1ST QUARTER 2018
JOURNAL R E P R E S E N T I N G
B R O A D C A S T
A N D
M E D I A
T E C H N O L O G Y
S U P P L I E R S
W O R L D W I D E
Featuring AI â€“ Where Are We Headed? NAB Show 2018 Mergers & Acquisitions Competition Law Changes New Industry Model BaMTM Awards
MEA region update
Executive viewpoint: James Gilbert
Americas Members’ Council on NAB Show 2018
Is the future products or services and toolboxes? 10-11
New at NAB Show
The BaM™ Content Chain
New US corporate tax laws
Special Report – Artificial Intelligence
Mergers and aquisitions
Supply Trends Report
End-user survey: UHD
What is Green or sustainable production?
APAC region update
IABM members speak
Europe & UK region update
IABM, 3 Bredon Court, Brockeridge Park, Twyning, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 6FF, United Kingdom. Telephone: +44 (0)1684 450030 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.theiabm.org Twitter: @TheIABM Chairman of the Board – James Gilbert Vice Chairman of the Board – Graham Pitman Chief Executive – Peter White Journal Editor – Roger Thornton IABM Investments Ltd Chairman – Martin Salter
IABM Team – Abirah Aziz, Peter Bruce, Elaine Bukiej, Caryn Cohen, Lisa Collins, Ben Dales, Hassan Ghoul, John Ive, Andrew Jones, Athena Krishanthi, Eleanor O'Flaherty, Lucinda Meek, Stan Moote, Yoshiro Sawa, Peter White, Darren Whitehead, Lorenzo Zanni.
c Copyright 2018 IABM.
A company limited by guarantee. Disclaimer: The views presented in the Journal are those of the individual contributors and are not necessarily those of the IABM.
IABM – Platinum Members
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The Broadcast and Media awards (BaMs™) are the only truly independent awards in our industry, judged by a panel of 40 non-affiliated experts
Introduction: creative collaboration is the key to success
Peter White CEO, IABM
Welcome to the NAB Show edition of the IABM Journal, packed with useful business information and resources, as well as a review of IABM activities in the first quarter of 2018. This is a pivotal year for the broadcast and media industry. The transformation we have been talking about for the last few years is now in full swing as we transition to new business and technical models. NAB Show in Las Vegas is the perfect place to take the industry’s temperature and see how all sides are now pulling together to plot a course to a healthy, successful future.
One of IABM’s key objectives over the last few years has been to facilitate this collaboration; the future of our members is inextricably bound up with the challenges broadcasters and media companies face. According to our latest research, 35% of end-users are now using software and microservices to build some of their systems. The vast majority still prefer best-of-breed solutions, and are sharing their roadmaps to enable vendors to work collaboratively with them to achieve the solution they need; creative collaboration is the answer. IABM has a number of major initiatives running to foster this collaboration, including the new Super Sunday ‘Voice of the Customer’ session we are introducing this year in partnership with NAB. Entitled ‘Creative collaboration – the only way forward’, this two-hour session on April 8 at the Convention Center (2pm, room N239) features a panel of influential thought leaders from the pinnacle of the broadcast and media industry. They will let us into the secrets of successful creative collaboration, illustrated by real-life case studies, demonstrating how working together collaboratively offers both sides of the industry a better way forward. This will be a fantastic learning and networking opportunity on the eve of the show.
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Take the pulse of the industry with us Once again, IABM’s State of the Industry Breakfast is kicking off the show itself – 8am, April 9, room N239. Delegates will learn from IABM’s latest research how industry transformation is affecting business and get the inside track on how to move forward successfully. Delegates will also hear about IABM’s new industry model – the result of a major project to redefine the broadcast and media content supply chain as the industry continues to transform. There is an article outlining the new model and the thinking behind it on page 14. An interactive panel follows, entitled ‘It’s Not All About the Cloud’. On the panel are installation experts – all with decades of experience and currently engaged in projects. We will tease out of these experts what they are missing from suppliers, products and services that they need to realize projects successfully in today’s environment. They’ll also be providing their views on the direction that suppliers should be taking and how to partner.
This year’s IP Showcase is the biggest yet, with more than 50 vendors coming together to demonstrate the benefits and practicality of transitioning to IP workflows
IP Showcase moves up another gear IABM is also a partner in the IP Showcase – another fine example of the new collaborative spirit in our industry. We are again curating the co-located IP Showcase Theater, providing educational opportunities through continuous presentations covering the full gamut of knowledge about real-time IP production and intra-facility distribution. This year’s IP Showcase is the biggest yet, with more than 50 vendors coming together to demonstrate the benefits and practicality of transitioning to IP workflows, showing what can be achieved by willing and open collaboration towards the common good.
Celebrating innovation Reflecting the changing structure of our industry, we are introducing our new, unified technology awards program at NAB Show. The Broadcast and Media Awards (BaMs™) will be presented on Tuesday 10 April (6pm, Ballroom C at the Westgate Resort – right next to the Convention Center). The BaMs™ recognize outstanding technological innovations that deliver real business and creative benefits in nine newly-defined categories that accurately model the structure of the industry today. These are the only truly independent awards in our industry, judged by a panel of 40 non-affiliated experts, and will quickly become the gold standard. The award presentations will be followed by the BaMs™ Party.
Sunday April 8 IABM's NAB Show Voice of the Customer – Super Sunday SessionCreative Collaboration – the only way forward 2.00pm-4.00pm, N239/N241
Full-on support for members IABM now has over 500 member companies – the majority of which of course are at NAB Show. As the industry’s only truly international representative body, it is our mission to support you with the widest possible range of up-to-the-minute services and support to help you do better business. At the show we are releasing a special business intelligence report to aid members’ decision-making, and we also have three lounges (North Hall, Central Hall, and South Upper) where you can take time away from the show floor and take advantage of peace and quiet – and free Wi-Fi – to follow up on leads.
Monday April 9 State of the Industry Conference – The business of broadcast and media, technology supply vital statistics 8.00am–10.00am breakfast from 7.30am N239/N241
Stronger together It’s going to be a fascinating NAB Show, where the future direction of our industry will really begin to come into view. Creative collaboration is what will define the shape of the industry, and drive success. I’m proud that your association is playing an important role in making this happen – it is the only way forward. I wish everyone a successful NAB Show 2018 and beyond, and look forward to meeting as many members as possible at the show.
Tuesday April 10 BaM Awards™ Party 6.00pm-8.00pm The Westgate
Peter White CEO, IABM
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Executive viewpoint James Gilbert Founder and CEO, Pixel Power
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Staying ahead of the game: James Gilbert on carpets, cats and continued success in broadcast and media technology
Pixel Power is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and with regional offices in Grass Valley, California and Dubai, UAE, Pixel Power has a global organisation and is supported by a well trained and focused distributor network
You went straight from graduating from university in engineering in 1987 to setting up your own company. What was it that attracted you about the broadcast industry – and where did you see the opportunities ahead? Whilst a student I had written some software to provide graphics capabilities for one of the first colour frame stores used in television production and I could see that the use of graphics in broadcasting had tremendous growth potential. In the very early days Pixel Power also provided graphics solutions for other industries (including software for designing carpets – I remember the trepidation I felt the first time a 5 ¼” floppy disk, generated from my software, was loaded into a £1M carpet machine!), but broadcasting very quickly became our focus. I could see that software could gradually take over more and more of the functionality and with more longevity and flexibility than hardware solutions.
Pixel Power is now 30 years old and continuing to thrive. There are not that many companies from that very different era that are still at the forefront of the market today. What’s the secret to continuing success in such a fast-evolving industry over such a long period of time?
James Gilbert has been Chair of the IABM Members’ Board since 2015. He began his career in the industry fresh from Cambridge University in 1987, setting up Pixel Power as a graphics company. Today, Pixel Power remains at the sharp end of the graphics business with a strong channel branding product offering, but has also expanded into production and versioning workflows, master control, CiaB and cloud-based solutions. We spoke to James about his business philosophy and recipe for success, and his vision for, and commitment to, IABM.
Trust, listening to the customer, innovation, delivering on the promise, focus, remaining a private company, treating our employees really well – there are multiple reasons, but we are very proud to have built and maintained a strong reputation for being trusted to deliver what we know is possible. Sadly many companies suffer from feeling they have to over promise and in the process not only disappoint the customer but create a feeling that all vendors are the same. I think you’ll find that the private companies in this industry are often the
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James Gilbert has been Chair of the IABM Members’ Board since 2015. Current IABM membership stands at over 500 companies
ones who are most trusted to deliver. We have a rule that we simply don’t show what we can’t deliver and don’t deliver what doesn’t work for the customer.
Many suppliers have struggled to make the transition from a traditional hardware business into today’s increasingly software-driven, serviceoriented marketplace. How has Pixel Power successfully navigated this transformation? At its core Pixel Power has always been a software company. We made hardware because there simply wasn’t the computer power available off the shelf to handle the requirements of the software we created for broadcasters. Now that has changed and the power of COTS hardware is enabling software defined solutions to replace many technical functions that formerly required hardware. We have been on that transition for some time but were probably better placed than many other companies to make the leap. Having software at our core has made this much easier. The benefits are enormous. We don’t have the baggage of a legacy hardware business that needs to be protected. As a result we have been able to offer more flexible solutions, like pay as you go pricing models.
At a recent SMPTE presentation you made on transitioning to the cloud, you said that ‘people are the biggest challenge, not the technology’. Please explain what you mean here, and how we can overcome this challenge successfully. There’s a huge ‘change management’ industry out there
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and it’s all a result of the fact that as humans we don’t do change very easily. Fundamentally, we tend to enjoy our comfort zones and the old adage of “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it”. However, we all know that in business, especially in the technology sector, you can’t sit still otherwise your rivals, known ones and ones who possibly don’t exist yet, will pass you by as they introduce new solutions. People need help to be shifted in their thinking and to move away from the status quo. As we know, some of the most dangerous words in business are ‘because we’ve always done it like this’. We have found that when we discuss with our customers up front the issues around how technology affects their people then we tend to get to better solutions.
I’d like to strongly encourage more companies to consider putting their names forward for the Members’ Board – it is your opportunity to provide strategic influence and guidance to IABM.
You’ve been an active supporter of IABM for many years and Chair of the Board since 2015 – recently entering your second two-year term at its head. What continues to drive you to contribute so much to the association alongside your more than full time job as CEO at Pixel Power? When I started in this business, 30 years ago, I had the real support and mentorship of a few experienced senior people in the industry who gave their time and energy to help me get going. I’ll never forget that and am often humbled by the support I received. I believe it’s important to give back to the industry that helps you grow and by supporting what we do at IABM I feel I’m able to help other companies along the journey that I made over these last three decades.
Under your watch, IABM has grown considerably in membership, international reach and in the range of services it offers to members. Looking forward, what are the next steps for the Association to maintain and grow this momentum? I think IABM faces a number of challenges as the broadcast industry undergoes its biggest transformation yet. The traditional IABM offerings need to be adapted to the new business models and vendor ecosystem in the industry and IABM needs to become better at facilitating technical and commercial co-operation between its members and the customer base. But the IABM team are very capable and with the right input from the Members’ Board this is all
Make the most of IABM member benefits achievable. I’d like to strongly encourage more companies to consider putting their names forward for the Members’ Board – it is your opportunity to provide strategic influence and guidance to IABM.
What would your advice be to a young Cambridge graduate considering entering the broadcast and media industry today? Are there still the opportunities that you saw back in 1987? It is fair to say that in 1987 there was no silicon valley as we know it today, the dot com boom was yet to happen, and the highlight of the week was cramming into the college JCR to watch Spitting Image on the only (CRT) TV available. Broadcast technology was certainly one of the more exciting things you could do with an engineering degree. Now the landscape is a little different; a college graduate has all the content they want to consume available in their pocket and young entrepreneurs hope to be the next Facebook or Google. Yet there is still much to be enthusiastic about in our industry. Content is king – quality drama, news and sport will always outperform YouTube UGC content (even if you do like cats) and the industry needs new innovators to help content owners monetise their content. You may not be the person kicking the ball in front of a sell-out crowd but you can be responsible for ensuring that a billion people can see it happen.
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Processing hardware will disappear from operational areas. IP interconnects remove the need for processing and storage hardware to be co-located in operational areas
Is the future products or services and toolboxes? John Ive Director Strategic Insight, IABM
The transition to new enterprise media infrastructures is well underway with some applications more advanced than others. The common trend is clear across the board as IT- and IP-based applications replace point products interfaced through industry specific connections. Who is the customer?
If we imagine the current developments are just the start of that transition, then the near-term future will feature several disruptive changes, well beyond product renewal and updating. An important factor to consider is that past experience may not be helpful in this new era; in fact, past experience can be a limiting factor when trying to envision a radically different environment.
The only stability is instability Products could, in the past, be considered to have a lifespan of 10 years or more before replacement. Today, this time around the periods of stability are shorter and, in some cases, nonexistent. We can look forward to constant and rapid evolution. On the face of it, that represents a serious challenge for technology suppliers with a history of developing hardware products and successor products that incrementally improve on previous generations. And it’s not just a transition to less hardware and more software; the very basis of technology supply is likely to change. Already, many professional media products are delivered with functionality that by design will grow over time with software updates and subscriptions that release new features. Software-based products tend to be continuous work in progress with changes in functionality along the way. Neither party – the supplier or customer – has all the answers at the beginning of the relationship, so for major players greater interaction and collaboration is inevitable. Open source principles and CICD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment) enable co-creation. That’s happening right now so let’s take a step further into the future.
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The traditional model for the broadcast industry has been built upon a sales relationship between the supplier and the end-user. In fact, in many cases that has been an ‘arm’s length’ relationship with the enduser listening to the merits of equivalent point products and choosing the best fit for the intended application. Looking ahead, enterprise customers may decide the focus of their core business is not owning hardware technology but subscribing to a service that houses the required technology away from their premises. This helps with their cashflow, enabling them to pay for what they need when they need it rather than irregular and painfully large rounds of capital expenditure. So, who is the customer for the technology suppliers? In this scenario, it’s the service provider. Already we are seeing Cloud providers becoming more media-centric in their service offerings. Content creators and distributors are continuously ambitious to be competitive and extend their capabilities and services. Whether it’s processing data or content, in-house systems are just not instantly scalable enough to cope with peak loads. Outsourcing, to a greater or lesser extent, is an economic imperative and the Cloud is the answer. It’s clear that some hardware will remain on the end-user’s premises especially where content production takes place. Processing hardware will disappear from operational areas. IP interconnects remove the need for processing and storage hardware to be co-located in operational areas. The concept of the data center is already established by some broadcast and media companies and will grow. Increasingly COTS (Commercial off the
Now, there are many DIY options for building sophisticated websites without the skills and knowledge that were once required
shelf) processors will replace dedicated devices, some of which will be part of a Cloud service, on- or off-premise. Either way, operational areas will be more flexible and configurable – more like office environments.
Is it a product or a ‘box of tools’? Research exposes an increasing number of large contentbased organisations to be undertaking in-house development. We can imagine several fundamental reasons for this. First up is the need to be agile and unique. There is more control over an in-house solution and there is less chance that competitors will have exactly the same internal operation and consumer facing proposition.
constant change is a compelling proposition. Additionally, the use of microservices promises to add to that flexibility by structuring applications as a collection of small, loosely coupled services which are therefore individually more adaptable, rather than one large monolithic piece of software.
Workflow changes Beyond the technology and the new possibilities, there is an additional need to improve efficiency and creativity by changing workflows. The human factor may be the hardest element to change. Many new installations are radically different behind the scenes but for the teams operating them, especially in production and the creative activities, the human interface remains the same, having evolved and stabilized through tradition and familiarity.
When solutions were based around the building of specific hardware products, a large market was necessary to amortize the cost of development. This all changes with the Cloud and Many production facilities use contract teams who need the software solutions based upon generic IT operational familiarity to do their job quickly hardware. Some core development will be and without retraining. It’s this area that required and amortized over multiple requires the biggest leap to get to the next The development of customers, but it may be a very different level of change. The first evidence of this is the ‘toolbox’ and proposition to the regular finished product the interest in remote production for live indeed the entire business model. events, minimizing the technology and staff Not all end-users will want to develop solutions from the ground up, but they do want to enjoy the benefits of agility and scalability. The consumer environment is fast moving with new trends appearing at a frenzied pace. Media companies need to adapt daily – something that traditional hardware solutions could never accommodate.
system might take place in the Cloud which offers a much lower cost and an easier entry level environment.
