Industry Insights: Studio tech and camera experts weigh in on 2023 outlook
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With 2023 underway and trade shows just around the corner, it’s time to look forward to the future of the ever–changing broadcast and media landscape.
We invited vendors from across the industry to share their perspectives in our Industry Insights roundtable with this edition focused on tools for content acquisition – such as cameras, audio and studio gear.
Read on for their perspectives on the year ahead, the trends they’re watching and how the supply chain and consolidation is impacting their thinking.
Make sure to check out the rest of this Industry Insights 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 and Monitoring
What is your outlook on the broadcast industry in 2023?
Dave Hoffman, business development manager in the Americas, Blackmagic Design: In 2023, we expect to see broadcasters continue to invest in tools that support high-functioning hybrid workflows, whether it’s for streaming workflows with the ATEM Mini Pro and ATEM SDI lines of live production switchers, which help facilitate remote shoots, or technology like the Ultimatte 12 real-time compositing processors, which make it possible (and affordable) to create ultra-realistic virtual sets in lieu of a physical broadcast set.
Graham Sharp, CEO, Broadcast Pix: I think the roller coaster ride we suffered through the Covid years will continue, driven by a recession and the user base preserving cash and reducing capital equipment spending. We will continue to see the use of lower-cost equipment and tools and the growth of “good enough.”
Roland Axelsson, cofounder and product manager, Intinor: Audience demand for content continues to grow. To meet that demand, broadcast and media companies need to find ever-more efficient ways of creating and delivering engaging programs.
Stephen Brand, CEO for Intracom Systems: Cloud, cloud, cloud. While 2023 will begin with a significant amount of on-prem and hybrid solutions, broadcasters will be less apprehensive about migrating operations to the cloud which will ultimately provide them with greater operational flexibility and scalability.
Joseph D’Amico, vice president, JVC: From a capital equipment purchase perspective, since 2023 is an off year for political advertising spending, we don’t expect to see much growth in 2023. We also anticipate broadcasters to continue finding ways to be more efficient in their production workflows and expand their OTT offerings.
Tod Musgrave, director of cameras, Marshall Electronics: We continue to see a high transition to IP workflows, whether using remote IP sources to ingest into broadcast production, sending content over IP networks or streaming them out over the internet. On most Marshall cameras in development, we’re adding IP, HEVC, NDI, SRT, Zixi or other ethernet codecs alongside traditional broadcast outputs such as 12G/6G/3G-SDI contribution.
Stephen Gallagher, marketing director, Mo-Sys: I think with continued pressure on budgets, and no-doubt a slowing of ad revenues due to the economic slowdown, that broadcasters will look to consolidate spend and the industry will adapt. We’ll see manufacturers expand their offerings through collaborations and the introduction of novel invoicing schemes to support customers through this period.
Gary Rosen, vice president of global sales, Pliant Technologies: In 2023, I’m looking forward to seeing continued advancements, specifically in the viewer experience.
What trends are you watching?
Dave Hoffman: The collaboration between creative industries will continue to thrive into 2023. We’ve already seen a cross-pollination between industries, for example broadcasters are starting to implement tools and techniques from cinema workflows like different effects and lenses, while production companies are implementing gear from the live streaming side, like switchers and routers, for multi-camera scripted shoots and virtual production. In turn, we expect that new and exciting workflows will come out of this cross-industry collaboration.
Graham Sharp: Besides the macro-economic trends, cost of capital, etc., the growth in remote production, driven by the increase in bandwidths and reduction in the cost of networks and the transition to cloud hosting and new SaaS business models.
Roland Axelsson: Following the experiences of the pandemic years, major broadcasters and production companies have come to trust transmission over the public internet. Through expert management and intelligent path bonding, it can now deliver the quality of service broadcasters demand, with low latency and high resilience. It makes remote production a reality, which delivers the cost efficiencies (not to mention environmental savings) needed to create large volumes of high-value live content, including sport.
Stephen Brand: We are seeing a surge of companies moving operations and production to the cloud and using APIs to integrate various broadcast tools into their web-based workflows which also means an increase in interoperability.
Joseph D’Amico: We have seen a significant upswing in the implementation of REMI productions throughout the industry and will continue to monitor needs for this space. Our current offerings align perfectly with the requirements of these productions and will evolve with the industry as necessary.
Stephen Gallagher: Broadcasters are now able to utilize LED virtual production and benefit from all of its advantages, which in the past may have been considered the reserve of big budget movies due to previous complexities and cost. Technology advances such as multi-camera switching and real-time on air graphics within a single consolidated solution from the leading virtual production equipment manufacturers is driving huge interest from broadcasters.
Gary Rosen: Some of the latest trends I’m noticing are more live events and live production. I am also keeping my eye on the competition for viewers, as linear TV and streaming services continue to vie for viewers.
James Eddershaw, Managing Director of Shotoku: Live production continues to be a huge segment of the broadcast industry with more POV cameras for unusual angles and interesting viewpoints closer to the action while not compromising on image and motion quality. Remote production also continues to grow with fewer staff required to be on site, or located in obtrusive positions within the production, leading to the need to control more cameras. Seamless VR/AR/XR with high performance LED wall volumes and perfect mixing of reality and virtual, another trend worth watching, requires camera tracking technology which becomes ever more challenging as the blending of real and virtual becomes more and more nuanced.
