Industry Insights: Impacts of the pandemic on broadcast suppliers

By NewscastStudio

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From the cancellation of major trade shows to the jumbling of launch schedules, broadcast suppliers have seen a number of impacts in the past year. What does 2021 hold for the suppliers driving the move to IP production workflows?

In our latest Industry Insights roundtable, our group of contributors discusses the impacts they’ve seen personally in their operation.


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


How will the COVID-19 pandemic continue to impact your organization’s operations in 2021?

“As a software solution and services provider, Dalet has quickly adjusted to the challenges brought by the pandemic: 100% remote working, including system delivery, training, support and remote management for our customers. We have also accelerated our cloud and SaaS strategy, to serve the immediate needs of the industry,” said Robin Kirchoffer of Dalet.

“At Primestream, we were laser-focused on the media industry’s ongoing migration to IP- and cloud-based solutions many years before the pandemic began. Both of these paradigms have been critical as broadcasters have had to adapt, practically overnight, to remote production. In fact, COVID-19 has forced the entire video industry – both traditional broadcast and streaming – to speed up its adoption of IP exponentially. Through our ongoing commitment to IP- and cloud-based media solutions, we’re better positioned than ever to help our customers respond to the immediate demands of today while preparing for the challenges of the future,” said Primestream’s president and CEO, Claudio Lisman.

“Working directly with customers, resellers and end-users, and understanding their goals and changing requirements in this environment has provided a solid foundation throughout COVID, and prepared the Company for the future. Cobalt has been very fortunate during this pandemic and has maintained ongoing sales growth with minimal cost-cutting and no staff being laid off or furloughed. Everyone from engineering, administration, manufacturing and upper management works together to ensure our customers receive the best solution for their specific situation and is supported properly,” said Cobalt’s executive VP of sales and marketing, Chris Shaw.

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“Consumers of satellite, and the satellite providers themselves, have been moving to IP for its flexibility, so we have seen record growth in 2020 and are hiring across all functional groups in all of our global locations to keep up with demand. We previously were pretty intent on hiring in our HQ, NYC and Tel Aviv offices, but during the lockdown, after we saw that we could be successful with not only remote sales, but also in engineering, operations, finance and marketing, we are no longer limiting or recruiting to those cities and are getting really, really good talent joining us,” said John Wastcoat, senior VP of strategic alliances and marketing for Zixi.

“Working remotely with customers hasn’t always been easy over these past few months, but we’ve been able to maintain regular dialogues using the available collaboration tools. However, once travel is feasible again, we are looking forward to returning to face-to-face discussions. In any case, project planning is ongoing and we’ve been able to support customers remotely in their evaluation of InSync’s conversion solutions. We’re helping customers with some proof of concept installations and we’re in the advanced stages of trials with service providers for a major sports channel,” reported a representative of InSync Technology.

“Before the pandemic we had already been moving towards remote training and demos, which is what a number of our broadcast partners requested. This is greener from an environmental standpoint but also benefits companies directly, reducing travel expenses and, ultimately, cost of sale. Obviously there is nothing like face-to-face engagement, but Zoom and Hangouts have become the norm and this will likely continue post-pandemic,” said Phil Ventre, Ncam’s VP of sports and broadcast.

“During 2021 Red Bee will continue to define and refine our future workplace, focusing on significant learnings from the workflows established in the early stages of the pandemic, with only mission critical broadcast staff on-site, and all non-operational staff working remotely. We have adapted and managed to become more efficient and flexible in cooperation with our partners, while delivering value to our customers, which bodes well for the future,” said Red Bee Media’s CMO, Margaret Davies.

“Most Telestream staff will continue to work from home. We made adjustments to our processes and ways of working to maximize efficiency given in-person meetings are not possible. While relatively obvious, collaboration tools for meetings and completing projects have become an integral part of our operations. Like our customers, we’re fortunate to be able to utilize our own tools to enable live streaming communication to all our employees around the world,” stated Alan Repech, director of marketing for Telestream.

“Luckily for us, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a limited impact on our business as we are a virtual company with remote clients and teams across the globe. With the boom in video streaming, we have been working with our partners to open new avenues to deliver a new normal for viewers, including the EPL in South East Asia. However, the one difficulty that we’ve experienced is the ability to have face to face conversations with new business partners, and the absence of trade shows has limited opportunities to maintain and deepen business relationships,” said Promethean TV CEO Ian Sharpe.

“Even though we developed our concept for CMOmarketplace well before COVID-19 brought physical meetings to a halt, this digital portal was ideally positioned to be a solution during the pandemic and beyond. CMOmarketplace provides a convenient and comprehensive online place for television networks (and other media companies) to connect with creative agencies from any location and at any time of day,” explained Lori Pate, business development expert and partner at CMOmarketplace.

“It opens some opportunities to use our solutions for remote production workflows. Projects which require replacing equipment to migrate to media over IP are facilitated given that personnel who normally work in the facilities are working from home, allowing for upgrades to be implemented in Studios and Stations for example. Given the uncertainty and delays on some events, we are being cautious and prudent with our budget,” said Rafael Fonseca, VP of product management at Artel.

 

Participants

Robin Kirchoffer – Dalet
Claudio Lisman – Primestream
Lori Pate – CMOmarketplace
Chris Shaw – Cobalt
John Wastcoat – Zixi
InSync Technology
Phil Ventre – Ncam
Margaret Davies – Red Bee Media
Alan Repech – Telestream
Ian Sharpe – Promethean TV 
Rafael Fonseca – Artel

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