So, enter the concept of the ‘toolbox’ – a solution that enables the end-user or service provider to integrate and configure a system to their own ever-changing requirements. There are many precedents for this. One example is websites, which used to be the exclusive domain of web developers, charging a significant fee to clients. Now, there are many DIY options for building sophisticated websites without the skills and knowledge that were once required. A relatively trivial example perhaps, but one which can be extrapolated to larger enterprise solutions. There is still money to be made by technology or software suppliers but the nature of this new generation of ‘products’ will be different. The development of the ‘toolbox’ and indeed the entire system might take place in the Cloud which offers a much lower cost and an easier entry level environment. Whether it’s a Cloud solution or in-house data center, the ability to configure, reconfigure and scale in a world of
located on site.
No one solution fits all There is a growing gap between large enterprises and small operators. Point products and solutions are still important for the low-cost mass market and in studio production. Technology suppliers must be clear about which market they wish to address.
For the enterprise market, the first-line customer may increasingly be a service or Cloud provider. The end-user, who is a customer of the service provider, will demand the flexibility and agility that a highly configurable ‘toolbox approach’ offers. One constant in all of this is interoperability. There is still a strong desire to choose best-of-breed and indeed to replace components, software or hardware over time. So, this may sound like there are storm clouds ahead and if you are not working towards a very different broadcast and media world, that may be the case. The good news though is, content creation and media consumption are growing and the newly defined media and broadcast industry is probably considerably larger than we imagine. That’s why the large IT centric companies are increasingly getting involved. For those not held back by legacy thinking, the future is bright!
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Show evolves every year with new features and focuses. What’s new on the menu this year, and what are the returning favourites?
Chris Brown Conventions & Business Operations division, NAB Show
There are quite a few new elements this year; starting with 244 new exhibitors bringing everything from acquisition technologies to A.I., data analytics and cloud solutions and everything in between. It is quite a diverse set of new participants. Some of the more exciting new entrants are those participating in our Startup Loft and the Sprockit Hub. Startup Loft features companies that are literally just out of concept stage and that have launched in the last year or so. Sprockit, on the other hand, features carefully selected market-ready startups that are proven, have truly extraordinary products or services and are looking to take the next step in the industry.
In terms of new features, we are excited about a number of new conferences that have been added. Two of these new conferences – Ad Innovations and Business of Sports Entertainment – are aimed at established but extremely important segments of the industry. On the advertising side the focus in the conference will be on shifting models and the impact of new automation in the space, while on the sports side the focus is on the challenges and opportunities inherent in changing viewing behaviour and the new platforms and technologies that are underlying those changes. We have also introduced several conferences aimed at newer content segments. These include the Streaming Summit, eSports Conference and Content Strategies for Podcasting; all of these programs serve a mix of traditional broadcasters and new content creators looking at new forms of content and new approaches to distribution. Two other new features, one an exhibit and one an awards program, are also aimed at important new audiences. The Game Developers Gallery in the North Hall will actually feature developers
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building games, helping demonstrate how the technologies and storytelling behind the gaming industry are intersecting with the traditional media sphere. The Travel Video Awards is a new program designed to highlight the works of independent filmmakers, brands and media companies. There is some tremendous work done in this area and some really great creators that not only don’t get proper recognition, but also may not traditionally attend the NAB Show.
Braindate is designed for peer-to-peer and other connections and is really all about helping match people that possess certain skills and knowledge together with people that have problems or challenges that can be addressed by those skills or knowledge.
When we look at building in new elements to the show we not only look at new conference or expo features but we also look at new events and services. And with a show the size of NAB Show it can sometimes be a challenge to connect with people of like interests, so we have added a number of new programs designed to make it easier for our attendees to network with peers and new friends. We have added a unique, online matching platform called Braindate. Braindate is designed for peer-to-peer and other connections and is really all about helping match people that possess certain skills and knowledge together with people that have problems or challenges that can be addressed by those skills or knowledge. The idea is to create matches and opportunities for meetings – it is all opt-in, meeting requests do not have to be accepted. For the meetings that are set, there is a designated meeting area at the show for “braindates.” We have also built in a whole set of “Community Mixers” for various community groups at the show, like startups, people interested in UAV’s, streamers
New networking area on the exhibit floor – the South Hall Draft House, or SUDS
or young professionals. These are held on the show floor in either designated theatre locations or the Post-Production Campus. Finally, we have added a new networking area on the exhibit floor – the South Hall Draft House, or SUDS as we like to call it. As for returning favourites, I have already mentioned a couple in Sprockit and Startup Loft. These two areas area are now integrated with Futures Park to create a complete story on innovation that we are calling the Innovation Pipeline. Our Immersive Storytelling Pavilion should also be fun. It is a new version of what was the VR Pavilion. The new name reflects a more expansive look at all new immersive technologies, including augmented and mixed reality. Other can’t miss features of the show include the IP Showcase, Connected Media IP, the PostProduction Campus and our Destination NXT Theaters. The latter, in the North and South Upper Halls.
If a visitor has just one day to cover the show, what would be your must-see/do recommendations? Obviously, the answer to this question would depend a great deal on the perspective the individual brings with them; that is, the role they play in the industry and what their key objectives would be. That is the beauty, and the challenge, of the show. There is something for just about everyone in the media and entertainment ecosystem at NAB Show, whether coming at it from the business, creative or technical side – and no matter what vertical you represent, from
broadcast to cable, telco, film, post and so on. That aside, if the idea would be to get a flavour for the future, I think a good place to start would be the area already mentioned – our Innovation Pipeline area in our North Hall. This is where we feature three areas that spotlight new technologies and emerging players in the industry. Futures Park shows the ideas that are still a few years out, being developed in the lab. This is where you will see the latest developments in technologies like 8K, HDR, advanced audio and more. Startup Loft brings together a collection of companies that are just off the launching pad, with a range of products and ideas. And finally, Sprockit, is a curated startup program that identifies the hottest new startups in the industry – companies that are bringing truly revolutionary new ideas and thinking. While in the North Hall it is worth a stop at another area already mentioned, the Immersive Storytelling Pavilion. This pavilion will bring together companies
showing the latest in augmented, virtual and mixed reality. The case and applications for VR continues to evolve, and there seems to be real potential in augmented and mixed reality technologies. This is a look at truly new ways of consuming and interacting with content. Among the highlights in the Central Hall is the IP Showcase, a special combination of theatre presentations and demos to help broadcasters better navigate the complexities of migrating to an IP infrastructure. IABM is, of course, a major contributor to the showcase and this is an area where there is a great need for information and education. Central Hall is also home to many of the major players in camera and production technology. There are some really incredible exhibits that warrant a look, including Sony, Canon, JVC, Panasonic, Ikegami, Vitec, Nikon and Arri. In the South Hall there is a great deal to see. Upstairs it would be worth a walk to see the Connected Media IP area, which will feature more than 60 exhibitors covering
IP Showcase at NAB Show last year.
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Don’t miss wednesday morning A.I.-focused Main Stage general session program produced in partnership with AWS/Elemental
the technologies and providers making multiplatform content delivery possible. This floor also features a couple of pavilions that reflect the changing dynamics of the industry – our new Podcasting Pavilion, complete with an Ask the Expert area, as well as our Advanced Advertising Pavilion. Downstairs is one of the most exciting areas of the show. If nothing else, it is worth just taking a minute to stand at the top of the stairs and take in all the sights, sounds and activity. This spot is always a beehive of activity. Some of the most dynamic exhibitors in the show are featured in the South Building, like Blackmagic, Grass Valley, Avid, Google, Facebook, Imagine, Harmonic, EVS, Ericsson, AWS/elemental, IBM and Microsoft.
Our industry continues to transform at an incredible rate. What do you think are the breaking trends we’re going to see at this year’s NAB Show? Businesses and business models in the industry are transforming on both sides of the equation. Content creators and distributors are continuing to have to adapt to the new world of anywhere, anytime content consumption. Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically, which is opening opportunities but also dictating that companies follow viewers and listeners to digital platforms and a growing list of devices. On the vendor side we will continue to see the parallel move to provide more complete and more adaptable solutions. From a macro level the big trends continue to be a move from hardware to software, from SD to IP and the move to the cloud. Drilling down, software and IT are at the heart of this and will increasingly take centre 14 IABM JOURNAL
stage – and many of the key trends will flow from this. Good examples would be artificial intelligence, big data and cloud services. We are excited to be spotlighting the power of A.I. and machine-learning via a new A.I. Experiential Zone display in the show’s Central Lobby. There visitors will be able to engage with several demo areas showing how A.I. can transform all phases of the content creation and distribution cycle. We also have a great Wednesday morning A.I.-focused Main Stage general session program produced in partnership with AWS/Elemental.
More companies... extend what they are doing with their exhibit space to meeting rooms or even hotel suites. This means a focus on-the-floor that is complemented by more engaged, more intimate interactions off or adjacent to the floor.
Other trends that will no doubt be prominently discussed and on display would include 8K technology, HDR, the next generation U.S. TV standard, or ATSC 3.0 – which will once again be featured prominently in our Central Lobby – the role of the automobile as the next great entertainment platform and in general, the tremendous influence of the digital platforms on new content creation. With respect to the latter, we are happy to have Facebook Live back in the show with a partner pavilion in the South Hall. Google will also have a significant presence in South Hall.
Many aspects of the broadcast and media industry rely less and less on the dedicated hardware that used to dominate booths at NAB Show. Has this trend changed the average amount of space exhibitors are taking – or have they changed the way they use the space? There is no doubt it has had some impact, although I do think it has mostly led companies to rethink how they approach their overall participation in the show and how they tell their story. Just as the show continues to evolve with the changes in the industry, so too have the show’s exhibitors been evolving. The emphasis is more on meaningful engagement and on extending the story beyond just product. This has led more and more companies, for example, to extend what they are doing with their exhibit space to meeting rooms or even hotel suites. This means a focus on-thefloor that is complemented by more engaged, more intimate interactions off or adjacent to the floor. There is also a much greater emphasis on thought leadership. We find many more exhibitors looking for opportunities to integrate into the conference program or perhaps even produce their own educational programs. From our standpoint this is welcome as technology vendors in the industry are often the leading drivers behind key innovations. I think the phenomenon you reference has also been behind some of the more recent consolidation we have seen on the vendor side. Companies are looking to present a more complete set of offerings to customers in a world where a more flexibility is the rule. That sort of consolidation, of course, usually leads to some changes on our exhibit
Nearly a third of those participating at NAB Show 2018 will be from outside of the U.S
floor as what were once separate exhibit presences are consolidated so the company can reflect a united brand.
With so much information available and business being done online, do exhibitions today still have the relevance they used to, and if so, why? It is a question we have been hearing for a number of years and the answer has more or less been the same from the first time it was asked: as long as people still feel a need to connect face-to-face and value relationships in the way they do business, exhibitions will continue to play a vital role in driving commerce for all industries. These are fundamentals that I do not see changing. People are innately social, and in business, relationships still carry immense importance. Lasting business relationships are built on trust. It is hard to build real trust via a wire. It is also true that exhibitions are still enormously efficient. Not just in bringing together vendors and products, but in bringing together people from all sides of the business. NAB Show is the one place that brings virtually everyone, from all sides of the media and entertainment ecosystem, together. So it is all here. Everything and everyone you need to see. The value is in the aggregating of all of these things. If you are vendor you may be able to attract a certain audience via the Internet, or your own event, but it will be a selective audience and only a portion. An exhibition like NAB Show can deliver audience that never knew of you or never even knew they might need you. This brings it around to serendipity. One of the real beauties of events like NAB Show is the opportunity to
discover what you don’t know, and never expected to find. It might be the small exhibitor tucked away in the corner of Central Hall, or the chance encounter in the coffee line with a key executive from a company that could be a future partner. It is these surprise discoveries, these surprise encounters that often deliver the real value of the experience. Following in from the last question, 100,000 people will descend on Las Vegas for NAB Show again this year. What is it that makes NAB Show in particular such a magnet? Well, I think we have history and scale on our side... with perhaps a little bit of the content we produce to point to as well. This is an event that has been bringing the industry together for over 90 years. The real movers, shakers and pioneers have been making the annual trip to NAB Show for a very long time, and it is – as said – the fact that all of these players come together in one place that makes it so appealing. It is a massive reunion in some respects; a place to meet old friends. But more than that it is a place to meet new people, and to see what is new in tech, creative and on the business side. It is a peek into the future of media. And the fact that it is the largest event of its kind in the world makes it that much more appealing. Nearly a third of those participating will be from outside of the U.S. This is a global event with global implications, and big is absolutely better in this case. Is there any advice you’d like to share with IABM members to ensure they get the best possible return on their investments in exhibiting at NAB Show? I am sure my answer is not dissimilar
from what I have shared in past years. It is important, as an exhibitor in NAB Show, to invest the appropriate amount of time and effort into planning, marketing and preparation to ensure a good result. You need a very clear and distinct message and you need to be able to communicate that before, during and after the show. Don’t just count on people finding you. Make sure you do the outreach in advance with both customers and prospects. Give them a reason to come by to see you – whether that is a new product announcement, a new feature or a change in your price or service approach. The decision makers attending will have their hands full getting to all that they want to see during the show; their time is limited, so you need to work hard to make sure you get on their dance card. If one key is what you do before the show, the other key is definitely what you do after. Make sure you have a solid plan for following up on all the leads and contacts you make at the show. Have a system mapped out and a way to track the results. The worst you can do is let all that opportunity slip away with inadequate follow up; and you would be surprised at how often this happens. Lastly, take advantage of the free information and resources that are available to you as exhibitors via nabshow.com. Our team has put together a range of information and tools you can put to use to help maximize the return on your investment in the show. And if you can’t find it there, please call our team. We want and need you to succeed.
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Net neutrality has turned 180Â° in the US, but how will it affect the world? 16 IABM JOURNAL
We all thought any more discussion about net neutrality was done and over with back in 2015 when the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, in the US adopted net neutrality rules that keep the Internet free and open. It was a fierce battle leading up to this decision and now the FCC is reversing its decision and removing the net neutrality rules. So what does this really mean? My wife is an avid Facebook user – strictly for her profession – and she started asking me about net neutrality. As you may know I live in Canada, so I was curious to know why she even knew about net neutrality given her vocation is teaching specialized arts and craft techniques, which has little to do with our techy media and entertainment world. Many of her Facebook ‘friends’ were up in arms and super concerned about the changes in net neutrality and how it would affect their daily lives including their Facebook activities. Digging deeper it was pretty clear people were only picking up a single thread about net neutrality. This is unfortunately really common now; social media is increasingly an echo chamber for like-thinking people, without even a hint of the balanced view that professional journalists strive to report.
Protestors advocating for net neutrality rally on the streets of Philadelphia, January 2018.
Stan Moote CTO, IABM
Net neutrality is all about ISPs (Internet service providers) not being able to block, or for that matter even slow down, specific Internet traffic to their customers. Without net neutrality, competitive services could be slowed down or even blocked by ISPs. For instance, an ISP that is owned or associated with a media company could block or slow up competing television services that are using OTT for distribution. For that matter, the reverse could happen where media providers that rely on OTT could indeed pay the ISPs to give their services higher speeds, thus slowing down their potential competition.
Getting back to my wife’s Facebook ‘friends’’ hyped-up concerns, opinions aired over the Internet could be blocked if the ISP has opposing views, stifling free speech online. Wow – here we are back to freedom of the press! Many smaller lobby groups are afraid they will lose their voices. So why would the FCC make a 180 degree turn? They call this ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ moving back to encourage rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom. As Jim Burger, who is an attorney in Washington at Thompson and Coburn explains it, the current administration believes “less regulation is good”. I have spoken with several colleagues, including those whose companies have a foot in the Internet and the media business, who believe this 180-degree turn is good – however they declined to go on record and do an interview for IABM TV. As you can see, there are very strong opposing views on this topic. Thinking about this on a broader level, net neutrality has been considered very important for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs to compete against the big guys who could afford to bias the Internet service providers’ through-puts. Further, overseas companies wanting to provide services within the US could be blocked. Either way, this new ‘freedom’ would effectively actually reduce freedom of choice for buyers. After all, who can do any business these days without having an Internet presence? This could happen in other countries too, protecting their own services. From IABM’s members’ point of view, you need to beware of this as your customers can be affected directly and it can be one of driving forces behind their decision-making processes. Additionally, many countries outside the US are watching this closely as they decide on their own communication regulatory framework.
