Industry Insights: Experts in broadcast acquisition offer 2022 outlook
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Earlier this year, we spoke with professionals and changemakers all across the broadcast industry to get their outlook on the upcoming year.
This Industry Insights roundtable features answers from those whose companies specialize in broadcast gear and acquisition.
Explore the other parts of this roundtable:
- Acquisition including Cameras, Transmission, Audio and Studio Gear
- Production including Creative Services, Graphics and XR Solutions
- Infrastructure including Hardware and Software Infrastructure
- Distribution & Delivery including Automation, Playout, Streaming, File Transfer and Monitoring
What is your 2022 outlook?
Mark Naidoo, CMO, Creamsource: We’re looking forward to continuing to build off of our momentum in 2021. For us that means continuing to expand and refine our artist-first approach to lighting solutions. Our focus remains on the artists; they’re the heroes in this equation. We’re fortunate to have their consistent feedback on our products and how we can make them better.
Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations in the Americas, Blackmagic Design: In 2022, content creators will continue to need versatile solutions that allow them to do more with less. To help combat some of the uncertainty, they’ll need products that can adapt to different workflows so they can stay in the game even when thrown certain curveballs.
Tod Musgrave, director of cameras, Marshall Electronics: Marshall Electronics’ growth has been extraordinary over the past three years, however with massive growth comes new challenges especially during a pandemic. Our networked IP and NDI cameras continue to show the largest growth area, and we’re fortunate enough to have a healthy development pipeline in these areas in order to fuel continued growth in 2022.
Mike Grieve, commercial director, Mo-Sys: After two consecutive years of near 100% growth driven by virtual and remote production, we expect to see these two sectors continuing to grow throughout 2022. One of the key inhibitors to virtual production adoption across all market segments is the lack of experienced virtual production operators and education opportunities. Mo-Sys has its own academy plans and education partnerships to help redress this issue.
Mike Ruddell, global director of business development, Ncam: This is going to be the year where people really start making investments in hybrid technology. They can’t be limited by single-purpose tech; it has to work remotely, for live events or in-studio, in the snow, in the rain, in the middle of day with high contrast – it just needs to work. We’re going to see more and more companies moving past the “Should we do AR?” stage to ask, “Where do we go next?”
Yvonne Monterroso, director of product management, Dejero: We’re very positive about 2022. We just launched the EnGo 265 designed specifically for newsgathering and live broadcasts and we have some exciting new solutions in our roadmap for release in 2022. We have built up an amazing network of partners around the world who’ve been able to help Dejero gain local market share and very loyal customers.
Satoshi Kanemura, president, FOR-A Americas: We are looking forward to a very active 2022, based on our experience this past year, particularly in the latter half of 2021. In addition to introducing some exciting new products for live production, we secured multiple large projects with live event and mobile production companies.
Kathy Katz, managing partner, Brightline: Very positive. The reason for the optimism is that we’re seeing a robustness return to business. The supply chain issues are improving, and many of our partners are beginning to break ground on new projects. Some of the new projects are driven by the pandemic. Service companies providing COVID-19 related solutions are building or expanding their production facilities.
Paul Shen, CEO, TVU Networks: Based on the industry’s response to our cloud-based solutions introduced last year, we’re very optimistic about 2022. Our cloud-native, pay-as-you-go TVU Channel playout platform, introduced in late October, is already supporting hundreds of thousands of viewers. Video usage experienced a meteoric rise in 2021. Content creators helped propel a nearly 752% increase in hours of downloaded video in 2021, using AI- and cloud-based TVU Search.
Rush Beesley, president, Rushworks: We see a continuing adjustment and accommodation resulting from the repack and restructuring of the license-holder landscape. The dynamic and explosive emergence of OTT alternatives continues to create a guessing game as to the evolution of the advertising versus sponsoring trends in content production.
Robb Blumenreder, customer & market insights manager, Sennheiser Pro Audio: 2021 was a highly innovative period for the broadcast industry, and 2022 is going to build on this momentum quickly. While it was a difficult year marred by challenging lockdowns that slowed down productions, the industry stayed resilient and early adopters have begun mastering the art of producing in remote environments. As we’ve learned over the last months, the potential for an on location shoot to face a COVID-19 related shutdown is always on the horizon.
James Eddershaw, managing director, Shotoku UK: We are assuming that 2022 will be similar in many ways to 2021. We hope that the pandemic will continue to recede, but we envisage the economic effects of the global situation continuing for quite some time yet, both in terms of customer confidence and international travel and shipping difficulties.
What trends are you watching in 2022?
Mark Naidoo: Doing more with less has been a rising trend and we expect this to continue into 2022 and beyond. Versatile products like the Vortex4 2’x1’ LED enable this by providing high-impact professional quality output in a compact package. A smaller physical footprint means that in places like broadcast studios, sound stages, and film sets where space is limited, higher quality more dynamic lighting can be achieved.
