Another year, another IBC. It’s the biggest media and technology show in the world, and this year brought 57,000 visitors, 1,700 exhibitors, and 400 conference speakers to Amsterdam.  It’s a great opportunity for MTM to catch up with our clients and find out what’s keeping industry executives awake at night.

This year MTM was busy – not only did we help moderate and produce a number of panel sessions on advertising, OTT sports and new technology, we also trawled the 15 halls of the event to catch up with a wide range of industry contacts and partners.

 

 

It’s a challenge to definitively capture the key topics of conversation at IBC 2018, but from our interactions we’d nominate at least five big themes or trends from this year’s event.

Innovation is everywhere as the TV industry reinvents itself

It’s not exactly hot news that the traditional TV industry is having to adjust to the growth of internet-delivered video, but it is still striking to see how rapidly companies are reinventing themselves to adjust to the new realities of a multi-platform video universe.

Broadcasters are increasingly transitioning to IP and moving processes to the cloud. It’s not about buying and selling boxes anymore: the TV industry is now a software-based ecosystem with an increasingly complex supply chain. Innovation – both in consumer-facing products and services and in B2B technologies – has become a watchword, while the speed of product development has never been faster.

You can read more about the importance of innovation in the latest Pay-TV Innovation Forum report prepared for NAGRA by MTM.

OTT video and traditional TV are converging

OTT video is no longer the fox in the henhouse at IBC – it is now being integrated into the TV industry at every level, as consumers’ adoption of OTT services has forced broadcast players to embrace new distribution platforms.

The notion of OTT is evolving too: with the growth of live streaming, OTT is no longer just about on-demand content. In a multi-platform universe, the challenge is to deliver live content (typically sports and news) to consumers as quickly as possible, whatever their device, at the highest possible quality. The challenges around distribution – for example, reducing latency so that sports streams are shown almost in real-time – were top of mind for many attendees.

To understand industry perspectives on global trends in the Premium OTT market, read MTM’s new report for Vindicia.

Advertising is moving up the agenda at IBC

IBC’s traditional focus has been the business of delivering video content to viewers, and that hasn’t fundamentally changed (even if the way in which viewers that content has). Monetising that content – typically, through advertising – has perhaps been less of a priority for exhibitors. But many are now combining IBC with a visit to Dmexco in Cologne the week before, for Europe’s largest digital marketing event. As the industry’s digital transformation continues, the data and analytics generated by new technologies are helping content providers deliver better advertising solutions too.

AI is the new VR

We heard a lot about AI (artificial intelligence) and its close relation ML (machine learning) at IBC 2018, while Android, e-Sports and Blockchain were among the buzzier topics under discussion. VR, the hot topic at previous events, seemed to take a back seat this year.

Diversity has helped revive the conference

For many broadcasters, increasing diversity in the workplace, and on screen, is an important objective. IBC followed suit this year with a welcome and concerted effort by conference organisers to create a more balanced agenda – 37% of speakers were female, up from 14% last year, and the all-male ‘manel’ was the exception rather than the norm in what felt overall like a rejuvenated conference this year. It’s fair to say that middle-aged white men in grey suits are still over-represented at IBC, but kudos to organisers for seeking to redressing the balance.