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The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer, will change the way we look at our industry forever
IABM introduces new industry model – The BaM™ Content Chain: from creator to consumer
Peter White CEO, IABM
At NAB Show 2018, IABM is unveiling a radical new industry model – The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer. It is designed to model the new structure of the broadcast and media industry and provide a flexible, extensible model to accommodate the fast-changing business environment.
The BaM™ Content Chain will thus prove invaluable to technology buyers, users and vendors alike to adopt the most creative and efficient operational processes, and choose the best tools and technology. As the ultimate source of all revenues for everyone involved in the content chain, The BaM™ Content Chain places the consumer at the heart of this new industry model. It is structured around a common understanding of the creative, technical and business processes from creation to consumption – and the technology employed at every step, whether software, hardware, cloud or managed service. This approach makes the BaM™ Content Chain equally valid for media, broadcast and content businesses of any scale as well as technology vendors. It also provides an up-to-date picture of the structure of the broadcast and media industry today – solid foundations for understanding, analysis and decision making. By mapping to the creative and business activities carried out between camera and consumer, the BaM™ Content Chain gives a complete, 360-degree model of the industry. It tracks all the steps
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between content being created, through production and postproduction to management, publishing & distribution to monetization. All these steps are supported by three common pillars – connect, store and support, through which processes flow at all stages of the content chain. The BaM™ Content Chain serves four primary economic functions: n Building a common understanding of the creative, technical and economic activities addressed by the industry. This enables changes to be tracked and understood n Underpinning the valuation of the addressable market for different types of technology products and services – now and into the future. It looks at this from both ends – spending by technology buyers, and revenues of vendors n Aiding discovery of potential solutions/vendors by prospective buyers, making it clear who sells what, and which products fit which niche n Creating a blueprint for building a modern content supply chain – optimizing workflows and operations to deliver content from creator to consumer
efficiently across multiple formats and platforms The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer, will underpin IABM’s scope of activities and business intelligence services, and enable easier discovery of vendors by buyers. It is built around the following creative, technical and business processes:
Create Create covers the process of original acquisition or creation of raw content – live (‘real-time’) or recorded, in a studio or in the field and the technology that enables this process. While this naturally includes distinct products such as cameras and accessories, lighting and audio recorders, it also encompasses UGC and social media. Services such as OB/remote trucks also come into the Create link. While these currently overlap into the Produce link, with the growing trend towards remote production using IP, OBs/remotes will increasingly be fully described within Create.
Produce Produce encompasses the production process (real-time/live) and post-production (file-based) to create a finished piece of content. The enabling technology that
supports Produce includes graphics, audio production, video production and services, production and post-production software – including film transfer, editing, audio post, finishing, VFX and graphics, and services.
Manage Manage defines the aggregation, preparation and management of completed content items ready for distribution. This includes content preparation and services, content and workflow management and orchestration, metadata, and operational analytics – everything from ingest and QC to transcoding; the process of readying content for delivery to the end-user customer.
Store Every process in the chain also needs access to storage, whether it’s raw content, work-in-progress, completed projects or archived content. This includes VTRs & DVRs, video servers, portable storage, on-premise storage, and cloud storage.
Publish Publish covers an ever-growing field as viewing and listening choices continue to expand. It is defined as the playout or publication of content ready for consumers, and its subsequent distribution to reach consumers. Enabling technology for Publish includes linear playout systems, linear playout services, non-linear publishing systems, nonlinear publishing services, projectors, large LED screens, protection & encryption, linear distribution & encryption, cable, IPTV, satellite, terrestrial distribution, and internet distribution.
Monetize For end-users, monetization is the reason they are in business, and the Monetize process defines the activities that support this. It covers the business activities that support the creation, acquisition and generation of sales/advertising revenue of content, including rights management, broadcast management, advertising systems, subscription & CRM systems and data analytics.
Consume The final link in the content chain – and the force that ultimately powers it – Consume defines all the touchpoints with the end-consumer of the content. Examples include a consumer-facing app that makes content recommendations and captures consumer data. The three common pillars that enable and support the interaction through and between the five creative, technical and business processes of The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer, are:
Connect Connect defines the infrastructure, connectivity and bandwidth used to move content within and between facilities. This includes intra-facility connectivity, inter-facility connectivity, video interfacing & conversion, audio interfacing & conversion, and file & object delivery.
Support The Support link encompasses the supporting capabilities used across the content supply chain to monitor and secure content and run operations. This includes video and audio monitoring, system monitoring, test & measurement, communications, cyber-security and protection, on-premise compute, cloud compute, facility hardware, implementation services, and rental services. “The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer, will change the way we look at our industry forever. It is the result of a major project undertaken by IABM to redefine the broadcast and media content supply chain as the industry continues to transform,” said Peter White, CEO, IABM. “It had become clear that the previous industry model, based around product categorization, was not able to reflect the enormous changes our industry has gone through – and will continue to go through into the future. There has been a fundamental change throughout the industry from a ‘push’ model to one where the consumer can now ‘pull’ just the content they want, wherever and whenever they want it. “The BaM™ Content Chain: from Creator to Consumer, puts the consumer at the heart of its model and defines the industry ecosystem around delivering what they require. A further beauty of the BaM™ Content Chain model is that it is not static – it is flexible and can evolve to include new products and offerings without being redesigned,” White concluded.
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Similar to the Industrial Revolution... the AI Revolution will usher in new technologies over an extended period of time until it becomes commonplace as the backbone of our global society.
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S P EC I A L R EP O R T
AI â€“ where are we now, and where are we headed?
Roger Thornton IABM
AI is much more than just a passing buzzword; it will be a crucial driver of media technology spending in 2018 and beyond as companies seek to further automate their operations and build direct relationships with consumers â€“ as the recent string of acquisitions demonstrates. According to IABM data, most technology users plan to deploy AI in content management, distribution and delivery. They will continue to invest in AI during 2018 to become more efficient and better understand their customers, driving loyalty and revenues.
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Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of ‘intelligent agents’: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Wikipedia
In this article, a number of IABM members tell us how they are currently deploying AI in their product and service offerings and the benefits this is delivering to their customers. They also look forward to how AI will play an increasing role in the broadcast and media industry over the coming years. From the responses we received, AI is being brought to bear on practically every aspect of the media workflow already, and it’s set to go wider and deeper with every passing day.
Automating manual tasks to drive efficiency At the content capture/creation end of the media chain, Wazee Digital has partnered with Veritone to integrate the latter’s proprietary platform of advanced cognitive engines and applications. “This partnership allows Wazee Digital Core customers to leverage Veritone’s AI technology for automated metadata extraction and analysis, including speech-to-text transcription, face recognition, translation, object recognition, content moderation, and optical character recognition,” says Andy Hurt, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Wazee Digital. The company already has two implementations underway with global media brands, though for commercial reasons, they can’t be named. One of these taps AI to “streamline metadata extraction through automated facial recognition and transcription” says Hurt. “The second implementation is with one of the largest portfolios of cable networks. By implementing an AI strategy, this company can automate legal requirements that normally would have been highly manual and labor-intensive.” IPV is also leveraging AI for both speech-to-text and generating metadata from image recognition. “We’re able to integrate AI-powered speech-to-text functionality into our Curator system to let users automatically create subtitles – saving a huge amount of resource deployment. This functionality can also be rolled out into any kind of post production workflow and used for the production of subtitles for any sized screen,” says Nigel Booth, EVP Business Development and Marketing at IPV. “In a similar vein, we’re also able to easily integrate AI image recognition functionality for the intelligent addition of metadata. This is especially useful when ingesting a lot of content into an asset management system at once. Using AI, metadata can be
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added based on the content of the video without needing to use valuable resources to review media and add tags of descriptions manually. One of the key short-term benefits for our education clients is compliance with accessibility legislation. They’re able to meet requirements without needing to deploy any more expensive resources than necessary.” Wazee Digital’s Andy Hurt sees enormous untapped potential coming online through AI. “The Veritone Platform will make it possible for Wazee Digital customers to unlock previously unknown moments within their vast motion archives in a much more costeffective and timely manner than manually tagging film and video assets. Historically, harvesting metadata has been a manual and grueling task. Without accurate and robust technical and descriptive metadata, a media asset is not easily searchable or discoverable for remonetization, so its value plunges. By leveraging the Veritone Platform within Wazee Digital Core, much of the tedious metadata curation can now be done through automation and machine learning.” EVS’s Johan Vounckx, SVP, Innovation & Technology, sees AI as opening up new workflow possibilities rather than just automating existing processes. “What we’re focusing on is creating workflows with intelligent production assistants that let human operators do a better job,” he says. IPV’s Nigel Booth agrees: “AI is taking automation to the next step – it can do much more. The goal of automation is to create output based on fixed, inflexible rules but cognitive services allow so much more. AI functions can intelligently review media and in our case, create something tailored and specific. We don’t just want to make automatic workflows, we want to make them smart – independent from unnecessary manual processes.”
AI now playing in sports With the eyewatering price of sports rights, broadcasters are looking for anything that can reduce their production costs while attracting and retaining the maximum number of viewers. Remote IP production is increasingly attractive on the cost saving side of the equation, but, according to Tedial, AI can contribute on both counts. The company is launching SMARTLIVE at NAB, an automated live sport solution. Jay Batista, GM of US Operations at Tedial, explains: “Before any
Historically, harvesting metadata has been a manual and grueling task...much of the tedious metadata curation can now be done through automation and machine learning
automatically, the AI allows for operators to easily place graphics on to the pitch. With this in place for video refereeing in soccer, the system can now tell a referee as soon as a player goes offside. Integrating AI into Xeebra speeds up processes, while allowing users to be more precise. These are the two most important things for video refereeing, and will also benefit users when deploying AI in other production workflows.”
action happens, SMARTLIVE ingests a live data feed and automatically creates an event inside its metadata engine, automatically building the corresponding log sheets, the player grids and a schedule of the event for feed capture. All these preparations are linked and organised by collections, so an entire season of sports events can be prepared automatically in advance. During live events, SMARTLIVE leverages AI to automatically annotate the incoming camera feeds and apply automated highlights creation to feed social media platforms based on event, personnel or multi-game highlights, all hands free!
Brightcove also sees great potential for AI in sports. “One specific ML/AI application we envision could potentially automate the segmentation of content and help to edit video where a human has been traditionally involved,” says Matt Smith, VP and Principal Media Evangelist at Brightcove. “For example, in a tennis match, ML could be trained to interpret increases and decreases in crowd noise and reaction with graphical elements and facial reactions of the players. The beginning and end of a game or match could be appended and segmented using these ML advances. Additional sports can use similar methodology to segment plays and games as well. This approach can help organizations reduce the number of personnel who are now required to physically sit in front of a monitor and use a browser-based editing product to edit the clips today.”
“SMARTLIVE is 100 per cent compatible with PAM (Production Asset Management) providers such as SAM and EVS, which makes it the perfect tool to orchestrate all business processes on top of an existing PAM, mixing historical media with live feeds … as a learning machine, it can then manage the end-to-end media lifecycle, increasing fan engagement, thereby driving content to higher profitability,” adds Batista. EVS has been a leader in sports production technology for many years, and it too has been working on an AI platform for some time to enhance its products. “Several technology demonstrations have been made using this platform – the first of which is set to be integrated within our Xeebra video refereeing tool,” says EVS’ Johan Vounckx. “We’re able to use AI to intelligently calibrate the field of play in the system, something that if done manually, is a very time-consuming job. But done
Quality matters Enhanced quality control is useful at any stage in the content chain, and Interra Systems is exploiting AI for automatic QC and content classification in its BATON QC solution – on show at NAB. “The AI-based capability we are adding to BATON will help operators classify their content and be aware of exactly what is being viewed and heard. For example, it will help operators know if the
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The automatic configuration and diagnostic root cause analysis data delivered with every alert has proved incredibly effective for HBO GO and HBO NOW
content has any violence or explicit scenes. This kind of identification has traditionally been done manually, which is both errorprone, time consuming, and expensive. Using an AI approach, identification can be largely automated,” explains Anupama Anantharaman, VP, Product Marketing and Business Development at Interra Systems. “Automating this process will make this very efficient and less resource intensive, thereby reducing costs.”
AI at the sharp end AI is also proving its worth at the delivery end of the media chain. Conviva offers a Video AI Platform for OTT publishers and broadcasters. “Today, publishers spend a considerable amount of time and effort to configure and monitor manual alerts to detect service delivery issues,” says Ed Haslam, CMO, at Conviva. “This often requires large operational teams, who while extremely crucial to the business, most times are not able to find nor configure every possible alert. Furthermore, these teams must spend valuable hours diagnosing the root cause of each and every issue. From our work with the world’s largest publishers over the past 10 years, we recognized the need for a solution addressing these pain points, leading to the development of Video AI Alerts. “Video AI Alerts automatically detects and diagnoses service delivery issues, enabling publishers to deliver a consistently higher quality of experience while also better managing operational costs. Their viewers, in turn, experience streaming video more seamlessly with less buffering and interruptions, similar to traditional broadcast television delivery,” Haslam adds. “HBO is one
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example of how our customers are reducing the time and expense associated with detecting and fixing streaming delivery issues on the internet using AI. Here is a quote from Vikrant Kelkar, Site Reliability Lead at HBO: ‘The automatic configuration and diagnostic root cause analysis data delivered with every alert has proved incredibly effective for HBO GO and HBO NOW. In one case, a stream had been misconfigured and without the full stream URL reporting with each alert, we would not have been able to see nor diagnose the cause of this issue. With Conviva’s Video AI Alerts, we were able to catch the issue right away.’” Imagine Communications is also exploiting AI in its playout and networking solutions. “Imagine Communications’ Zenium platform enables the company’s playout and networking solutions to leverage AI-based platforms and workflows. Imagine conducted a demonstration, for example, at last year’s IBC show, that showcased Zenium’s ability to work with cognitive computing platforms from IBM to employ machine learning to create closedcaption text on the fly,” says Glodina Lostanlen, CMO at Imagine Communications. “The benefit to customers is that they are able to seamlessly and quickly incorporate cognitive capabilities into their broadcast,
With mature AI technologies like speech, face, object and text recognition, key metadata information can be captured in real-time and automatically enriched to maximize asset management, search, personalization and monetization
playout and distribution workflows. The component-based nature of microservices design principles allows discrete functions to be added or incorporated into workflows and operations without disruption, allowing media companies to essentially trade out one function for another or incorporate new capabilities through a simple software procedure … The same building-block approach can also be used to seamlessly add the algorithms that constitute the AI application to a workflow.” As with most other companies quoted in this article, Imagine Communications finds itself bound by confidentiality in discussing actual projects, but in late 2017, Imagine Communications issued a press release highlighting work that it was doing with Sky Italia in the AI realm. “Imagine Communications disclosed that the European operator’s compression operations were being augmented with the addition of artificial intelligence capabilities,” says Glodina Lostanlen. “The customizations, made possible through Zenium, were designed to enable Sky Italia to automatically optimize the quality of content and reduce costs through the insertion of machine learning directly into the data flow, bringing new and unique functionality to an existing product. Among the benefits of the customization project cited by Sky Italia was the ability to streamline its service chain, eliminating a separate and external function by incorporating it into an existing workflow.” “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are very important to the evolution and maturation of video and the associated data therein,” says Brightcove’s Matt Smith. “Specifically, we have deployed ML technology, Context Aware Encoding, that applies complex algorithms for the analysis of VOD source files, coupled with userdefined audience data (platforms that will consume), and a discrete ladder of renditions is created based on this data and the calculations. The benefits to Context Aware Encoding are significant reductions in the cost to deliver and store the video renditions. Early customers have seen a variety of savings across their libraries, driven largely by the type of content being processed. The more complex the content (action in frame), the shallower the savings. Conversely, less complex content (like a news anchor in frame) drives significant savings. Across the board, our customers are seeing savings between 25-50% on storage and delivery.” Backing that claim up, Smith continues: “Young Hollywood, one of the leading producers and distributors of celebrity-driven digital media, initially configured the technology for two of its brands – Young
Hollywood and Young Hollywood TV. In the early innings of using CAE, the brands have seen reductions of up to 35% in bandwidth and 23% in storage.”
