The industry is characteristically poised for another major change. And the equipment industry is gearing up to respond.
The Indian broadcast and cable industry is going through a turbulent phase for the last couple of years. The slow progress of digitization (packaging and bundling) and increased content cost, which does not lend itself to consumer choice are perhaps the main culprits. The broadcast equipment market did not see a good order book in 2016–2017.
Achieving 100 percent digitization continues to be a challenge because of the fragmented and financially constrained sector. DTH services have provided the requisite push to digitization. Consumers, however, perceive these services to be expensive, albeit DTH ARPUs in India are perhaps the lowest in the world.
Government initiatives such as liberalized FDI, and reduced time for obtaining uplink and downlink licenses, and an explosive OTT market kept the broadcast equipment market going. The redefined regulator, which from becoming an agency that addresses disputes to being an agency that takes proactive decisions to tackle the challenges of new-age technologies and devices and the relationships between the stakeholders is welcome.
The empowered viewer has a stronger appetite for differentiated content. There is a strong paradigm shift being experienced in the overall content consumption pattern, where the viewer has the power to consume the content on a device of his choice. Content creators are going the extra mile in offering relevant and engaging content, either completely or partially repurposing the existing one. Although, for some time in India at least, the reach shall continue to belong to television!
While this is true, with wireless connectivity becoming more affordable, proliferation of smartphones, and an increasing rural Internet users base, the balance sheet of most stakeholders in the broadcast industry continues to be strained by investments in infrastructure development (4G and fiber) and content development. The industry finds digital transformation and automation a major challenge. With technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics permeating every single application and process, there are large-scale disruptions, requiring re-engineering of their entire approach to product innovation and services.
Connectivity, devices, and application trends are changing the dynamics of the telecom and broadcast sectors. The establishment of a digital ecosystem is underway and the telecom sector is facilitating the process, while the broadcast industry is leveraging the advantages. Both the industries are undergoing a consolidation phase where major stakeholders are planning to merge or acquire each other to leverage the mutual opportunities and strengths.
The content production equipment market may traditionally be segmented into broadcast equipment, live production, post production, video compression, and content management. The market has seen
a steady demand over the last few years.
However, what was palpable at this year's IBC, which concluded last week was that the market is on the verge of a pivotal transformation. It is seeing a quickened pace of change, which will affect all aspects of content creation (and delivery), at least for the next 5–10 years. One of the busiest areas of the show was the IP showcase – underlining the significance of IP-based production. Everyone is waiting for the 2110 standard for IP. Members are already building studios designed with flexible workspaces keeping 2110 in mind. Studios will be very different places, needing a new generation with skills that will thrive on IP infrastructure.
In addition to the pace of technological change, media companies will need do two things right in order to be successful – produce great content and create great data. That is where Facebook, Amazon, and Alibaba have a massive advantage over the rest. They will need to combine audience data like location with advertising.
The development of AI and machine learning in the industry was another big trend. Companies have begun to integrate it. Things like shot or scene detection change will be able to create quick edits at sports events to be pushed to social media. Machine learning is creating new experiences, allowing more content to be distributed to more people.