Broadcast technology market estimated at $11 billion

SINGAPORE: The global broadcast technology market is worth $11 billion and is set to grow at 11 per cent with the pace being set in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) CEO Roger Crumpton elaborated on the complex supply chain scenario while presenting the top-line findings of a global research study into the issues facing the broadcast and media technology space.


There are over 1400 technology suppliers out of which eight have a share of 45 per cent, he said.

Non-broadcast specialists are coming in from the sellers side. The role of intermediaries is growing in terms of system integration, he elaborated.

Storage and test quality control are the two areas that have seen a rise in prices as channels buy equipment. Playout and delivery and the biggest areas in broadcast technology. For broadcasters though, there is uncertainty as mergers and acquisitions are happening on the sellers side.

The dynamics of the market are complex. Indonesia, for instance, has 60 million homes half of which own a TV.

In Malaysia, the overall population is six million but 96 per cent have a TV. While 37 per cent have pay TV in Malaysia, in Indonesia it is just 0.2 per cent. More and more broadcasters will outsource technology requirements and firms like Siemens have stepped in.

Library and asset management products are growing at 25 per cent. This kind of information allows channels to know from where they can expect a good price. However, there is a problem which was focussed upon in a panel discussion.

The speakers included Tandberg Television executive VP and GM - Asia Pacific Graham Cradock, Miranda Technology president - Asia Pacific Richard Brice, Software Generation sales and marketing director, Bernie Walsh. The problem is that there are not enough IT specialists on the broadcast side and not enough broadcast specialists on the IT side. In Asia, channels expect hand holding in terms of how technology works as well as support and maintenance. They are not used to paying for it which is not the case in Europe.

Often for technologies like digital storage systems, the broadcasters are not able to spell out their exact requirements.

Free service is a cause for concern for firms like Tandberg Television. The sellers at the same time need to get their people up to speed on issues of real time in a broadcasting facility. A crunch time will be coming soon in terms of equipment and pricing.

Also, suppliers find that channels that deploy equipment on new platforms experience problems later on. It is crucial for channels to have workflows organised in terms of how technology is implemented.

While there are new software workflow tools coming out, the technology people at many channels have to be trained each time a new piece of equipment is bought.

Sometimes channels go back to the old system, which results in a waste of money. Channels need to, thus, spend money on training at centers. Also suppliers need to interact more with channels to find out their requirements.

Singapore‘s MediaCorp Technologies VP, new media Kenneth Lee offered a broadcasters perspective in terms of adapting to a rapidly changing technology environment. Technology is not a business driver but an enabler, he said.

MediaCorp did an Open TV trial for interactive TV in 2000, he elaborated. The business model for this platform at that time, however, was not viable. Now they are looking at MPEG 5, encouraged by the success of Sky Digital in the UK.

Technology is all not the be all and end all. For news, MediaCorp implemented a project, Advanced Digital Asset Management (Adam). Here there is a central server where one can pull out data for playback, editing. However the firm also made sure that their workflow was in order. So there is a project director under whom there are three groups.

MediaCorp is also trialling HDTV as it feels that now is the right time for it with prices dropping. The firm did an Air Review project and created a server based recording system on Windows Media. All content was recorded. Then the MobTV pay service was launched online. This allows people to download archival material for a fee.

Crumpton also dwelt on how content that was createsd for linear television is being used in a non linear manner. Youtube is a great example. A show called Britain‘s Go Talent featured an aspiring opera singer who works in a warehouse. On Youtube, it got 3.7 million views and 8000 comments.

IT and telecom are impacting the broadcasting space. Today one buys telephone, broadband and TV from a single source. Since India has a lower age demographic, the adoption of new technologies will be faster here. That is what suppliers and channels need to bear in mind. For channels it is good that the telecom firms who are entering broadcasting, are investing heavily on R&D.

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