Across the board Ooyala is looking to leverage AI across the entire media chain. Belsasar Lepe, CTO at Ooyala, says, “Media companies today are under tremendous pressure to meet the demands of a 24/7 always-on global audience. Production teams in particular are having to create more content, faster, with the same budget and resources. By introducing automation and AI into media workflows these companies can reduce manual tasks, eliminate bottlenecks and maximize the speed and efficiency with which media assets are brought to market. “The Flex Media Platform automates every aspect of media workflows across the production lifecycle, from asset ingestion to review & approval, to monitoring and distribution. We see AI as an important evolution to each of these workflows moving forward as represented by our exciting integration with MSFT Cognitive Services for enhanced metadata capture. With mature AI technologies like speech, face, object and text recognition, key metadata information can be captured in real-time and automatically enriched to maximize asset management, search, personalization and monetization,” Lepe continues. “Specific to our integration of AI for metadata capture and processing, having access to enhanced metadata, faster can lead to a number of invaluable benefits. Not only will internal workflow processes run much faster and more smoothly, but the user experience can also be greatly enhanced as well. Personalization is often a good example where the more data you have about an asset, the more you can cater to a user’s preferences and provide a truly unique experience. Another exciting example presents itself around live events where an AI program can immediately identify a key datapoint and react instantly. For example, if a movie star is shown in the crowd at a baseball game, AI can pull up that star’s most popular movie clip, check it for licensing and prep it for air… all within seconds,” Lepe concludes. Today, AI is being mostly exploited in discrete operational processes, but, according to many of the correspondents in this article, it will grow to encompass the entire media supply chain, from camera to consumer. “The potential is huge,” says Interra Systems’ Anupama Anantharaman. “AI techniques at each stage can improve ‘how’ and ‘what’ gets done in the next or the previous stage. For example,
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... end result will be a percentage of labour saved. The IABM puts that estimate at 30% reduction or more, by 2020
using end-user usage data sets, an operator can determine that viewers are dropping off from watching a particular piece of content. If the reason is due to a transcode issue, then the operator can automatically fine-tune the transcoder, using the AI-generated feedback to remove such artifacts and boost viewership.” Tedial’s Jay Batista agrees: “AI will provide automated cameras to follow actors, manage basic editing decision making, and enable multiple ‘media’ feeds for linear, non-linear and social media platforms. The end result will be a percentage of labour saved. IABM puts that estimate at 30% reduction or more, by 2020.” “We are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with ML/AI,” says Brightcove’s Matt Smith. “As implementations of the technology continue to roll out, we will see multiple datasets being intermingled and leveraged to harness the power of ML to drive delivery and placement. For example, ML’s ability to analyze a video frame-by-frame and determine a particular element (automobile, branded coffee cup or soda can) in frame will then drive what ads are dynamically inserted into the stream, or inform a display ad platform to place a static ad on the page hosting the player to play an ad from that same company.” IPV’s Nigel Booth shares this enthusiasm, but sounds a note of caution – based on real-life experience – that we have a way to go yet. “AI technologies will start to be used across multiple areas of the supply chain, from helping inform and steer content production right the way through to distribution. While this is exciting, it should be understood that these technologies are currently at a stage where they can give false results. At IPV we have run a number of projects which involve aggregating data from multiple datasets to improve the accuracy of AI-led results. For example, when an AI-led object recognition engine identifies an item in shot, it may or may not be correct. By combining this with data from the audio track, however, the engine can tell whether the audio also contains a mention of the item, helping it to improve accuracy.”
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Looking ahead To put AI into a broader perspective, we asked our correspondents to look ahead five years and speculate on the role AI will be playing in broadcast and media – disruptor or just another passing phase? Wazee Digital’s Andy Hurt sees metadata underpinning the industry and AI as the means to exploit it: “Much like the cloud has become a major disruptor in M&E, I believe that AI is the next big wave of technology that can further optimize the legacy broadcast workflow. At the end of the day, the curation of metadata has become almost as important as the content itself – some have argued even more important. Without proper metadata schemas and standards, the entire ‘lens to screen’ workflow becomes cumbersome and can lead to utter failure. I see AI as a driving force in the evolution of metadata creation.”
As AI capabilities increase and more and more visual information is turned into data points, i.e., metadata, the impact of AI on the broadcast industry will only expand – permeating nearly every workflow.”
AI ... important element in the video experiences of the future. We will look back and wonder what we did before the advent of machine learning
Imagine Communications’ Glodina Lostanlen also sees data and metadata as key going forward: “As AI capabilities increase and more and more visual information is turned into data points, i.e., metadata, the impact of AI on the broadcast industry will only expand – permeating nearly every workflow.” For Conviva, it’s all about data too. “As the business of TV migrates from traditional broadcast and pay TV models to pure internet OTT delivery, the measurement of TV will also migrate from a panel-based approach to a true census-based approach,” says Ed Haslam, CMO. “The massive scale of data produced from this census requires artificial intelligence to both process and make sense of the data in real-time; AI will be a fundamental technology underpinning this. The AI models will evolve from today’s mostly detection and diagnoses-based approaches to more predictive models that will help avoid problems and additional expense associated with delivering video on the internet before they happen.” Brightcove’s Matt Smith sees AI/ML as “a considerably large and important element in the video experiences of the future. We will look back and wonder what we did before the advent of machine learning, because it will have added scale, enabled the processing of massive amounts of data and created massive shifts in how video is processed and delivered. In short, ML/AI will make video processing, delivery and monetization ‘smarter’ than it ever has been.” EVS sees AI as fundamental to its customers’ future. “EVS isn’t engaging in developing AI for the sake of it. It has a long-term vision that aims to support our customers in making more, higher-quality personalized content. We also make sure there’s a business need that won’t go away. It’s with that that EVS has identified AI as a major building block to realize this long-term vision,” says EVS’ Johan Vounckx. Ooyala also envisions AI permeating every aspect of our lives. “Similar to the Industrial Revolution, which represented a massive overhaul of manufacturing processes over decades and across centuries, the AI Revolution will usher in new technologies over an extended period of time until it becomes commonplace as the backbone of our global society. The B&M industry is, so far, on the forefront of the proliferation of AI technology, no doubt due to the amount of ad revenue and production spends that stand to be optimized, which is why Ooyala is excited to count ourselves as early innovators in this bold new world!” Belsasar Lepe, Ooyala CTO, concludes.
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IABM releases Supply Trends Report – revenues show modest increase, confidence and profit growth decline
IABM SUPPLY TRENDS REPORT
Key datasets for IABM members also point to reasons for optimism looking ahead Lorenzo Zanni Lead Analyst, IABM
We have just released the first of our new format Supply Trends Reports. Covering the six months to December 2017, the Supply Trends Report combines actual financial data on the broadcast and media supply sector drawn from public and private sources with survey evidence from members on current trends, issues and sentiment. Analysis of the data is carried out by IABM’s inhouse analysts, led by Lead Analyst, Lorenzo Zanni, and gives an authoritative overview of the performance of, and outlook for, the broadcast and media technology supply sector. Following is a headline summary of the report’s findings. The full report may be reviewed by IABM members on the IABM website, together with a blog that discusses the wider industry picture, including end-users. Year-on-year sales in the broadcast and media technology market grew by 1.2% in December 2017, with SMEs’ performance improving at a faster rate than large companies for the first time in several years. But while sales improved slightly, profit growth continued to slow, running at 75.9% of the December 2016 level. The continuing shift in buyers’ preferences for software running in generic IT technology, their increased concern for efficiency and a highly competitive market are all continuing to exert pressure on selling prices, with margins reducing despite vendors decreasing expenditure on R&D, recruitment, sales, marketing and shows.
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The transition to software (including the Cloud) is well underway, though hardware remains the primary source of both revenues and profits for most suppliers – with profits in sharp decline as noted above. However, some respondents who said their primary source of revenues is hardware also said that their primary source of profits is now software, which generally carries higher margins than hardware. You can find more information regarding
IABM Business Intelligence at www.theiabm.org/business-intelligence
Unsurprisingly given the Supply Trends Report’s findings on profitability, the IABM confidence ratio, which reflects business sentiment looking forward for the next year, declined from a fairly robust 7.4 mid-2017 to a less optimistic 5.6 in December 2017; this is relatively low by historical standards. Companies that primarily rely on software revenues were however significantly more confident than those primarily relying on hardware revenues – reflecting the now long-standing transition of technology buyers from hardware to software. The report also reflects the continuing difficulty for companies in recruiting staff with both the broadcast and IT skillsets needed today. Although some suppliers are going through difficult times at present, there are reasons to remain positive about the future of media technology. 2018 is a ‘spike’ year with plenty of events-related spending guaranteeing growth and opportunities for many – particularly with SMPTE ST 2110 now published and giving end-users the confidence to move forward with their IP plans. Adoption of emerging technologies will continue to rise, driving more growth for those suppliers that have invested in them. In the longer term, technology spending will continue to grow as traditional technology users try to keep up with the volatile nature of online video, leaving a plethora of opportunities for suppliers.
Insight & Analysis
Year-on-year sales in the broadcast and media technology market grew by 1.2% in December 2017
Five Media Tech Trends for 2018
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Insight & Analysis
HEVC adoption has been slow despite the higher level of efficiency guaranteed by this standard. 32% of respondents said that HEVC usage in their organizations is “low” or “very low”
IABM End-user survey: UHD IABM conducts an End-user survey twice a year – at NAB Show and IBC. In our 2017 editions of these surveys, we asked respondents what their likely timeline was for the launch of UHD offerings. The picture remains conservative; many commentators in the past expected UHD to gain traction more quickly.
Lorenzo Zanni Lead Analyst, IABM
With 72% of the NAB Show survey respondents based in the USA and 46% of the IBC respondents based in Western Europe, we might expect to see distinctly different responses, but in fact the results were quite similar for both, as is shown in the two charts below: NAB Show 2017 – What is the most likely timeline for the launch of UHD offerings in your organization? 40% 35% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10%
5% 0% Already launched
1 to 3 years
4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
No plan to launch
IBC 2017 – What is the most likely timeline for the launch of UHD offerings in your organization?
The most notable difference is the shorter timescale in Europe of those proposing to launch UHD services, with 37% proposing to launch in the next 1-3 years as opposed to North America with 22% in the same period. In both cases, over 30% of respondents have no plan at all to launch UHD services. We have also analysed UHD Forum data (April 2017) and this showed that most UHD deployments are in Europe (45%), followed by Asia-Pacific (31%) and North America (20%) – LatAM and MEA have 4%, 2% respectively. In terms of transmission, most offerings in Europe and Asia-Pacific are IPTV, while in North America OTT prevails. UHD at present remains principally a premium differentiator for Pay-TV broadcasters looking to attract new subscribers to a not-yet mainstream delivery format. For the new generation of media organizations such as Netflix and Amazon, UHD distribution is, however, growing significantly. This is perhaps not surprising given that TV dramas (and movies) are increasingly shot and posted in 4K, and delivering in UHD over the internet does not have the same challenges as over the air.
40% 35% 31% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10%
5% 0% Already launched
1 to 3 years
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4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
No plan to launch
The problem with UHD for mainstream broadcasters is twofold – increased infrastructure and distribution costs set against no clear extra revenue potential by selling advertising inventory (or the prospect of hiking licence fees for public broadcasters) in UHD. From a geographical perspective, it is mostly broadcasters in developed Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea that are investing heavily in UHD – this is to allow UHD delivery at the Winter and Summer Games in Pyeongchang (2018) and Tokyo (2020) respectively.
UHD is a less important priority than multi-platform delivery and anecdotal feedback suggests that production and delivery of content in 4K/UHD has not even crossed the minds of many broadcasters
From a consumer perspective, the cost differential between HD and 4K TV sets is narrowing rapidly, and it is predicted that in both the USA and Western Europe, UHD sets will have penetrated close to 50% of households by 2020. It is not clear, however, that it’s the increased number of pixels of UHD is the attraction – rather the better pixels delivered by the HDR component – reflected in the answers to the next question we asked in our UHD survey.
A very high percentage of respondents chose HDR (88%), which corresponds with the results above with end-users interested in HD/UHD+ enhancements. WCG and HFR seem to be less popular with end-users, at 18% and 12% respectively.
The transition to UHD delivery presents many challenges from a technical perspective. When transitioning to HD operations, broadcasters had to upgrade their infrastructures to 1.5/3Gbps to make transfer and delivery of HD content within and outside of their organizations possible. With the arrival of UHD content, end-users need 12G of bandwidth to allow for transfer and delivery of the higher resolution format. Therefore, if they are to move their operations to UHD, they need to make substantial investments to replace their existing infrastructures and ‘fill the data rate gap’.
There are different options available to them:
n Upgrading their infrastructure to 12Gbps SDI
Which of the following UHD formats is your organization interested in/ has launched? 60%
n Upgrading their infrastructure to Quad 3Gbps SDI
0% HD+ Enhancements (eg HDR, WCG, HFR)
4K+ Enhancements (eg HDR, WCG, HFR)
None of the above
n Transitioning to a Hybrid SDI-IP environment n Transitioning to an IP-centric environment
HD + Enhancements is a clear leader at 55%, UHD is at 42% with UHD + Enhancements at 43%. Only 4% of endusers were interested in 8K – 6% responded ‘none of the above’. These results show that end-users are more interested in combining enhancements such as HDR and HFR with HD rather than with UHD. Also, they are less interested in investing in UHD only. This shows that ‘better pixels’ may be more important than ‘more pixels’ for them. We also asked end-users what enhancements they are interested in or have launched. The results are shown in the chart below: Which of the following enhancements is your organization interested in/ has launched? 100% 90% 80% 70% 60%
Broadcasters could upgrade their operations to 12G although 12G equipment and applications still carry a significant cost premium compared to 1.5/3G alternatives. Quad 3G implementations entail the splitting of UHD signals over four coax cables and are not considered an ideal approach by the majority of technical experts. However, both 12G and Quad 3G implementations are preferred by some due to their benefit of backwards compatibility with current SDI workflows. Alternatively, broadcasters could move to a Hybrid IP-SDI or IP-centric environment where video signals are transmitted over Ethernet cables. This would be ideal from a technical perspective although the move to IP-based infrastructures is hindered by many constraints such as the cost premium over SDI installations, backwards compatibility with current SDI workflows as well as interoperability and security concerns.
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% HDR
This survey shows that UHD is a less important priority than multi-platform delivery and anecdotal feedback suggests that production and delivery of content in 4K/UHD has not even crossed the minds of many broadcasters. This is important to know for suppliers
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Despite considering only technical respondents, 41% still do not know which technology infrastructure they plan to deploy for UHD content
faced with the decision of financing UHD product developments at the possible expense of others. The chart below shows the results for this question for only respondents with technical roles within their organizations.
Which of the following does your organization plan to deploy for UHD content delivery? 40% 35% 30%
Which of the following technology infrastructures does/has your organization plan to deploy/deployed for UHD content?
25% 20% 15%
Quad 3G SDI
Proprietary for streaming
30% Don’t know
20% 10% 0% NAB 2017
Despite considering only technical respondents, 41% still do not know which technology infrastructure they plan to deploy for UHD content – this is flat compared to the previous survey. This is indicative of the difficult decision facing broadcasters that plan to transition to UHD. The most preferred approaches are IP (32%) and Hybrid SDI-IP (20%). 12G SDI has remained constant at around 7% and Quad 3G SDI has gone from 4% to 0%. These results show that a significant portion of endusers remain unsure about the approach to adopt to deploy UHD. However, respondents that do have an idea about the optimal approach to UHD deployment strongly prefer Hybrid SDI-IP or IP installations over SDI-centric alternatives – 52% do so Vs 47% in our previous survey. These results confirm that the transition to IP infrastructures may facilitate the adoption of UHD technologies. Considered by some to be the ideal compression standard for delivery of UHD content, HEVC brings the benefit of 50% efficiency gains compared to MPEG-4 but its adoption by broadcasters is still hindered by cost considerations, licensing issues and technical M complexities. Broadcasters that want to move to HEVC delivery would also have to fully upgrade their existing delivery networks, including viewers’ set-top boxes. We asked respondents to this survey which media delivery compression standard they plan to deploy for UHD content. The results are:
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Most research participants chose HEVC as their favourite compression standard for UHD delivery, 39% up from the 29% reported in the last survey. The percentage of respondents who answered “don’t know” has decreased significantly from 47% to 31%. These results – which account only for responses by technical professionals – show that the efficiency gains of HEVC are necessary to deliver UHD. The chart below shows percentage usage of major compression standards for media delivery:
Usage rate of compression standards for media delivery 0%
As mentioned earlier, HEVC adoption has been slow despite the higher level of efficiency guaranteed by this standard. 32% of respondents said that HEVC usage in their organizations is “low” or “very low” with 26% saying that they do not use the standard. Only 18% said that their usage of HEVC is “high” or “very high”. As opposed to this, 67% of end-users said that MPEG-4 usage within their organizations is “high” or “very high”.