Bob Caniglia: While some are returning to in-person, on-location work, remote and hybrid workflows are here to stay. We expect to continue seeing customers invest in technology that allows them to collaborate and create regardless of location.
Tod Musgrave: Marshall is closely watching Artificial Intelligence capabilities for our robotic PTZ cameras and will be incorporating features that will enable these cameras to self-adjust and adapt to the environment on their own.
Mike Grieve: Currently the virtual production industry is using live events LED technology. We are anticipating (and driving) a trend towards specialized cinematic quality LED wall technology with the size of LED volumes decreasing whilst output image quality increasing and the re-introduction of established shooting techniques, and smart workflows including DMX control to marry virtual and real components together. The entrance of the Unity photo-realistic render engine into the virtual production space for film and television will provide creatives with new options.
Mike Ruddell: Virtual production is the buzzword, and everyone is trying to figure out how it fits into their workflows. As the technologies and techniques evolve, I hope to see more conversation around standardization of workflows. It will be very interesting to see what technology stack ends up on top, and why people gravitate toward it.
Yvonne Monterroso: Cloud adoption and innovation has accelerated since the pandemic and it’s set to continue into 2022. Organisations have discovered that cloud is not just a ‘feasible’ option for remote production, it is actually an economical solution as well. We are also closely paying attention to the emphasis on security across all organizations.
Satoshi Kanemura: We’re particularly interested in IP-based delivery models as well as cloud storage and virtual production. Based on recent projects with New World Symphony and Music Matters Productions, we also remain very optimistic about the state of 12G/4K workflows as an upgrade path for those with existing baseband infrastructure.
Kathy Katz: We’re seeing the merging of professional video and studio equipment morphing into home use. There’s a lot of voice activation and app control available now. The longer we remain in remote work mode, the less tolerant people are of technical glitches. A professional look is the expectation.
Paul Shen: SaaS, remote production, cloud-infrastructure and 5G are just a few. As we reported late last year, we saw a 243% increase in our SaaS over 2020. We’re confident we’ll see considerable expansion in 2022. 2021 also saw IP network delivery solidify its place as the preferred content distribution method for the media and entertainment industry, with a 20 percent increase in usage of the TVU Grid IP-based video switching, routing and distribution solution this past year vs. 2020.
Rush Beesley: The obvious broadcasting trend to watch in 2022 is continued expansion of ‘cloud-based’ automation systems that minimize the need for hardware and human resources at a station level. Additionally, it will be interesting to see how licensed broadcasters supplement their OTA transmissions with OTT content delivery.
James Eddershaw: We are looking at the continued increase in use of IP/NDI cloud production for broadcasters as well as the permanent adoption of more remote production. Robotic camera systems and automation already lend themselves very well to these trends, so we do see opportunities continuing for our technologies.
Any lasting lessons from 2021 to consider?
Mark Naidoo: Take nothing for granted and make sure you show your people know how much they’re valued.
Bob Caniglia: Scalability is key. By investing in products that allowed them to easily scale to simpler or more complex workflows, creators were able to pivot as things shifted, whether that meant diving into new markets or just modifying their approach for their current projects. We see this all the time with our URSA Mini Pro 12K and ATEM Constellation 8K customers. Their workflows can easily scale to whatever the job requires.
Tod Musgrave: The deeper we get into this pandemic, the better we get at adapting to the variants, managing swings in labor shortages, replacing harder to get chipsets, and having the ability to adjust to change quickly. If there is any lesson to learn from 2021 is to be flexible in order to overcome new challenges quickly at all levels. Also, cross train your employees on other duties so that you are able to cover where shortages develop.
Mike Grieve: We’ve learned that just focusing on supplying products and solutions isn’t enough. As with all new disruptive technologies, it’s the human factor that is usually the bottleneck, as it is with virtual production and remote production today. So a key focus point is ensuring the availability of hands on education to quickly create an experienced talent pool that can match the growth in technology sales.
Yvonne Monterroso: Being prepared for the unexpected and being able to continuously adapt. The importance of reliable connectivity anywhere was magnified and we were happy to be in a position to help news and sports casters go live — as well as film/TV creatives to collaborate — from any location and in challenging conditions.
Satoshi Kanemura: Companies that can pivot quickly to respond to customer needs thrive during global disruptions, such as the pandemic. With our in-house R&D and manufacturing, we’ve been able to supply what our customers request and also innovate new solutions that address new challenges.
Kathy Katz: Don’t give up. Be safe, be smart and keep adjusting, safely, to the new parameters. Just keep moving forward.
Paul Shen: The accelerated migration of the entire media supply chain to the cloud in 2021 was a massive shift industry-wide. Supply chain migration combined with the continued adoption of remote production workflows resulted in the immediate need for more cloud-native solutions.