What is your outlook on cloud production and workflows?
Dave Hoffman: Cloud workflows are no longer a nice to have but rather a vital part of the production workflow as they increase efficiency, productivity and collaboration. Tools like Blackmagic Cloud and the Blackmagic cloud storage line of network storage solutions let users share large files between multiple users on a global scale. Allowing users to create from anywhere in the world while still staying connected to their teams helps eliminate the traditionally high cost of collaboration and broaden access to talent around the globe.
Graham Sharp: Cloud production will continue to expand its footprint as long as it reduces costs. New workflows are a big enabler of the move to the cloud, but the most interesting part is the new software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service business models that enable users to pay per use. They not only dramatically impact the users’ capital requirements but also reduce the requirement for operations and maintenance staff.
Roland Axelsson: With the trust in internet connectivity, so the cloud becomes a practical production environment. In practice, for the immediate future, hybrid infrastructures will be the way to go, with the cloud providing a backup to physical hardware. But it certainly can play a key role in live events.
Stephen Brand: There is no question that the industry is migrating toward cloud-based solutions at an exponential rate as security and latency become non-issues, and cloud-based interoperability becomes more important. And while the migration is in-progress, hybrid solutions are still a great way to deliver the best of both worlds along the way. Intracom offers control panels that are cloud/SaaS ready.
Joseph D’Amico: After speaking with several broadcasters about the use of the cloud, we feel most are still very cautious, if not skeptical. There are significant concerns for them to consider, including security, reliability of connections to the cloud during major weather events, and the large task of moving an SDI plant to the cloud.
Gary Rosen: Cloud production definitely has its place, but also has it also has its limits. It will add value, for sure, but I can’t see it completely replacing the industry’s traditional production methods.
Has the supply chain stabilized or is it still impacting your sector?
Graham Sharp: No, it’s still volatile and will continue to be so until China stops shutdowns and stabilizes its Covid response. After the situation stabilizes, I believe we will see costs reduce as a result of overproduction as manufacturers over-ordered when there were supply-side shortages.
Roland Axelsson: It is still causing an impact, but by managing our stock holdings we have had no problems in shipping products to customers. Our customers tell us that they are being limited in product choice in devices like production switchers because of availability problems, but we are ready with our part of the system. Where it does have an impact is in research and development: Long lead times on key components make it hard to try out innovative new designs. So new products risk being delayed.
Tod Musgrave: In most cases, the supply chain has stabilized for cameras as Marshall seeks new ways to plan further in advance, get around chip shortages or catch up on the development of alternative chipsets that are easier to source and build into our camera platforms. Additionally, more and more OEM/ODM factories are trying to bypass traditional brands.
Gary Rosen: Unfortunately, supply chain issues are still impacting parts, supplies and costs, as well as inhibiting new development, but I think we can all be hopeful for the future.
How has continued broadcast consolidation changed your business or attitude?
Graham Sharp: Clearly, there are fewer independent broadcasters as consolidation continues, but I think the more worrying trend is that streaming revenues are not making up for cord cutting, so overall revenues are reducing, in turn driving that consolidation, layoffs, and a reduction in capital spending.
Joseph D’Amico: Efficiencies gained by the broadcast groups by consolidating has also provided efficiencies to manufacturers. At the corporate level, we find many groups to be well-organized, which makes doing business with them simpler and more streamlined.
Given the current economic headwinds, do you see an increase or decrease in capital expenditures (CapEx) in 2023?
Graham Sharp: We see difficult trading conditions for a year or so until inflation is under control and the cost of money comes back down to pre-pandemic levels. In the meantime, customers will preserve cash and delay capital investment unless absolutely necessary.
Roland Axelsson: There are economic challenges, of course, but we have just had a record-breaking year, and we continue to innovate and recruit new design staff. Part of this is because our products, in providing high-quality communication over the public internet, provide more efficient operations for production and media delivery businesses. They come to us when they want to reduce their costs.
Stephen Brand: The increased interest in SaaS supports our forecast of decreasing CapEx growth and a move toward more efficient and lower-cost OpEx solutions.
Joseph D’Amico: In addition to the economic headwinds, we must also consider that political ad spending will be almost zero for 2023. Given these two major factors, we expect CapEx spending to decrease in 2023.
Stephen Gallagher: I believe there will be a drop in CapEx spending, but I see this impacting manufacturers and vendors who fail to offer broadcasters with solutions to their pain and a real-world advantage. The economic pressure will present huge opportunities for innovators.
Gary Rosen: I personally see an increase in many sectors, but especially in the live remote programming sector.
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Blackmagic Design, Broadcast Pix, Dave Hoffman, Gary Rosen, Graham Sharp, Intinor, intracom systems, James Eddershaw, Joseph D’Amico, JVC, Marshall Electronics, Mo-Sys, Mo-Sys Engineering, Pliant Technologies, Roland Axelsson, Shotoku Broadcast Systems, Stephen Brand, Stephen Gallagher, Tod Musgrave
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