2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan 20 Sep 2019 – 02 Nov 2019
APAC region update Peter Bruce Director, APAC IABM
From the icy Winter Games to the white heat of the Indian cricket summer, UHD is taking off!
At the time of writing this article, the PyeongChang (South Korea) 2018 Winter Games have just finished and I am reminded that I have personally been involved in the technical setup and been a guarantee engineer/operator at two Winter and Summer Games. It seems to me, though, that it is not just sporting excellence that makes them memorable – and there are lessons here for us all. At the 1994 Lillehammer Games I had a healthy discussion in the media canteen with one of the Olympics judges who had been instrumental in tightening up the entry standards for competitors in the wake of the 1988 Calgary Games. This tightening of the rules effectively ensured that the likes of Eddie Edwards (who famously became known as Eddie the Eagle) would not be able to qualify for the Winter Games again.
Eddie Edwards became world-famous and a symbol of aspiration as a result of representing his country (Great Britain) at the Calgary Games in the 70m and 90m ski jumping. He could hardly jump, was scared of heights and was, frankly, a risk to himself. But thanks to his amazing bravery and gung-ho attitude, Eddie became an instant worldwide celebrity, appearing on TV news and chat shows with the discussion always centered around whether he was a popular hero or just had a screw loose. In my discussions with the judge, I completely agreed that the Games are an exhibition of sporting excellence – faster, higher, longer. But for the Games to be a success, to be memorable and to catch the public imagination, they need a great story that defines them. Eddie Edwards at the Calgary Games and the Tonya Harding vs Nancy Kerrigan affair that lit-up the Lillehammer Games defined those events – everyone remembers them and that grows the interest (and viewing figures) from a much wider, non-expert (at winter sports) audience. That’s why no one remembers the 1992 Albertville Games – Eddie was banned and there were no other really memorable moments – making my point to the judge nicely. The Lillehammer Games also marked a milestone in terms of broadcasting technology – they were the first truly digital Games, with the whole system recording on Digital Betacam and encapsulating SDI workflows. It gave confidence to the world that this new technology really worked, with Canal+ (France) and NRK (Norway) early adopters of the technology. For the viewers, the PyeongChang Games will be remembered for the efforts to bridge the
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yawning political gap between the North and the South of Korea – and also maybe as the ‘Windy’ Games. But for the broadcast technologist they marked the beginning of a new era of UHD and HDR. For those viewing the Games in the USA in 4K on the Comcast Xfinity TV platform, UHD and HDR are the defining headlines at this moment; suppliers and engineers working on the system will remember these Games in later years as the ‘UHD’ Games. Those who are skeptical about UHD and its rollout should know that it is really happening, and it is coming your way, driven from the APAC region. Both South Korea and Japan are moving forwards with UHD in terms of transmission and production workflows. When it comes to major sporting events, in the next few years the APAC region will host a large proportion of major international sporting events – viz the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, 2020 Summer Games in Japan, 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India. Meanwhile the purchase price of large UHD screens in the stores has settled to around the level of HD set pricing, so there will soon be many demanding customers asking why they are not able to actually use the full capability of their new big screen.
The move to UHD and HDR in the coming years is not the only story though; our viewing habits and how we distribute the content will also be defining. Although South Korea went live with ATSC 3.0 in 2017, to enable them to transmit UHD, the repack in the USA will take time, so the most convenient way to view UHD will be online (from the lowest to the highest resolution) and from anywhere on any form of screen. These global sporting events are defining moments for the technology of the media industry, and APAC is leading the way on the resolution front. But, wherever you are in the world take note that UHD and HDR is coming your way and you may well be viewing a sporting event held in the Asia region.
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Date for the diary BVE 2019, 26-28 February 2019, ExCel London
Europe & UK region update Darren Whitehead Director of Business Development, IABM
The first quarter of 2018 is almost at a close and because Easter is early this year NAB Show is almost upon us too! Is it me or does it seem time is speeding up? It certainly feels that way and anyone looking at the broadcast & media sector in the UK will see the pace of change accelerating for sure.
BVE Expo at ExCel in London at the end of February was a good looking and well-laid out show as always. In a bid to increase visitor numbers, the organizers had increased the amount of content on offer at the show to over seven theaters and had some very good keynote speakers from the worlds of production and post-production. Unfortunately, the untimely bad weather did its best to hide the positive impact this series of great content sessions could have had on attendance levels and some of the apocalyptic media coverage about the weather was as inappropriate as it was wrong! For those of us at the show attendance seemed robust enough on the first two days and those that made the effort to get to ExCel certainly seemed to stay at the show and enhance its already strong reputation for being THE place in the UK to network and meet. IABM offered a full member support package at BVE with a member lounge, breakfast briefing and even a membersâ€™ pavilion pod for those on a fixed budget. It was good to see so many members from the UK and
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Europe at the show and using these IABM facilities. Of course, these days, not a show goes by without the news that one company has been bought by another, or yet another CEO has been replaced by a new one and BVE was no exception. The consolidation in the broadcast & media sector has been with us for some time and will remain with us for some time to come. However, at BVE it was also apparent that consolidation was now coming to the events sector with the announcement just before BVE that Informa Group (organizers of the TV Connect series of events among others) had purchased UBM Group (organizers of Broadcast Asia and CommunicAsia among others) for US$3.9billion. At BVE came the announcement from Ascential Group, owners of BVE, that it was putting its Exhibition Division up for strategic review. So not only is the supplier landscape fundamentally changing forever, so potentially is the media landscape of global events for the broadcast & media sector itself. 2018 could be a very interesting year indeed!
Call for entries is open!
IBC Innovation Awards The IBC Innovation Awards are internationally recognised as the most prestigious awards for our industry. Celebrating collaboration in technology and creativity, they reward the best applications of technology to achieve a real goal for a media or entertainment company. This year we are looking for the most innovative new solutions in content creation, content distribution and content everywhere.
600 VIPâ€™s IN THE AUDIENCE
Submit your entry today for the chance to receive global exposure and industry-wide recognition.
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES MONDAY 23 APRIL IBC Awards Ceremony Sunday 16 September, RAI Auditorium, Amsterdam
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The 19th edition of the ASBU TV & Radio Festival and convention is scheduled to take place in Tunis between 26 and 29 April 2018
MEA region update Hassan Ghoul Director of MEA, IABM
MEA market overview – The opening up of the entertainment market in Saudi Arabia will usher a new era for the Kingdom and its more than 32 million population. As part of its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia will invest more than $60 billion in several entertainment related ventures over the next 10 years. For the region’s broadcast and media industry, this will mean an increase in the demand for local production, and the launch of a number of new channels.
The GCC countries continue to take actions to diversify their economies away from oil. Geopolitical tensions in the region continue to cause uncertainty for the business environment. Improvement in oil prices was seen towards the end of 2017 as prices increased to just over $60 a barrel. 2018 will see prices gain further momentum as the OPEC agreement to cut production was extended to the end of 2018. Investment for broadcasters reliant on oil revenues has slowed, however it should pick up as the economic climate improves gradually. CABSAT 2018 CABSAT took place from 14 until 17 January 2018. Attendance this year was down compared to previous years and the number of exhibitors was also below previous years. This is partly due to the new dates of the show which were decided by the organizers and which created several logistical issues for some companies who found it difficult to ship their demonstration products during the Christmas/New Year holiday period. IABM’s activities kicked off on the evening of Saturday 13 March with the Member Reception, which was held at a new venue in the Dubai Convention Centre, and was attended by more than 100 members. The IABM Executive Breakfast was held on Sunday 14 March and was attended by over 35 IABM members. The breakfast meeting included a presentation which focused on the broadcast and media business environment in the Middle East and Africa region. This was followed by a presentation which provided an overview of the global broadcast and media technology industry. The last part of the IABM Executive Breakfast consisted of a interview with Dr Naser Refaat, CTO of Rotana Media Group. The discussion with Dr Naser focused on
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Rotana’s plans for migration to IP technologies and their views about cloud based services and virtualized playout. Dr Naser indicated that Rotana are looking to have an efficient delivery service to reduce their operational costs. To this end, they currently have, on trial, two channels on the public cloud. Their long term objective is to have their own, in-house, private cloud, which they believe, will allow them to enhance their operational performance, reduce overheads and increase their revenue stream.
IP Theatre at CABSAT 2018 The activities of the first day of the show were dominated by the IP Theatre which was organized by IABM on behalf of CABSAT. The first session at the IP Theatre was a broadcaster panel entitled ‘IP and Virtualization – efficiencies and revenue opportunities’. The panelists attending this session were: Peter Van Dam from Abu Dhabi Media, Nick Barratt from MBC and Martin Paskin from Gearhouse Broadcast. The panelists highlighted the fact that the transition to IP infrastructure is not yet happening in the MEA region at the same rate as the rest of the world. On one side, the cost implication is still significant and, although the move from CAPEX to OPEX will result in cost benefits, this is not expected to happen in the initial stages when CAPEX commitment would still be high. Furthermore, resistance to change is still high due to fear of job losses. Following the broadcaster panel, the IP Theatre featured 10 presentations by various companies covering a wide range of subjects relating to IP technology.
total of 169 HD channels were Arabic channels. A total of 85 HD channels originated from the UAE. IABM presented an update on the latest standards for UHD and IP video with a brief overview of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards. The presentation offered research findings by IABM that suggested 4K UHD is not a high priority in the MENA with cloud-based technology and IP becoming more important with the rise in OTT usage. ASBU invited IABM to participate in the 19th edition of the ASBU TV & Radio Festival and convention which is scheduled to take place in Tunis between 26 and 29 April 2018. On 26 April, ASBU will hold two panel discussions. The first session, entitled IP Live Studio, covers the IP Protocols and the deployment of IP technology in live studio operations. The second session covers UHD and HDR. Discussions are ongoing to agree on IABM’s involvement with the panel discussions.
ASBU The Arab High Definition TV Group Arab HDTV and Beyond Group held its annual meeting on January 13th 2018 in Dubai, UAE. The meeting included a rich agenda of presentations and discussions covering the status of new broadcast technologies adoption across the Arab world and was well attended by about 50 delegates from broadcast organizations, both private and government, as well as technology suppliers. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Hasan R. Sayed Hasan, MD and Founder of Master Media and Chairman of the Group, and attended by Mr. Abdel Rahim Suleiman, Director General of the Arab States Broadcasting Union. The meeting included an update on the status and growth statistics of HDTV and Ultra HDTV in the Arab world showing the available regional satellites and the distribution of satellite operators and virtual operators. Underlining the rapid growth HDTV has seen since its beginnings in the region around 2009, Hasan said: “We now have 342 unique HD channels across the region as of December 31, 2017.” During his presentation, he highlighted the genre and country-specific origin of the HD channels. While sports and general entertainment dominated the HD genres, a
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”The average viewing session across all devices falls by 77 percent when there is a significant impairment of video quality”
Americas Members’ Council looks forward to NAB Show 2018: ‘Watch out Netflix!’
Caryn Cohen Director, North America, IABM
Ahead of this year’s show, I asked our Americas Council Members to share their thoughts on what we can expect to see at the forthcoming NAB Show – the big themes and subjects that will be debated and discussed around Las Vegas in early April. While each has their own take, some common themes quickly became apparent – IP, OTT, Cloud and streaming quality in particular. All share one thing in common – an upbeat, optimistic outlook. Here’s what they had to say.
Jason Pruett, Product Marketing Manager, NewTek IP and the progressive movement toward interconnected production will no doubt be, and understandably so, the buzz about NAB Show 2018. But beyond the expected presence of IPnative technologies interoperating in a show of force for the industry’s next big shift, vendors and attendees should also plan to witness softwaredriven production approaches and workflows indicative of the biggerpicture promise of IP.
production in terms of real-world productivity, flexibility, and profitability, while demonstrating tangible workflows that support that message.
Ted Korte, COO, Qligent At the 2017 NAB Show, we saw standards and collaborative groups catching up with the influx of technology. Now, at the 2018 NAB Show, we expect to see the results of those efforts, in particular, the standards release for SMPTE ST 2110 IP Studios and ATSC3.0 Next-Gen-TV.
Certainly, seeing and experiencing the ‘how’ of various technologies working together is important, but these forward-thinking concepts and ideas that comprise the ‘why’ are what will drive adoption en masse.
Now, the question remains the timing of moving from trials, inter-op labs, and plug-fests to real projects as business cases are rationalized and budgeted.
Broadcasters and producers who remain behind the curve won’t be so easily convinced to transition to any of the emerging methods if they only stand to simply see another way to do what they are already doing. They must be incentivized.
We also expect to see more virtualization and newly built workflows moving to the cloud where they will replace ‘old-school’ playout and asset management workflows, among other areas that can benefit from cloud capabilities.
So, it will be interesting to see which manufacturers and developers are up to the challenge right now of rising above the technical conversation to effectively communicate the practical benefits of software-driven, IP-based
Parallel to any cloud strategy, we expect to see increased use of such buzzwords as ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) and ‘machine learning, (ML)’ especially with respect to content creation, distribution, target
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advertising and even monitoring, (albeit with continued skepticism of actual implementations). While we at Qligent believe in the promises of the cloud, AI and big data, we also believe that whole workflows need to be reworked to capitalize on the technology. OTT, OTT, OTT will be everywhere, and as usual, there will be a wide range of solutions as the delivery model continues to grow and mature. Everyone is becoming a player. Watch out Netflix!
Joe Commare, Marketing Manager, Riedel As of this writing, it’s late February and NAB Show preparations are in full swing. The move towards all-IP infrastructures is also advancing at a rapid pace. Just this week, Riedel participated in the ‘Dirty Hands’ Interop in Houston with over 60 other manufacturers. It’s encouraging and gratifying to see so many working so hard to achieve full IP interoperability between products. Only through these interops will we ALL learn the procedures and best practices that will push adoption along. The equipment being tested now will find its way to the IP Showcase in Central
”In less than two short years, more than 70 percent of the world will be mobilized, with mobile video viewing projected to grow by 25 percent in 2018 alone”
Hall at NAB Show in April. Everyone should plan on spending some time there, and we should be encouraging our clients to do likewise. These 50+ companies are all blazing the trail, and the 2018 NAB Show will likely see a lot of familiar players with new IP offerings together with (hopefully) a lot of little companies and start-ups, too. It’s these little guys, unencumbered by the old workflows, who have more freedom to innovate and provide new tools to make this transition a little easier. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, and it’s really cool to be living through this dynamic stage in the evolution of television production!
Mary Kay Evans, CMO, Verizon Digital Media Services In less than two short years, more than 70 percent of the world will be mobilized, with mobile video viewing projected to grow by 25 percent in 2018 alone. That means viewers are tuning into NFL games, the NBA playoffs, concerts, all of their favorite content on their mobile and connected devices, at unprecedented rates. As mobile video consumption continues to accelerate, there’s never been a more critical time than right now for broadcasters and content providers to be hyper-focused on reaching viewers on the screens that consumers are looking at most: their mobile devices. Whether it’s through a subscription model, a wholly owned app or a collaborative partnership, the broadcasting industry must be positioned to successfully enter and thrive within the OTT market. The industry must also be ready to address some of the challenges that streaming video can present, such as buffering, monetization and quality of experience. For example, we found that 86 percent of viewers we surveyed say
it is very or extremely important to experience TV-like quality every time they watch, on every screen they use, and just as telling, the average viewing session across all devices falls by 77 percent when there is a significant impairment of video quality. A negative quality of experience for OTT content on mobile devices can adversely impact viewership and ultimately, a content provider’s revenue. That’s why it’s imperative that we focus not only on a mobile strategy, but on a mobile-best strategy. Specifically at the upcoming NAB Show, I’m excited to see content providers and their partners, vendors and other service providers connect, collaborate and work together to determine how to flourish within the OTT market. I predict we’ll see even more solutions and hear even more thought leadership around how broadcasters can enter, thrive and expand their OTT offerings. Increased mobile video consumption growth is coming – whether you are prepared for it or not. But, I’m confident that we will continue to see innovative technologies come forward to lay the groundwork to make high quality, mobile-best content easily accessible to viewers, in every part of the world.