Rush Beesley: The lasting lesson to be learned from 2021 is that in order to survive and thrive you must be able to quickly and appropriately adapt to significant change at every level. The status quo has forever disappeared, being redefined almost daily by forces outside the control of many business interests and consumer alternatives.
James Eddershaw: Don’t try to predict the future!
How is the continued supply chain disruption impacting your business, if at all?
Mark Naidoo: No one is immune to the impacts of supply chain disruption – it puts manufacturers in a difficult spot, especially when our customers are counting on us to get their jobs done. The most obvious impact of course is access to the key parts that make up our products.
Tod Musgrave: Marshall is working through the same supply chain disruptions as all other technology manufacturers; however, we’re learning to adapt and learn and we’re doing a good job of work arounds and quick redesigns to be less dependent on the hard-to-get chipsets and other components.
Mike Grieve: We foresaw this and planned ahead — so far that’s worked out really well. Cryptocurrency mining will continue to impact GPU supply, etc., so some aspects of the supply chain may be outside of our control, but we continue to monitor the situation and put advanced planning strategies into place.
Mike Ruddell: As with any tech company sourcing components from overseas, managing our supply chain hasn’t been easy and has resulted in a hit to lead times. Thankfully, our fantastic sourcing and procurement team has always kept us a step ahead of demand—even working miracles at times. For now, we are in a good place, and expect much lower turnaround times in 2022.
Satoshi Kanemura: We’ve been extremely lucky in that regard. We’ve obviously felt the effect, as has everyone. We’ve been able continue supplying our customers with very little delay thanks to FOR-A’s own manufacturing site in Japan. That’s been a huge advantage for us.
Kathy Katz: People are much more understanding about the increased lead times necessary. It’s all about communication and early coordination. We are looking at projects and timelines and working more closely with clients in the field to make sure we achieve our mutual goals.
Rush Beesley: Everyone is impacted by this continuing supply chain disruption. If you sell products but can’t manufacture and deliver them, you are faced with extinction. And to date there is no practical end in sight for this stalemate. We are, figuratively, in this same boat.
James Eddershaw: So far, we have only experienced minor disruptions regarding the delivery of some components and have been slightly impacted by the price of raw materials, but this has not seriously affected our ability to meet customer demand for our systems.
What is your outlook on trade shows for the year ahead?
Mark Naidoo: Our community of users is what makes us who we are – and that’s been one of the most difficult aspects of the trade show pause. This is the environment where we receive the most critical feedback on our products. If there’s anything the last two years have taught us it’s be patient and stay positive. We eagerly look forward to a time when we can all safely congregate and get back to the energy of in-person events.
Tod Musgrave: Through the first half of the year, it will be difficult for trade shows to go on because the omicron variant is spreading so quickly. The biggest challenge, especially for small- to medium-sized companies, is planning for these events as the organizations make the decision to cancel them way too late.
Mike Grieve: We believe that tradeshows will still continue to be impacted by COVID for the first quarter of 2022 at least. If tradeshows are going ahead then we feel – pending travel advice/restrictions – that it is important to be there in person; getting the same impact with online events today is still challenging.
Mike Ruddell: COVID-19 lockdowns have certainly forced us to reevaluate the ROI for events. I believe they will always be invaluable from a networking perspective, and we hope a return to live events is coming soon. That said, the rise of virtual events has been great, in many cases even opening up attendance to those who otherwise might not be able to afford conference or travel fees. In the future, we hope to see more of a mix.
Yvonne Monterroso: We remain positive and plan to exhibit at major international trade shows. As 2021 proved, it’s impossible to predict what might happen with travel regulations constantly changing. We’ll have to see what happens.
Satoshi Kanemura: I don’t have a crystal ball to say when trade shows will be back, but I do think they’ll return. Last year we attended a few in-person trade shows, including the SVG Summit and LDI, which were well attended and everyone seemed excited to meet again. We are eager to support the trade show organizations and hope for a return to more in-person events this year.
Kathy Katz: There’s no replacement for human contact. Everyone misses it. That’s the reason we think trade shows will pick up quickly when the situation improves.
Paul Shen: Given that we’re in the midst of a COVID-19 surge with the Omicron variant, we’re taking a very cautious approach to trade shows. We are planning to potentially participate in-person at trade shows, but the health and safety of our staff and colleagues are of primary importance.
Rush Beesley: Trade shows, while fun and interesting, are definitely a negative to the bottom line operations of most companies. Economically speaking, the risk really doesn’t justify the reward. As a result of the pandemic, companies have realized they can do just fine without that extra expense.
James Eddershaw: We are signed up for the NAB and IBC shows once again. We’re confident that these shows will take place, although we expect them to be more regional than global in terms of attendees.