The big news at IBC 2018– like the news from its American cousin, the NAB Show in April – was “Content,” with a capital “C,” how to deliver it faster and more economically. Monetization, too, was huge. “ROI” was as common as Heineken on the lips of attendees.
Visitors packed booths showing the latest cloud-based technologies and software-based solutions focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and technology focusing on the content supply chain.
Hall 14 — the traditional home of all things over-the-top spilled into adjacent — and some distant — halls as the industry erases the boundaries between legacy and next-gen distribution.
Streamlining and accelerating the content supply chain has become crucial… content isn’t making money if it’s not out in the marketplace. As Brinton Miller, EVP of technology, strategy and architecture at Discovery said:
“You need to be able to scale up and scale down as quickly as possible,” he said, noting that the move to a content supply chain is a fundamental, data-driven change, “a moment where we re-image all aspects of the operation.”
How to monetize online content remained a popular topic. Most attendees agreed there’s plenty of content to go around, especially since over-the-top distribution was the future that already had arrived. ROI increasingly is coming back to reducing the time and cost to produce and distribute content widely, and keeping that content supply chain well-oiled. The OTT industry is maturing and, like any maturing industry, it’s looking for new ways to make money in addition to increasing revenues from traditional products.
Of course, delivery remained a focal point, and booths, panels and keynotes talking about next-gen wireless 5G drew big crowds. Attendees acknowledged 5G was a tool they had been waiting for, and they showed a willingness to engage with it, especially since 5G isn’t just an improvement to mobile service, it’s likely to replace current last mile technologies to the home, making mobile delivery “the delivery” method to homes, as well.
There were fewer panels about AR and VR, but still plenty of discussion. Augmented reality has been steadily making its way into broadcasters’ newsrooms, especially in sports and weather applications. But virtual reality has been kept on the other side of the door, partially because the technology is still rapidly evolving and partially because of how expensive it can be to produce and distribute.
VR may be at an inflection point, but there’s still debate as to whether it’s up, or down. There seemed to be a doubling down by supporters on its health, with the general feeling being that VR is poised… but where? Are we paused, waiting for major adoption? Or, paused on the edge of the grave, a la 3D, and simply waiting for VR to move firmly back into the realm of gaming? We’ll know soon.
You can download the complete IBC recap here.