Adam Schadle, VP, Video Clarity At NAB Show 2018 we will see practical applications of newly created IP standards for uncompressed infacility networking that will be able to effectively replace SDI infrastructures this year. As the new IP networks are implemented, interoperability testing will continue between both manufacturers and entertainment operators who will apply video and audio quality testing throughout the initial evaluation and adoption process. As with most new technologies many facilities will take a step or hybrid
approach by including legacy SDI functions to implementation as well as testing. Cloud and on-premises virtual architectures applied to content delivery are rapidly evolving areas which are very effective for setting up and quickly deploying content delivery. We are seeing mainstream adoption for both VOD and live channels/events, particularly as television distribution and OTT apply to every content source and especially large-audience entertainment experiences. It’s important for content providers to test the encoding technology, various bit rates, and network path to insure audience experience and brand quality for these deployments both before and during the scheduled air time.
Peer Jambor, Director of Marketing and Communications, VITEC As the broadcast industry continues to evolve into non-traditional and cuttingedge delivery platforms and technologies, the NAB Show is as relevant as ever. It’s the perfect forum for attendees to see these dynamics in action, as vendors showcase their most forward-looking solutions preparing customers for the IP-based future. At VITEC, one trend we’re seeing is the convergence of digital signage and IPTV. This is not only inevitable but critical, since both elements must work hand-in-hand to give end users the best-possible experience. IPTVdriven digital signage systems consistently deliver a smoother, more consistent, and higher-quality viewing experience for even the mostdemanding signage and video applications, such as those in enterprises, sports stadiums, and government agencies.
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Adwords campaigns can start working for you and getting you traffic in a matter of hours and that can be a great way to work out if it’s worth doing lots of content to get the organic result
The secrets of success in digital marketing – think the way your customers do Ciaran Rogers Marketing Director, Target Internet
Ciaran Rogers, Marketing Director of Target Internet – an IABM Training Partner – gives members the low-down on how to take advantage of digital marketing – whatever the scale of their operation and target audience. This article is based around Ciaran’s presentation at the IABM International Annual Business Conference in December 2017.
How can digital marketing help in the broadcast and media market, which is dominated by low volume, high value transactions and is very much a ‘who you know’ and ‘peer to peer’ industry? The low volume you want to reach are all using digital media; digital is still a great medium to influence them – people are still people and first impressions count. Better yet, if it is a small number of people you are wanting to reach, then by applying digital media best practice you can do so with minimal budgets. Focus on creating really, really great content that is helpful, and make use of hyper niche targeting techniques to make sure your content gets seen. Try an effective retargeting campaign for visitors to your website which points to genuinely useful content that intrigues and has people reaching to click. To do this you will need to think about what they need help with rather than thinking ‘buy our stuff’. You can also use even more granular targeting techniques on social media ad platforms. Go on – break the mold and get creative with a campaign that genuinely is helpful and gives more than it takes. I’ll let you all get creative on this, but go for it; give it a try and do something radically different!
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I heard a number of very senior people in the room say they’re not on social media. Assuming that you think they all should be, how would you advise them to get started? I do think they should be. My advice: if you want to network at the social media party (and it is a party), show up and have some fun! Take an interest in others, get to know them, and find out how you can help them. Build relationships and work the room like you would if it were a networking event. But above all be genuine; people smell a sales pitch a mile off and that’s not how you make friends. I’d probably recommend starting things on LinkedIn but experiment with other platforms.
Many smaller companies don’t have separate marketing teams but combine the role with sales – with the latter often given priority. Which of Target Internet’s courses would produce the most benefit to these time-pressed people – and what would they gain? Start out with the Benchmark Skills Test. This is designed to gain an understanding of your role and your current level of knowledge in all the key digital disciplines. It only takes around 15-20 minutes to complete and at the end you will be given a tailor-made plan of both free content as well as premium training content that will help plug the gaps in your knowledge. Follow the advice by setting time aside each week to work through the content areas you find most interesting, then retake the benchmark test to see how your knowledge and confidence has improved. Just visit www.targetinternet.com/benchmark-digital-skillsassessment/ and get started.
Search Engine Optimization seems like a black art – at least, that’s what companies who are selling SEO services would have us believe. If you do it inhouse, what would be your top tips for success? Identify your current top-performing content first. You also need to work out how well different pages rank.
Focus your content on the top of funnel searches and build on those early visitors’ experiences with some really great retargeting campaigns
There is some great and free information and reports for this in Google Web console, so if you haven’t set that up you definitely should. It’s not hard to learn the basics of SEO; we cover on-page SEO techniques in just 30 minutes. That’s a good starting point but I’d really recommend you take our other SEO modules to get fully up to speed. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way when it comes to making your content easier to find, so dig into the training and with a couple of short sessions, you will begin to understand what you need to do to get your content ranking for the search phrases your key audiences will all be using. Also, don’t forget that you can pay to get to the top as well while you work on your organic reach. Adwords campaigns can start working for you and getting you traffic in a matter of hours and that can be a great way to work out if it’s worth doing lots of content to get the organic results as well.
I’d also encourage people to think about the wider sales funnel; think about customers who are just at the early exploration stage and make useful content for them. Most companies focus on the quick win ‘buy our stuff’ content and related keywords, but if you jump in at that stage of the funnel you have missed a vital part of the relationship building so essential for effective sales in an industry like yours. Focus your content on the top of funnel searches and build on those early visitors’ experiences with some really great (well thought out and useful) retargeting campaigns. People will be blown away that you are actually trying to make their lives easier. That’s a great starting point and likely to have people coming back to you for more. That’s how I’d do it!
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Business and Commercial Updates
It may no longer be possible to refuse to disclose UK legal advice in an EU antitrust investigation
Competition law in post-Brexit Britain: how will it impact your business? Georgina Eclair-Heath Harrison Clark Rickerbys
At present, both UK and EU competition laws apply in the UK. However, this is set to change when Brexit takes effect on 29 March 2019. Assuming – as seems most likely – that the UK leaves the common market entirely, this article considers how Brexit will affect competition law enforcement in the UK and the implications for UK businesses.
Merger control Post-Brexit, the EU Merger Regulation – with its ‘onestop-shop’ system of merger review – will no longer apply in the UK. As a result, large-scale mergers that previously only had to be notified to the European Commission will probably also have to be notified to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). This will almost certainly increase the caseload – and the complexity of the cases – being dealt with by the CMA. It could also increase the transaction costs for merging businesses. That said, the many similarities between the EU and UK merger review processes suggest that the additional burden should be fairly limited. There does remain, however, a risk that the two authorities reviewing the same transaction could reach differing decisions.
Antitrust While the EU competition rules (Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) will continue to apply to anti-competitive conduct by UK businesses in the EU, post-Brexit they will no longer apply to conduct in the UK. Agreements/conduct affecting UK markets will only be caught by the UK antitrust rules (Chapter I and II Competition Act 1998). This will have several effects on competition law enforcement in the UK. n First, while the European Commission will still be able to investigate the conduct of UK companies, its powers of investigation will be limited to written requests for information. It will no longer be able to conduct on-site inspections (‘dawn raids’) of UK premises or request the CMA to carry out such inspections on its behalf.
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n Second, as with merger control, UK companies may increasingly find themselves subject to parallel investigations by the EU and UK competition authorities. n And finally, once Section 60 Competition Act 1998 (which requires the CMA to apply the UK competition rules consistently with those of the EU) is repealed, UK and EU competition rules could begin to diverge. This could increase the cost and complexity of complying with competition law as companies are forced to navigate two sets of rules. However, any divergence is likely to take a number of years and is likely to be limited. Not only are the rules likely to remain substantively similar, but the UK courts will continue to be bound by the substantial body of UK case law that has developed in line with EU competition law jurisprudence. Brexit will also have implications for how UK companies manage antitrust investigations. In particular: n It may no longer be possible to refuse to disclose UK legal advice in an EU antitrust investigation. As the EU rules on legal privilege only cover the advice of EEA-qualified lawyers, advice of UK-qualified lawyers will no longer be protected. n Leniency applicants in cartels operating in both the EU and UK may now need to submit full leniency applications at both EU and UK national level. Companies filing a full EU leniency application will no longer be able to safeguard their position in a UK leniency queue through a short-form UK application.
There are several indications that the UK government may maintain some form of state aid control after Brexit. In particular:
Finally, Brexit could affect companiesâ€™ ability to bring followon damages actions for EU competition law infringements in UK courts. Under the current system, claimants can rely on EU decisions as proof of the infringement, such that they need only establish causation and quantum of damages. Post-Brexit, however, it is unclear whether EU infringement decisions will continue to bind UK courts in this way. Until this issue is clarified, UK companies contemplating competition damages claims may wish to think carefully about whether the UK is the most appropriate forum.
n The EU (Withdrawal) Bill provides for the preservation of the EU state aid rules. While the UK is unlikely to agree to notify UK state aid to the European Commission once outside the EU, it could appoint, for example, the CMA to apply EU state aid principles in a UK context. n The EU negotiating mandate explicitly refers to state aid in the context of any future trade agreement between the EU and UK. n All of the EUâ€™s recent Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with third countries have included state aid or subsidy controls that go beyond the WTO rules. It remains to be seen, however, what form any UK subsidy rules will take.
Conclusion The full effects of Brexit on UK competition law will inevitably take some time to emerge. In the short term, the most likely impact on UK businesses will be the increased burden of parallel merger and antitrust investigations. Longer term, the possible divergence of UK and EU competition law could create both risks and opportunities. While complying with two sets of rules may bring increased costs and complexity, a UK competition policy unconstrained by single market objectives may give UK companies greater flexibility to, for instance, impose territorial restrictions prohibited under EU competition rules.
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Business and Commercial Updates
Train staff to help them avoid creating passwords that are easy to guess
Password security – What you need to know Password cracking
P Password assword se security curity
techniques are becoming ever more sophisticated – often leading to major security breaches and/or
How How passwords passwords are are cracked... cracked...
the theft of thousands or even millions of dollars. As a result, there has been a
Interception Inter ception Passwords can be Passwords intercepted inter rcepted as they ar are e transmitted over a network.
lot of discussion and advice
Brute For Force ce Automated guessing of billions of passwor passwords ds until the corr correct rect e one is found. ect
recently on how to create, remember and maintain secure passwords. This explanatory graphic from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre provides
Searching Sear ching IT infrastructur infrastructure re e can ca be searched sear ched for electr electronically onically stored stor ed passwor password d information.
some good basic guidance wherever you are in the world. For more in-depth advice on creating strong
Stealing Passwords Passwor ds Insecurely stor Insecurely stored red ed passwor passwords ds can be stolen – this includes handwritten passwor passwords ds hidden close to a device.
Manual Guessing Personal information, such as name and date of birth can be used to guess common passwor passwords. ds.
passwords, a visit to
Shoulder Surfing Observing someone typing their passwor password. d.
www.getsafeonline.org/prot ecting-yourself/passwords/ will also prove worthwhile.
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Social Engineering Attackers use social engineering techniques to trick people into rrevealing evealing passwords. passwor ds.
Key Logging An installed keylogger intercepts inter rcepts passwor passwords ds as they ar are re typed.
Average Average number of websites users access password using the same passwor d
Attackers use a variety of techniques to discover passwor ds, including using powerful tools passwords, fr eely available on the inter net. The following advice makes passwor d security easier for your freely internet. password users – impr oving your system security as a rresult. esult. improving
....and ..and how how tto o iimprove mprove your your system system security security Help users cope with ‘password ‘passwor d overload’ • Only use passwor eally needed. passwords ds wher where e they ar are re rreally • Use technical solutions to den on users. burden o rreduce educe the bur • Allow users to secur e their passwor ds. ely record recor e d and stor re pas securely store passwords. • Only ask users to change their passwor ds on indication passwords of suspicion of compr omise. compromise.
Average Average number of UK citizen’s citizen’s online passwords passwords
reset pass password easily, easily, quickly and cheaply • Allow users to reset password cheaply..
Monitor failed login attempts… train users to o report report suspicious activity Prioritise administrator user and remote remote em accounts Don’ Don’tt stor store orre passwor passwords ds in plain text format.
IABM provides a wide range of opportunities to promote your company across the broadcast and media industry
Help users generate appr appropriate opriate passwor passwords ds
■ Send us your press releases for our news pages
• Put technical defences in place so that simpler passwords passwords can be used.
■ Enquire about speaking at one of our thought leadership events, webinars or seminars
frrom pr redictable passwor ds • Steer users away from predictable passwords – and ban the most common. Blacklist the most common passwor d password choices
PROMOTE YOUR COMPANY
er re-use re-use passwor ds • Encourage users to never passwords between work and home. Train staff staffff to help them av void cr eating passwords passwords • Train avoid creating arre e easy to guess. guess that are ength meters. awarre e of the limitations limitation of passwor d str m • Be aware password strength
UPD UPDATE ATE
Change all default vendor supplied passwor ds befor re passwords before devices ices or softwar re software ar re deployed are
For mor more e information go to
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Attend our networking events Apply for an IABM Award Advertise in our publications Provide content for our publications Sponsor or exhibit at an event
Use account lockout, thr throttling ottling or monitoring to help pr prevent revent event brute for force rce attacks
www.ncsc.gov.uk www .ncsc.gov.uk
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Knowledge, Support & Leadership Visit: www.theiabm.org
Business and Commercial Updates
US companies are taxed only on US earnings – they’re imposing a one-time mandatory repatriation tax imposed at a rate of 15.5% for earnings held in cash and cash equivalents, and 8% for non-cash earnings
The ways new corporate tax laws are affecting businesses operating in the US The dust is settling on December’s tax reform bill – the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than three decades – and the market has now had some time to analyse its implications.
On the surface, it seems slashing corporate tax from 35% to 21%, as well as installing lower taxes on overseas profits, would be a boon for businesses operating in the US. Indeed, this falls directly in line with the ‘America first’ attitude we have seen from the current administration. However, as always, things are not that straightforward. There are three main topics of discussion we are hearing in the industry right now, both from clients and from our partners in the advisory space: the simplification of the tax code and the reduction in the federal base rate; repatriation of foreign-held earnings; and the move to a territorial system of taxation. Let’s look at these in turn and explore the way they will affect US companies.
Less tax does not equal higher gross earnings The US tax code has been very complicated for a long time, so the reduction in the base tax rate is not necessarily as straightforward as people think. For many years companies have been able to take advantage of various deductions to compensate for the 35% corporate tax rate, and the simplification of the tax code means that many of these will disappear. Therefore, it is not correct to say simply that taxes are less; there are some firms that will end up paying a lot less, and there are some firms that also now have to disentangle themselves from various historical deductions, and who may find that the overall effect is a lot less positive.
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So, as ever, there are winners and losers, with many companies now paying ‘extra’ wages, gratifications, and so on, while others indicate they will need to write down on NOLs and carry-forwards. A lot of firms are getting tax advice and trying to work out where they stand, how best to position themselves for a potential upside, and what to do with those tax windfalls if indeed realized. They want to know where any potential savings are best spent – is it to invest in R&D? Is it to invest in international expansion? They really need to make sure the lasting benefit of the short-term impacts is felt.
Bringing money back onshore might not bring the windfall you expect The capital markets in the US continue to be bullish. The Dow did have a couple of rough days earlier this year, but that was mostly down to inflationary expectations and the likelihood of higher interest rates. Some even now say it was driven by robotization of trading platforms – algorithms making odd decisions and overheating of the system – but whatever the reason for that slip, it was temporary and markets rallied. Our partners and clients in structured finance, private equity and real estate maintain the positive outlook they had held in anticipation of this tax reform. We have not yet seen a roll-back of some of the regulations around Sarbanes Oxley and Dodd-Frank, which the market was also hoping for, but the financial markets feel they are in a business-friendly environment and are expecting there to be a lot of transactions over the next 12 months.
