Europe’s largest broadcaster conference IBC 2017 ended last week with more questions than answers. We are only just scratching the surface of what is going to be a disruptive few years for TV and video production.
On arrival at IBC, the first impression that every visitor had is that Google has landed. Registration happens inside the front doors of Hall 14 – and immediately to the right of the registration Google had set up camp. This is worth noting because last year they were in the back corner of the hall where footfall was light and the years before that they were… well, they were there, you just couldn’t find them. They didn’t take a stand. No matter how much worked on your search engine optimisation, the only place they could be found was on the occasional stage talking about various versions of Android TV and Google TV before that.
The next thing that was noticeable was what one engineer I spoke to was called the “race into space”. The race is simply the realisation that the cloud is not the enemy and that in fact it can offer quite a few enhancements to broadcast television. The message from the floor: beware those who continue to ignore the inevitable hybrid model of on-premise and cloud deployment.
But the thing that got me the most was coming to terms with the complexity of it all. There is a lot of money in television – north of half a trillion dollars in ad revenue and subs every year – which means there is a lot of pie to be shared out. But if you stand back and think about it in very simple terms – IBC 2017 was a conference for 60,000 engineers whose job it is to get pictures from a camera on to a screen. Why is it so complicated? Seems like we are making things overly difficult for ourselves.
One of the things that strikes you when you delve into the world of broadcast is the endless acronyms and technologies that differentiate one thing from the next. What is frustrating is the inevitable overlap between technologies. As for the acronyms and semantics, confusion and distrust reign when “end to end” is used to describe almost every “asset management” platform.
Media Asset Management
Take for example the difference between a Media Asset Management platform and a Digital Asset Management platform or MAMs and DAMs. Historically, TV was all about MAMs because they dealt with moving media while non-moving media (like images and documents) were handled by DAMs.
But it is absurd to think that a DAM wouldn’t also be a MAM or vice versa. Or is it? Turns out there is very little knowledge about DAMs at IBC whereas half the conference is devoted to MAMs. In fact, if you were to look at Forrester’s list of the largest DAMs in the world – not a single one was represented at IBC. On the other hand, the world’s largest MAMs – Adobe and Avid – were two of the busiest brands at the event. I smell an opportunity.
So why should we care about MAM’s and DAMs? Because like with all things in our digital world, the fragmented broadcast ecosystem is going to have to start converging before we are left with a whole lot of technologies that simply don’t talk with each other.
5 Distruptors to the Digital Asset Management Ecosystem
Here is a list of 5 things that Forrester rightly pointed out in a paper earlier this year that are going to disrupt the DAM ecosystem. The interesting thing is that they are also disrupting the MAM ecosystem and the TV ecosystem:
1. Cloud deployment. The fact that we no longer have to buy tin boxes and store them in the basement means that we can manage video from anywhere.
2. Convergence with other digital experience solutions. Time for MAMs to start thinking like DAMs and vice versa.
3. Analytics capabilities to measure content performance. GroupM launches their Finecast platform next week which is supposed to do this for advertising. We will see how Nielsen and Comscore view it over time. Regardless of whether it succeeds and becomes a standard, the strategy is right.
4. Integration to support flexibility. Can you spell API? This is how the cloud exercises its might.
5. Machine learning to support metadata. Nothing like a few buzz words like machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to get 60,000 engineers excited and looking forward to next year.
All in all, broadcast is in a good place. The incumbents continue to reign supreme and change will be gradual. However, broadcasters need to start thinking more like the big digital platforms by leading the change if they really want to be the masters of their own destiny.