Broadcasters looking for improved workflows, new solutions notes NewscastStudio survey

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NewscastStudio has surveyed its audience of broadcast professionals for the second year in a row looking at the current media production landscape, the state of broadcast workflows and the year ahead.

Of the survey respondents, 66% feel the broadcast industry is adapting technologically to change compared to 70% a year ago.

Only half of the respondents, however, feel comfortable or very comfortable with the move to software-first solutions for broadcast production with 29% feeling neutral on the larger industry shift.

“Traditional broadcasters are under greater pressure than ever, not least from emerging competition such as streaming services,” said Steve Reynolds, president, Imagine Communications. To stay competitive and relevant to audiences, broadcasters have to deliver content to a converged TV audience.”

“They have to adopt the digital-first streamers’ personalized engagement with the audience, and their ability to dynamically place commercials that leverage addressability and better measurement, all while retaining the broadcast expectations of quality and seamless delivery. To achieve this broadcasters are looking towards the same business approach and technology that the streaming providers are already using,” said Reynolds. 

“2021 was a year of acceptance of cloud as an agent of digital transformation, and this year we’ll see greater cloud advocacy as media companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys, realize the benefits of true cloud elasticity, and shout from the rooftops about it,” said Neil Maycock, CMO, Grass Valley

43% of respondents felt the broadcast industry is on the path to being fundamentally stronger, with 33% either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

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In terms of today’s solutions for broadcast production workflows, 54% feel the current options could be improved.

“Innovation requires partnerships and there is an increasing need for tech providers to work closely with tech buyers, as well as partners and other vendors, in an industry that has gone through incredible changes so quickly. This is why trust is so important,” said Robin Kirchhoffer, senior director of product marketing and demand generation, Dalet.

“One interesting theme we hear from customers is a need for a much lighter-weight, simpler, more productized approach to workflow implementation,” said Joe Finegold, CMO, Signiant. “Complex, one-off deployments simply cannot deliver the necessary flexibility and economies of scale.”

Given the continued work from home for many organizations, 64% of respondents noted a continued reliance on remote production or remote employees. National broadcasters such as CNN continue to work remotely with return to work dates moved due to new waves of the pandemic.

Similar to last year’s survey, a resounding 86% of respondents tried new techniques or methods due to the pandemic with 69% agreeing these techniques or methods would likely become the standard operating procedure. This is an increase of 9 percentage points since last year’s survey, indicating more broadcasters are becoming comfortable with these new methods of production.

“I expect a shift to adaptive storytelling for television producers and broadcasters. Being the first to air is increasingly important to engage audiences, especially in breaking news and critical communication situations,” said Gerhard Lang, CTO, Vizrt. “Bandwidth is a production factor that is continually growing and quickly outperforming other capabilities. This will continue to advance the move toward production, especially live production, in the cloud.”

“The shift towards viewer content consumption via digital platforms will continue to accelerate,” said Malik Khan, CEO, LTN Global. “Adopting remote and hybrid live event production models, including the increased utilization of cloud-based workflows and automation, will continue in 2022, enabling broadcasters to do more with less to help meet a staggering multi-platform demand. Content decoration and enrichment for customization and monetization will occur at an unprecedented scale.” 

Broadcast Trade Shows

On trade shows, only 32% agreed or strongly agreed they plan to attend a broadcast-related trade show this year – such as the NAB Show in April or IBC. 40% answered they would not plan on attending trade shows in 2022.

“COVID-19 lockdowns have certainly forced us to reevaluate the ROI for events,” noted Mike Ruddell,global director of business development, Ncam.

“There are many individuals, vendors and end users that, with what will have been a 3-year hiatus, have never attended a NAB or and IBC. Equally, the world has changed and there are significant question marks over whether it is socially or environmentally responsible to have tens of thousands of people fly into a location for a few days for events,” said Ben Davenport, VP of global marketing, Pixotope.

“We no longer have the same need for the big product updates and presentations from trade shows, but more than ever we have the need to build relationships and trust between customers and vendors. This is hard to do over Teams and Zoom meetings, and trade shows offer a relatively efficient way to establish personal connections and start conversations,” said BK Johannessen, Unreal Engine business director for broadcast, Epic Games.

The NAB Show is currently advertising that over 500 exhibitors are scheduled for the April 2022 event – down from 1,600 in 2019 – with many notable broadcast suppliers missing from the current trade show floorplan and some already announcing they will be skipping the show.

In the past two years, many vendors have taken concrete steps to improve their sales process beyond large-scale trade shows by hosting virtual events and roadshows, attending smaller gatherings and upgrading their digital marketing efforts.

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“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,” added Ruddell.

“We’ll be looking at hybrid events and expanding our online presence and continue to innovate within those spaces to see if there is more value there. This will be the year that we’ll discover if trade shows are still as viable as they were before the pandemic,” said Adam Leah, creative director, Nxtedition

Survey Audience

The survey results come from a broad range of broadcasters and production personnel including 51% working in organizations with at least 100 employees and 35% having at least 500 employees. Of the respondents, 34% make final decisions and 42% make recommendations or product specifications in the purchasing process.

The most popular job titles of respondents included technical director, broadcast engineer, C suite (including CEO, COO, CIO, CTO), producer, creative services director, news director and production head.

46% of respondents work for a broadcast network or cable network, with 18% at a local television affiliate and 25% at a non-traditional operation, such as streaming, corporate video or education video production.

The market research survey was conducted between December 2021 and January 2022 with readers of NewscastStudio opting into participating. A total of 357 respondents participated in the survey.

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