With this tax reform and code simplification, the US government has effectively changed the rules and regulations around building codes and specifications – so companies that used to have structures in A, B or C location need to change to X, Y and Z
The likelihood is that many companies are going to take advantage of the tax break to bring foreign-held earnings back into the US. But beware the ‘toll charge’: for the US to transition from a worldwide tax system to a territorial one – meaning that US companies are taxed only on US earnings – they’re imposing a one-time mandatory repatriation tax imposed at a rate of 15.5% for earnings held in cash and cash equivalents, and 8% for non-cash earnings. The goal of this transition tax is to flush out all historic or deferred earnings and subject them to tax, allowing the new system to start fresh with earnings generated after the transition.
When it comes to corporate structuring, the rules have changed Of course, as the US moves into a territorial system of taxation and as the tax rate lowers, many firms are restructuring or looking into how to restructure their operations. The tax advisors we work with are doing a lot of that at the moment, and we are seeing companies coming out the back end feeling dizzy. They have been given a lot of advice, but don’t really know what to do next.
A specific clause that will make a large impact is the limitation on US interest deductibility and the impact this will have on US acquisitions – this means that it will be more difficult to thinly capitalize domestic purchases. Post-transition, foreign-source dividends (that are not It seems this will drive an increase in foreign M&A – that subpart F) should be eligible for a 100% dividendsis, US firms purchasing internationally in order to received-deduction. This effectively makes a zero rate access easier financing. This is a of tax in the US on repatriated continuation of a recent trend, foreign earnings, post-transition, whereby US firms look abroad to It is almost like so long as it doesn’t fall into any broaden their operations, expand anti-deferral rules (such as corporate kung fu: you into new markets and find the best Subpart F or GILTI). must be super agile, you strategic opportunities. need to be able to both Repatriating earnings means We expect to see a lot of existing defend and attack companies will have many more structures dissolved and then new investment options, even though aggressively in order to holdings set up, as businesses they’re still likely to pay more tax keep standing on reorganise themselves to optimise on repatriated money than the tax your feet. the recognition of revenue, and they’re paying today on their profits meet the demands imposed offshore holdings. As the most by the new US and international tax active market in the world, there is frameworks. Certainly, that is what great opportunity in the US for firms to broaden their we have seen over the first two months of 2018, and investment strategies and optimise returns on their expect to more of as the changes really take hold. capital. Venture capital firms on the West Coast are expecting fundraising to be easier, and we are seeing Of course, it may not only be the corporate, tax and a lot of interest in alternative investments as people financial structures that need to be reviewed – the IP explore for options for once the money has been structure should also be considered, and it is advisable brought home. for companies to review their governance and value It’s worth noting, too, that bringing these reserves back to US soil may also lead to restructuring or refinancing efforts. Alternatively, companies may decide to pass the benefit to different groups of stakeholders, including creditors, investors and staff. It is thought this will stimulate corporate investments or create higher consumption – that is, it will bring renewed confidence, leading to economic growth that should in turn result in higher tax receipts. The hope is that these effects will offset the net reduction in the flat rate and result in the scheme paying for itself, but only time will tell.
chain. It’s not just the new US tax plan that will affect US companies, as the global environment induced by BEPS will also make an impact. Changes are coming from all sides while exchange of information is increasing. Tax revenues tend to be looking at enforcement and dispute tax positions much more as they try to get the biggest share of a company’s tax pie. This requires secure, consistent and coherent documentation, decision-making and reporting. The choice, then, is to ramp up internal support departments, or to look to professionals offering economies of scale, best practices and continuity.
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Companies with even a slight level of foreign exposure will need to consider builders with international credentials to ensure everything remains compliant with issues such as BEPS, BEAT and GILTI
These changes in the US mean you must look differently at foreign taxes. There is a lot of change and a lot of concepts that require redefinition. Companies need to create flexibility and agility in order to be able to respond to these changes, and also respond to the evolution of the underlying concepts that are there. Every guidance note issued by the OECD, or the UK, US or EU tax authorities, and so on, could affect a company, so they need to stay on their toes. It is almost like corporate kung fu: you must be super agile, you need to be able to both defend and attack aggressively in order to keep standing on your feet.
We all need to learn to play a new game Businesses operating in the US are trying to understand how the lower base rate is going to affect them, what deductions have been taken away and what they can do with the money that they are hopefully going to have left over. Once you have advice from the architect – from the tax advisor – you need to find someone to do the building. We all know that if you don’t disentangle yourself properly, then five to 10 years down the line you could suddenly find there is a tax exposure or even a legal exposure that you thought you had disengaged from but is actually still looming over your head. With this tax reform and code simplification, the US government has effectively changed the rules and regulations around building codes and specifications – so companies that used to have structures in A, B or C location need to change to X, Y and Z. Companies who had bridged in a certain way to be thinly capitalized now need to reevaluate those loans. All of this results in a plan, a blueprint, and each of the companies we speak to are trying to understand how to take that blueprint and create the reality, to reconstruct their house. What these companies must then decide is who their builder will be. If everything is held domestically, those companies are usually well serviced by local or even internal legal and financial teams. However, companies with even a slight level of foreign exposure will need to consider builders with international credentials to ensure everything remains compliant with issues such as BEPS, BEAT and GILTI. It means they’ll get a much simpler, much broader view of how to deliver that design which the tax advisors have put forward. To find out how TMF Group can help build your restructuring blueprint, get in touch with our US-based experts.
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Mergers and acquisitions
Peter White CEO, IABM
I am not at all surprised by Belden’s acquisition of SAM and its plan to merge it with Grass Valley; I also predict that this will be merely the first of a number of M&As on the supply side of the industry throughout 2018 and beyond.
There are several reasons for this which have been clearly flagged by IABM’s research across both the supply and demand sides of the industry over the last couple of years. On the demand side, we have seen an increasing amount of consolidation and convergence between content and distribution by established media companies looking for greater scale to counter the major new online media players such as Amazon and Netflix. Recent moves by AT&T, Time Warner, Disney, Fox, Discovery, Scripps are just some examples, and we expect this trend of consolidation to continue. This ongoing consolidation between media technology end-users has resulted in decreased overall technology spending simply because as companies merge, they consolidate their operations too – meaning that the number of potential customers is reducing. Greater scale also gives them better bargaining power. The result is that we now have several thousand technology suppliers chasing business from a diminishing number of customers. According to IABM research, technology vendors have been spending significantly more in R&D, sales and marketing over the last couple of years to keep up with the industry shift from hardware to software, IP and cloud. However, they are not seeing enough return on that investment – profitability continues to fall. Grass Valley and SAM are both leading players in the IP field, and the merger will at a stroke boost market share, and provide an increase in scale that will give them a more comprehensive proposition for their customers on the demand side. Market presence will also be enhanced, with an increased geographical footprint. Belden has, I believe, indicated that it will be making efficiency gains in the consolidation process, which will help boost profitability. The timing is good too – 2018 looks set to be a key year in the roll-out of IP solutions now that the ST 2110 standard is all but complete.
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VICE – Number one youth media company in the world – it has 3 billion+ YouTube views and 231 million unique visitors per month to its digital network
VICE Media launches six new channels in the cloud in record time
Tim Bertioli VP International Operations VICE
VICE started life as a magazine in Canada in 1994 with a mission to bring controversial and ‘difficult’ subjects to the fore. In 2006, VICE moved into video and is now the fastest growing, number one youth media company in the world – it has 3 billion+ YouTube views and 231 million unique visitors per month to its digital network. Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York since 2001, VICE now has 35 offices worldwide, including a London hub, where the VICE International team is based.
Going mainstream In 2016 VICE set itself the target of being on all screens – including TVs – and this required the launch of a network of linear feeds and a content strategy to support it. The first result was the launch of VICELAND in early 2016 – a cable TV channel in Canada and then the USA. Aimed principally at millennials, VICELAND aims to ‘see society in a new and different way’ and promotes ‘people helping one another as a beautiful thing’. It was an instant success. “The next phase of the plan was to aggressively launch VICELAND into new international markets via appropriate cable and OTT partners in each,” says Tim Bertioli, VP International Operations, who joined VICE in mid-2016 to lead this ambitious project. “I was lucky enough to find great post-production and technology teams and facilities on my arrival, but no systems or people relating to running a channel network. So, there was a lot to do in three months, including selecting a channel management system; we chose BTS, integrating that with Sky’s UK ad sales team and onboarding with Sky UK for VOD delivery. We also had to set up an Ofcom compliance workflow and re-version all of our US content delivered from our colleagues in Brooklyn,” Bertioli continues. “Our first launches were in the UK and France, and were handled using an established playout provider and fibre delivery, including a backup contribution path via Zixi, giving confidence to our partners – Sky in the UK
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and Canal+ in France – that we would be able to meet our commitments reliably. We launched on time and both feeds run well, but with our feed distribution planned to expand to cover three continents we wanted to see if we could do things differently moving forward,” Bertioli adds. “We set ourselves the target of going live in New Zealand in just six weeks, and following closely with Africa, North Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel and Wallonia. All this had to be achieved with minimal Capex and Opex while providing world-class channels that would be future-ready,” explains Bertioli.
Close to the edge with AMAGI Having spoken to numerous vendors and compared several options in detail, VICE chose AMAGI as its cloud playout and distribution supplier to achieve three key objectives, which have all been met: 1. Easier management of more channels through the cloud UI without growing the operational team 2. Significant operational savings 3. Flexibility to deliver new workflows to meet future opportunities Content is uploaded to, processed in and managed via an AMAGI cloud instance in AWS. The system uses a cloud-edge server model for resilience – enabling devices to be run completely independently from the cloud in the event of network downtime.
AMAGI offers a 24/7 monitoring service, so we haven’t had to build an in-house monitoring team or outsource it, which would have negated some of the savings
“We’ve deployed the edge devices in various ways on a case-by-case basis,” says Bertioli. “For example, for our New Zealand feed, the equipment is installed in Sky New Zealand’s own facility, whereas for our Benelux feeds it’s installed at the Ericsson Channel Store in Hilversum. For our Africa feed, we’ve deployed several thousand miles away from the hand-off point – because in this case, the total cost was less than installation at the true edge point! In Israel, this model enabled us to take our existing feed and localize it with Hebrew subtitles and HD as opposed to the SD of the parent feed, at a fraction of the cost of creating a completely separate feed in the usual way.”
Staying in control start to finish “Once content is available for publishing, we use Telestream Vantage to create 10Mbps H264 files from our video masters and upload these via transfer servers in our Brooklyn and London media hubs,” Bertioli explains. “We can monitor the progress of media all the way through the process via AMAGI’s UI. Localized components such as dubbing tracks and subtitle files are uploaded in the same way, with any errors flagged in the UI. A read-only version of the AMAGI UI is also available for our clients, adding confidence wherever they are located; they can view VICELAND securely via the web as we test the feed set-up. Playlists are then uploaded and published via the AMAGI UI, giving us immediate visibility of any missing material or components.” VICE operates a uni-directional ad sales integration with its sales partners. “Rather than integrating 3rd party spot files into our BT scheduling system prior to publishing in the normal way, ads are delivered direct to the cloud and merged automatically via AMAGI, so we don’t need to wait for late arrivals before building playlists; this means we can commit playlists days in advance,” Bertioli explains. “AMAGI offers a 24/7 monitoring service, so we haven’t had to build an in-house monitoring team or outsource it, which would have negated some of the savings. “In addition, AMAGI monitors 12 hours ahead of actual playout, so we can flag up problems and deal with them in advance. If content is still missing at the point of transmission, the playlist engine will instead fill any gaps by playing content from a ‘rescue’ list without manual intervention,” Bertioli adds. “This really helps with peace of mind. The AMAGI UI brings together web-based remote playout management, the ability to localize feeds, MAM
integration for publishing and compliance, advanced dynamic graphics and 24x7 monitoring. Its automated rescue list capability eliminates the need for manual intervention. It’s an intuitive user interface spread across dashboard, preview and playout screens, which means greater transparency for everyone and far less time spent trading emails. We achieved all our operational objectives on budget and within a very ambitious timescale,” Bertioli reports.
Looking forward What’s next for VICE? “Beyond further feed expansion, we are focusing on leveraging the availability of our content and AMAGI’s machine learning and automation roadmap to refine the model further to support new content deals and OTT offerings,” Bertioli explains. “Currently, we are utilizing our Reach Engine publishing MAM to deliver compliant content packages, including metadata and images, via Signiant to multiple partners. While the workflow is very efficient, it’s still a ‘push’ process. So, we’re looking to develop a cloudstore to transform this interaction to more of a storefront – as we are already doing with promotional assets. “We’re also very keen to see what results we can get now from auto-scheduling tools within the cloud playout environment,” Bertioli continues. “While our scheduling team of course performs an important role in the highquality presentation of VICELAND, there are possible use-cases for feed variations and smaller deals where an almost entirely hands-off process would make financial sense. Currently all our content is manually soft-marked during the compliance process; imagine if, in conjunction with auto-scheduling, the scene breaks could be detected with machine learning tools during cloud processing so that only the high-level program grid and unmarked longform assets would need to be delivered… we look forward to testing that during 2018. “Finally, as the costs of preparing the content and running the playout operation reduce, the cost of localization stands out even more on the budget sheet. With that in mind, we are starting trials now of a hybrid insource model, via the cloud, for subtitling,” Bertioli adds. What advice would Bertioli give to other organizations based on his recent experience with VICELAND? “Don’t be afraid of taking a different approach to playout, do your vendor due diligence, speak to other broadcasters and try a Proof of Concept to see how you get on,” Bertioli concludes.
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Being a member of IABM will help to accelerate spreading sustainable values, as an international organization that supports the industry
What is Green or sustainable production? Bassam Alasad Ghassan Alasad Creative Media Solutions (CMS Gulf) CEO and Greener Screen Co-Founder
Creative Media Solutions (CMS Gulf) Chief Content Officer and Greener Screen Co-Founder
What is Green or sustainable production? The sustainable production aims for a gradual reduction in carbon emissions and waste, towards the Media industry’s goal of zero negative impact. The core objective is to share sustainability values with everyone involved in the production, ranging from cast, crew, suppliers, management, investors and the audience. The desired outcome is an environmentally conscious industry and a well-informed audience. An average one hour TV series episode emits 13 tons of CO2. Film and TV productions utilise a lot of energy and material, producing a substantial carbon footprint. This impact can be prevented by being aware of how to curtail the negative environmental impact of our industry.
Why did Creative Media Solutions decide to become a green media firm? The motive was ethical change, but we always believed in sustainable development over growth as its longterm plan for any twenty-first-century business. And by following sustainable measures, you’ll end up having financial results, so it was a win-win decision.
How did it all start with Creative Media Solutions and green production? We started testing internally in Creative Media Solutions during our local productions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi using best practices and simple techniques, we switched 100% to LEL/LED, tried to control our transportation emissions and sourced food locally. Ghassan Alasad CMSGulf CEO is a believer in the power of media and how much positive change it can bring,
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regarding the content or the production process itself and an early investor in sustainability-related projects. And that’s why he supported the Chief Content Officer’s (Bassam Alasad) plan to switch Creative Media Solutions’ workflow into a sustainable process. Bassam is an environmental advocate who believes every professional industry should consider a positive environmental impact as a sustainability tool. Climate change is a human-made problem, and it can't be solved without radical actions. And as film, TV and digital industries are very influential on screen and off screen, we have important messages we should deliver using media platforms. This support turned into inspiration to take this internal effort and create an initiative so we can share our localised experience and knowledge with the industry in UAE, Jordan and MENA region. After four years Creative Media Solutions developed its green solutions into three main categories: consultancy, green supply chain management and green content and production side by side with its existing core business operations.
How did you accelerate your experience, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? After we started incorporating green production methods internally, we tried to benefit from other international efforts from around the world. The best models were the BAFTA’s Albert and Producers Guild of America. That is what we needed to turn our internal experience into a tangible knowledge base after four years of testing. So we built our systematic knowledge
that inspired us to go the extra mile and launch the Greener Screen initiative that will cater to the MENA region and offer support to the industry so it can become more sustainable.
