This year's IBC conference will highlight broadcasting’s current obsessions, which include some old topics such as workflow alongside social media and connected TV.
Video editing requires access to either uncompressed or lightly compressed sources at high bit rates, and until recently, had to be done on location for outside broadcast events because of networking costs, even if the capacity was available. But, there has been a trend toward centralized editing generally, and this was evident at the London Olympics because of the shortage, and therefore high cost, of studio space in London.
Even though there will have been relatively little time to digest them, the various lessons learned from the London Olympics will be used to create pointers for future major sporting events at IBC2012, as in the conference presentation “Brazil 2014: The Road To The Next FIFA World Cup.”
The award for the most used new buzzword at IBC2012 could well go to “transmedia,” which is defined as the services needed to deliver and monetize multimedia content across diverse platforms. It is really, therefore, part of the workflow story, but with some specific aspects that broadcasters will needs to be aware of at the service level, such as the role and relevance of targeting across platform boundaries, following consumers wherever they are, while being flexible enough to cater for the different qualities of tablets, smartphones, PCs, and larger screen TVs. This is not just a matter of the screen display, but also the attitude and expectation of consumers according to where they are and what they are doing. On a tablet, they may be more susceptible to interaction and be prepared to dive into a longer-form advertisement, while the big screen is the place for showing off some spectacular graphical images.
When it comes to targeted and interactive advertising, the second screen will play an increasing role that will be thrashed out in the IBC2012 conference forum “Advertising Embraces Transmedia: How the Second Screen is Key to New Relationships.” Social media will also loom large in the transmedia debates at IBC, but given the difficulties broadcasters and pay TV operators have had embracing it, delegates will be interested in the various case studies that will be presented at IBC2012.
It can sometimes be instructive to spot what themes have become less prominent at IBC2012 compared to recent years, although this does not always reflect what is actually happening on the ground. At least at the conference, Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) have sunk down the agenda, but this is most likely because they are now being deployed and used with the talking over, since hype tends to precede either reality or oblivion. In the case of CDNs, it is the first of those two. Perhaps more surprisingly is that adaptive streaming (although of course reasonably prominent at IBC2012) has a slightly lower profile than at IBC2011. This may be because the momentum behind MPEG DASH as a unifying force has become so unstoppable that it does not provoke so much discussion.
The higher level issues of integration, migration and synergy will then provide the unifying themes of IBC2012 and its conference, but no broadcasting show is ever complete without plenty of discussion about rights, privacy and revenue protection. The proliferation of OTT has brought piracy right back on the agenda for pay TV operators, while causing agonies for major rights holders and particularly the Hollywood studios. So, if anything, piracy and content protection will also loom larger than ever at IBC2012.