Panelists at a state-of-the-business session in Las Vegas say companies are too bogged down in building custom systems for broadcasters to focus on the innovation required to create better end products.
Standardization Vital To TV Tech Success
With the overhaul of broadcasting in full throttle, tech suppliers need to join forces to together standardize operational equipment — and individually excel in what they do best, experts say.
“I don’t see the ecosystem the industry needs,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications. “I am willing to give up those competitive areas for the betterment of our companies and betterment of our industry to sponsor the right kind of collaboration.”
Vogt’s comments — a day after announcing Imagine’s acquisition of IP and software-defined workflow company Digital Rapids — were part of a panel discussion Monday on the state of the broadcast tech business at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Dejero CEO Brian Cram, Grass Valley President Marco Lopez and Wohler Technologies President-CEO Carl Dempsey also participated on the panel, sponsored by the trade association IABM.
Cram agreed with Vogt’s assessment that companies are too bogged down in building custom systems for broadcasters to focus on the innovation required to create better end products.
Standardizing operational technology — enterprise software, networking systems and the like — is key to freeing up resources to do just that, moving the industry ahead in the process. “If you don’t have people who are going to look outside the box and look outside their company, you’re going to run into some problems,” Cram said.
Companies that “pretend the industry is going to stay the same — and therefore don’t invest in new products to serve broadcasters — “will be the companies that go away,” he said.
Lopez sees two areas particularly ripe for expanding: cloud-based technology and mechanisms that help broadcasters make money from their investments in creating tech-heavy, multiplatform businesses.
“The investment is very large but the business model is still not there,” Lopez says. “They need to start generating a profit.”
He also sees early adoption of cloud-based technology (Grass Valley just debuted its GV Stratus, a cloud-enabled playout system, at NAB) as another key in broadcasters’ success. He said: “The cloud is perfect for controlling, managing and doing what you need to do … to automate all this content to go out wherever you want in the world.”
Vogt agreed, saying that companies are spending too much time and money on sustaining what they have instead of innovating. “The industry needs a company like us to take a risk,” he said.