthusiasm firsthand when speaking at the 4KHDR Summit in 2016. The growth of that showcase over the past two years has been remarkable.
In the 2018 BBS Global Market Report, we provide significant coverage of the transition of global broadcast infrastructure. 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 2018. We have been tracking Cloud technology deployments (public and private) in the global media industry since 2011.
There is a substantial amount of additional data captured in the 2018 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 2018 BBS Global Market Report (available for purchase).
In addition, to better illustrate the adoption profile of Cloud in the media sector, we are in the process of updating and expanding Devoncroft’s M&E Cloud Adoption Index.
The “Move to automated workflows” moved up from #7 in 2017 to the #5 ranked trend in the 2018 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index. The increase in importance aligns with the heightened focus of global media companies on streamlining and automating digital supply chains.
“Remote Production” (or “REMI” in the United States) was the #6 trend in 2018. While “Remote Production” has been a highly ranked trend among sports professionals for the past five years, this is the highest ranking of “Remote Production” among all global respondents to the Big Broadcast Survey. It suggests the trend is increasing in importance to the broader Broadcast and Media Industry.
There are quite a few other interesting things to consider in the BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index, including a reflection on those trends decreasing in importance.
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 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 2018, the transition to HD operations declined further, now ranking #16.
The information in this article is based on select findings from the 2018 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 2018 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 2018 BBS data set. For more information about this report, please contact Devoncroft Partners
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