Content Growth Brings Good News, Bad News

By | October 1, 2007 | Editor's Note

The amount of content being demanded by consumers around the globe is flourishing as customers want more specialized entertainment options.
At the same time, the types and number of platforms available for delivering this content are expanding, with traditional broadcast, cable and satellite platforms being joined by IPTV, which many industry players continue to forecast as the next big revenue generator. In fact, it would be too simplistic to say that IPTV just added another dimension to the debate. It goes beyond even that.

There are fundamental shifts in terms of how we consume content, particularly among the younger generation. An increasing number of consumers now view content regularly away from their home TVs using laptops and portable handheld devices to watch short video clips as well as the latest episodes of hit TV series.

Our demand for content is seemingly insatiable and brings with it an era of personalization.
“Broadcast is slowly fading as a concept,” the head of one hardware vendor says. “It’s not going away for a long time, but now you must have the ability to fit yourself to more individual demand.”

This growth means more transponder demand for traditional operators and more potential bouquet offerings for niche markets provided by content aggregators.

This change will bring good news for many of the vendors, as their solutions can be tailored to meet the needs of all of these platforms with only some minor changes, as there is not much difference in the equipment for satellite, cable and IPTV providers until the last mile.
But as the change in demand also alters the content distribution market, it will have a huge impact on many of the hardware and software vendors touting their wares at IBC2007.

But it also brings a problem for many of the equipment providers as they try to stake out their position in a market with many new and diverse competitors.

“You can take and multipurpose your technology,” the executive says. “The bad news is so can anybody else. So the same competition I saw in one place I will see in another area.”

This will lead to some shakeout of the industry with the corresponding reduction in the number of hardware and software vendors, and may force software and hardware providers to try and establish a relationship with a particular platform before the market makes its decision so they do not get left out.

This convergence of technology could also have an impact on the exhibition floor at a show such as IBC2007, as it will be harder and harder to segregate companies by which part of the broadcast sector they serve.

Another content issue that dominated conversations at IBC2007 was HDTV, or more correctly, how HDTV takeup has continued to fall far short of industry expectations.

Technology advancements touching nearly every aspect of HDTV delivery could be found at every stand. But it is becoming more clear that content, not technology, will be the key to grabbing consumer mindshare and money.

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