Industry Insights: Lasting changes brought on by the pandemic for broadcasters

By NewscastStudio

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While the pandemic continues to be an operational unknown for the foreseeable future, we’ve asked our Industry Insights roundtable contributors about the lasting changes we might see when life begins its “return to normal.”

From remote operations and new methods of delivery to more consolidation, our panelists weigh in.


Make sure to read the rest of our Industry Insights series, including:


What will be the lasting changes from COVID-19 on the broadcast industry, in your opinion?

“Without a doubt, the general adoption of cloud infrastructure, remote operations and distributed workforces,” said Robin Kirchhoffer, marketing experts at Dalet.

“The ability to have teams in separate locations work closely together through online collaboration tools: produce, edit, deliver, archive… and all through device-independent user interfaces that can be used in a home office. Also, the way we do business in this industry: our release cycles are no longer tied to major events each April and September, but rather we can innovate and launch products and solutions based on users’ needs,” said Bea Alonso of Dalet. 

“Remote production workflows were already catching on in a big way before the pandemic. But one silver lining of COVID-19 is that broadcasters of all sizes have found out just how much they’re capable of doing remotely, and how easy and cost-effective it is to adapt operations to remote workflows using technologies such as the cloud and IP-based networks,” explained Primestream’s president and CEO, Claudio Lisman.

“If the current situation has taught us anything, it’s that creators need to invest in products that can adapt to a rapidly changing production environment. This ultimately comes down to future-proofing their workflows, so they can get the most from their investments,” Bob Caniglia, the director of sales operations in North America for Blackmagic Design. 

“The days when covering a live event meant establishing a microwave link or sending a portable uplink will never return. Instead, we believe remote IP-based production is the new normal and it’s here to stay. Broadcasters who had already taken the plunge will continue to refine and expand their remote capabilities, and those who were in the exploration stages – and then had their hand forced by COVID-19 – will continue to build on the successes they have experienced over the past few months,” said Lisman.

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“As with many industries, I think we will be reconsidering the amount of business travel that is needed. What was formerly assumed to be necessary has been challenged by the fact we cannot meet face-to-face with colleagues. Business development especially can be done via Zoom, or the like, and will lessen the need for and expense of travel, except for special occasions or gatherings where being together in person will be celebrated,” said Lori Pate, business development expert and partner at CMOmarketplace.

“There had already been a migration to REMI workflows prior to COVID-19, however the pandemic just accelerated it. I think more people will reduce travel and meet less face-to-face, as we all get more comfortable communicating through video, viewing these video interactions on television, and become more familiar with soft codecs and collaboration,” said Tod Musgrave, director of cameras for Marshall Electronics.

“The massively increased streaming consumption is also here to stay and with the expectation of streaming subscription surpassing pay-tv consumption in 2021, broadcasters will need to adjust and adapt while consumers will be looking for ways to navigate the ever-growing media landscape. Remote production technology and workflows will also become increasingly adapted,” predicted Jason Marchese, head of sales in North America for Red Bee Media.

“Broadcast and media has been one of the few winners of the response to the pandemic. I expect that people will continue to consume a generally higher level of content through all mediums which can only be beneficial for broadcast technology companies like ours,” said James Eddershaw, managing director of Shotoku Broadcast Systems.

“There will be an acceleration in consolidation for the simple fact that so many companies have been impacted by COVID, and their survival will be based on finding a new home. There will be more downsizing as we go into the new year from the simple reality of how 2020 will end for many. It will take most of 2021 to recover and arrive at a new normal where there will be fewer suppliers than before the pandemic. Remote working will continue as an accepted way to work for many people and processes,” said Alan Repech, director of marketing at Telestream.

“As in many industries, COVID-19 has obviously forced or accelerated innovation within the broadcast industry. Lasting changes will be adopted as organizations realize the efficiencies of those innovations. I believe remote workflows will remain with us, due to cost savings as well as for the opportunity to collaborate across regions in ways that might not be feasible otherwise,” Carol Bettencourt, VP of marketing for ChyronHego, told us.

Participants

Robin Kirchhoffer and Bea Alonso – Dalet
Bob Caniglia – Blackmagic Design
Claudio Lisman – Primestream
Lori Pate – CMOmarketplace
Tod Musgrave – Marshall Electronics
Jason Marchese – Red Bee Media
Alan Repech – Telestream
Carol Bettencourt – ChyronHego
James Eddershaw – Shotoku Broadcast Systems