Greener Screen started to offer the industry in the MENA region all the required support starting from December 2017. At the moment we are launching services one by one, including green labs, training, and later we will introduce the carbon calculator to the region.
How can IABM help you?
We know it’s a long way ahead as we are a small team, but we believe this change can be achieved, and we are planning to do it with a joint world force thanks to the great support by Creative Media Solutions and in partnership with BAFTA’s Albert initiative as part of the International Consortium.
Being a member of IABM will help to accelerate spreading sustainable values, as an international organisation that supports the industry. And we hope to find ways to collaborate and make the media industry greener and help to all other members in the region and worldwide.
Any recent activity for Greener Screen? Greener Screen was launched during Dubai International Film Festival, and we were part of the film market, and we had a session during the film forum. Also, we conducted training with Misk foundation in Abu Dhabi.
Tell us more about Greener Screen? The Greener Screen initiative aims to spread awareness about environmentally sustainable film, TV and digital production in the MENA region based in the UAE. Greener Screen offers training and practical solutions in reducing carbon emissions to organisations and industry professionals in the MENA region in collaboration with BAFTA’S Albert Consortium.
The initiative which is co-founded by Ghassan and Bassam Alasad will introduce new and innovative ways to reduce its environmental impact and consumption during content production, helping industry practices reach the goal of greener and sustainable operations.
How can we find out more about Greener Screen? You can visit our website, www.greenerscreen.com; we are also available on social media (Facebook: Greener screen, Twitter: GreenerscreenME and Instagram: Greenerscreen).
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In 2018, SpotX will merge with smartclip to provide clients with both connected TV and addressable TV options within one platform
IABM members speak – SpotX Joanna Burton VP European Strategy SpotX
SpotX seems to have identified the opportunity in online video advertising very early – what inspired the founders to move into what was then largely uncharted territory? Mike Shehan and Steve Swoboda founded Booyah Networks, an internet startup that was an ad-supported search engine based on pay-per-click, in 2001. The concept was that operators should only earn money when users actually clicked on the ad. When it became clear that Google had taken the lead in search engine market share, Booyah adapted and began to earn its money by helping advertisers improve ad placements on results pages. In 2006, Booyah was the 23rd fastest growing company in the US. Continuing their tradition of development and innovation, Mike and Steve targeted online video advertising and formed a new company, SpotXchange, using the proven Booyah technology and capital to build the first fully automated exchange for video advertising. Since then, as audience behavior has developed and market needs have evolved, so has SpotX – and dropped the ‘change’ in 2015 to signify that its capabilities now extend far beyond those of an ad exchange. Now the company offers a holistic video ad serving platform and works with premium broadcasters and publishers to monetize their video content and help grow their businesses.
Tell us about SpotX’s range of services and how they’ve grown and developed over the last 10 years. SpotX’s product offering is constantly evolving depending on the needs and concerns of our partners and clients. We have an extensive engineering team whose main focus is to build products that will solve strategic problems for our clients. Our main mission with all of our products is to help media owners monetize their video inventory.
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The company begun as a video advertising exchange and is now a modern video ad serving platform which supports the monetization of adverts across digital video, OTT and linear broadcast environments. With SpotX’s early business, there was a gradual increase and decrease of impressions throughout the day. Now this increase happens during the weekends and prime time, because SpotX is monetizing live OTT. The way people consume TV is rapidly evolving. Audiences are watching more TV than ever and now Connected TV advertising is showing rapid growth globally. There is a strong demand from advertisers and agencies that want to reach consumers viewing content through devices such as a Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Roku, Xbox or Apple TV. Agencies and advertisers can now buy connected TV inventory in the same way they buy other video inventory in the SpotX platform. We see strong demand for this in the US and now in Europe where the market is developing across the different regions. For more information on this topic you can read our research whitepaper ‘The Connected TV Advertising Opportunity in Europe’ commissioned by SpotX from MTM.
How has SpotX managed to stay ahead of other tech companies in the online space despite some of them having very deep pockets? We have a dedicated engineering and product team that is building new technology constantly to help our clients and partners solve problems and help better monetize their video content. For example, as audiences fragment across different devices, we ensure that advertisers we work with are able to follow consumers across these devices and source valuable data. Equally, publishers who want to maximize their revenue from advertising but don’t have large amounts of inventory are able to use content syndication through SpotX. For content owners, this solution provides multi-channel distribution strategy across owned properties, third-party sites and reach platforms from a central syndication management hub.
SpotX was acquired by European media giant RTL Group in 2014. What was RTL’s strategy in acquiring SpotX, what are the synergies between the two organizations and how does a young, entrepreneurial company fit in with a large corporate – and what are the benefits? When RTL Group acquired 65% of SpotX in 2014 they had the strategy to become a leading player in all segments of online video and online video advertising. In fact, RTL Group was the first major broadcaster to invest in programmatic technology. At the time of the investment, Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, the Co-CEOs of RTL Group at the time, commented: “The logical next step in our strategy is a structural move into the area of digital monetization – improving our skills by adding innovative data- and technology-based competencies. SpotX is the perfect fit for RTL Group for such a move. With its impressive growth story and strong positioning in the United States, SpotX also represents a unique opportunity to enhance RTL Group’s presence in the world’s biggest and most advanced media market.” In October 2017, RTL Group fully acquired SpotX by buying the remaining 36.4% of the company. Mike Shehan commented on the investment saying, “SpotX is emerging as the premier expert in digital monetization of OTT content delivery, and uniquely positioned to assist broadcasters and other modern TV players with maximizing their profitability in the new delivery ecosystem,” Shehan said. “RTL Group’s investment will help extend our footprint in TV as we bring together the TV and digital video worlds.” RTL Group pursues an ambitious growth plan for its ad-tech businesses with the main goal to create a global and independent monetization platform for broadcasters, video-on-demand services and publishers. To accelerate the execution of this plan, RTL Group has decided to combine SpotX and Smartclip into one integrated ad-tech company by the end of 2018, to roll out the platform across the Group’s operations and to scale it up with further acquisitions and partnerships.
Is ad blocking a problem for SpotX? How do you deal with this? In the longer term, will ad blocking limit opportunities for online monetization? SpotX works with premium publishers and broadcasters who often have anti ad blocking technology enabled on their site. Audiences will therefore not be able to watch the desired content without disabling their ad blocker.
In our experience we have found audiences are very willing to watch ads in order to access the content they want to watch for free.
You are currently recruiting for nearly 50 posts, a significant number of which are developers. Do you struggle to fill these posts or is there a ready pool of talent to recruit from? (I ask this question because many media tech companies say they find it hard to recruit engineers with the right skills) Engineers are a crucial resource for technology companies and as we keep growing our business we keep hiring more. We are lucky that our headquarters is located near three major technical universities. We also have an engineering team in Belfast. SpotX is committed to supporting women in technology and invests in programs and working groups to find and retain female engineers in our industry.
What’s next for SpotX? Connected TV is an important theme for SpotX. We love TV and continue to see audiences grow. The world of TV is changing as audiences expect to be able to watch video content anywhere, anytime, which means it remains a powerful medium for media owners and advertisers. It is no surprise then that global Connected TV stats are growing steadily. It has become clear that broadcasters need to invest in technology in order to find their dispersed audiences. On SpotX’s inventory management platform, publishers across the world, are monetizing their content on an array of new OTT-enabled devices, including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, Google TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Blu-ray players, connected pay TV set-top boxes and other smart TV devices. In 2018, SpotX will merge with smartclip to provide clients with both connected TV and addressable TV options within one platform. The combined entity will focus on ad-serving, connected television and addressable television, bringing dynamic ad-insertion capabilities in house and close collaboration with the Group’s minority shareholdings, VideoAmp and Clypd – making the company an innovation leader in advertising technology for the TV industry. What are the IABM member benefits that are most valuable to you, and why? We love the events and all the training!
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... we believe that it’s the strength of those partnerships that sets us apart from our competitors and helps us to deliver awardwinning, industry leading solutions
IABM members speak – Piksel Clive Malcher SVP of Commercial, Piksel
Piksel’s Clive Malcher, SVP of Commercial, gives us the inside track on the company’s products, business philosophy and how Piksel is helping its customers move their operations seamlessly to the cloud.
You have recently upgraded your IABM membership to Platinum Level. Please tell us what is behind this decision – what will Platinum membership mean to Piksel and its customers? We’ve been proud members of IABM for some time, so the decision to upgrade to Platinum membership was an easy one; we’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead, and wanted to be able to capitalise on the many opportunities to engage with fellow IABM members that Platinum membership brings. Being at the forefront of the industry is important to us, and Platinum membership helps us to achieve that goal.
How long has Piksel been in business and how and why was the company formed? From its earliest incarnation, Piksel has been a company that could be relied upon to solve the most demanding technical challenges faced by its customers. Across the broadcast and media industry it has been delivering successful, cutting edge video technology to clients of all sizes for almost 15 years. The company and the industry have both evolved considerably during that time, but Piksel’s overall objective remains the same; to be a highly-trusted partner to our customers, creating innovative solutions that drive revenue, reduce costs and improve services.
Tell us about Piksel’s range of products and services. Piksel’s offering is built around three core pillars – a digital supply chain product suite, deep systems integration experience, and comprehensive managed service provision – which all sit upon the foundation of the Piksel Palette. The Piksel Palette is our modular platform, built on a microservices architecture, that enables us to build solutions highly tailored to our customers’ circumstances but with all the benefits of a classic product-led approach.
Does Piksel supply the whole package for its customers or call on specialist partners for some elements of the workflow? We work with a broad range of partners to provide our customers with the perfect solution for their business. A core part of our microservices architecture is the ease with which we can support a mixed ecosystem working with partners to allow our customers to realise best-ofbreed approaches. We help customers avoid lock-in and make it easy to plug in new partners or their own inhouse systems via APIs and SDKs.
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Microservices are playing an ever-growing role in cloud-based solutions. How is Piksel implementing these, and what benefits do they deliver? We’ve long been champions of the value of a microservices-based approach. The broadcast and media industries are changing at a tremendous pace. Agility of the business and its operations are paramount. Our products, built on the modular foundation of the Piksel Palette and cloud native from inception, independently scale at the functional level, ensuring robustness and responsiveness to the changing needs of our client base. The componentised, feature-focused approach makes updating and replacing individual services fast, reliable and easy.
Many broadcasters have considerable investments in on-premise hardware that need to be amortized. Does Piksel offer hybrid on-premise/cloud solutions and if so, how do you handle the progression over time to fully cloud-based operations? They absolutely do, and there is no quick-fix when it comes to legacy hardware. Our approach has been to embrace that; the modular nature of the Piksel Palette means that our customers can make smart choices
about hybridization. With large-scale, mission-critical or simply ‘fragile’ legacy systems, a move to the cloud isn’t always possible – not easily, at least. In those instances we work with our customers to protect and maintain those platforms while capitalizing on the cloud elsewhere. And, as time goes on, we can help them explore options for moving even the most intricate on-premise deployments into the cloud.
Piksel works with some of the biggest names in broadcasting around the world and has long lasting relationships with most of them. What sets Piksel apart from its competitors – why do your customers keep coming back? Relationships is the key word there, because we believe that it’s the strength of those partnerships that sets us apart from our competitors and helps us to deliver award-winning, industry leading solutions. Many of our clients have relied on us to be by their side as their business has grown, and we’ve become valued, trusted partners. We also have an incredible breadth of experience when it comes to systems integration, allowing us to act as expert advisers to our customers on the wide range of technology shaping the future of their business.
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Genelec’s approach to R&D has always been to produce monitor speakers that provide a neutral reference
40 years on and still going strong. How does Genelec do it? Howard Jones Marketing Director, Genelec
Genelec, a long-standing IABM member, celebrates 40 successful years in business in 2018 – a considerable achievement by any standards, but more especially so in such a fast-changing, transforming industry. We asked Howard Jones, Genelec’s Marketing Director, to let us into the secrets of 40 years of continual success, and how the company plans to carry this forward into the future.
How did the name Genelec come about – is there a story behind it? Yes, when Ilpo Martikainen founded the company with Topi Partanen back in 1978, he first looked to some of his wife’s Latin and Greek dictionaries for inspiration, but in the end settled on Genelec since it sounded beautiful to him, and was easy to pronounce in both Finnish and international languages. And since it felt like a combination of ‘Genius’ and ‘Electronics’ it seemed to bode well!
Tell us a bit about the company – for example, where are you based, how many staff do you employ, how do you approach R&D, what kind of manufacturing facility do you have, how do you sell and support in overseas markets and anything else that you think is important about Genelec. The company’s headquarters are in Iisalmi, Finland – and this is home to the majority of our workforce, including both our R&D and manufacturing operations. Everything we produce is designed and manufactured here, and we believe that the close proximity of the production line to our R&D team is what helps us achieve the very high levels of reliability and consistency that are crucial – particularly in the world of broadcast, where trust in a brand really has to be earned. Our approach to R&D has always been to produce monitor speakers that provide a neutral reference, and it’s been our aim from the outset to try and remove the room’s influence as much as possible from what the listener is hearing. That began with the basic EQ controls found on our first monitor – the S30 – and has led to the development of our current range of SAM monitors that employ internal DSP and external control and calibration software – giving the user more power in neutralising the detrimental effects of the room’s 62 IABM JOURNAL
acoustics. Sales and support is handled by our own regional offices in the US, China, Japan and the key Nordic territories, and through high-quality distribution partners in all other countries.
Please give us a brief overview of your current product range and target markets. We operate in three market segments – Studio, AV Install and Home Audio, and each sector has its own dedicated range of products. The Studio segment would be aimed at music production, broadcast, film and post, and broadly comprises two distinct approaches: the ‘Classic’ range of analogue two-way monitor speakers and subwoofers, and the ‘SAM’ range (this stands for Smart Active Monitor) which incorporates the DSP-andsoftware approach mentioned above. This is a large and growing part of our business, and takes in everything from desktop models to full size main studio monitors, with accompanying subwoofers. Our target market is anyone in music or broadcast demanding a true reference monitor that has the ability to adapt to sometimes challenging acoustic environments. As we know rooms are generally getting smaller and don’t always have the luxury of extensive acoustic treatment – so SAM technology helps compensate for commonly encountered room anomalies.
What are the guiding principles/philosophy behind Genelec’s products and your customer relationships, and how have you had to adapt to a changing market over your 40 years in the industry? Genelec has always been an innovator – if you follow the timeline of our product developments there have been so many mould-breaking moments, whether in cabinet design, driver design, the use of recycled aluminium in
our enclosures, and the increasing use of digital technology to help improve speaker performance. The company also thinks very long term – both in terms of its views on sustainability, where we believe that a company’s commitment to the environment is just as important as profitability – and also its customer relationships, where we believe in honesty and respect. Many of our customers have been with us for decades, and the pleasure we get from maintaining 40 year-old Genelec products for our customers is immense. As far as market changes go, we believe that the key is always understanding your customer’s ‘pain points’ – a product will only be successful if it presents a solution to a problem. Identifying and understanding that problem is crucial, and it will often be changing.
If we were to interview your customers about why they chose Genelec products over the competition, what do you think they would say – what is your ‘secret sauce’? One of my favourite quotes is from Phitz Hearne from Splice Post in London, who says “When you get it right on a Genelec, it’s right everywhere.” I think the confidence that a mix produced on a Genelec monitoring system will translate beautifully to other systems is really important. You want a true reference that won’t lie to you, since that’s the only way you can be sure the listener will experience the same mix that you spent hours carefully crafting. I think in broadcast another key feature of Genelec products is the consistency of sound across the entire family – so that if you move between Genelec rooms, from the smallest edit suite to the biggest immersive system, you can rely on the same neutral and precise reference playback. And bulletproof reliability too, that goes without saying.
If one looked back at the list of IBC exhibitors at say its 1980 show, there are not that many familiar names left from then today. What are the secrets to Genelec’s ongoing success? Never stop listening to your customers, but don’t lose your focus. You can’t be all things to everyone – but if you understand your strengths, and can match them to your customer’s needs then you’ll be protecting yourself against the worst of what the market can throw at you.
Many long-established, successful companies have a very stable employee base, with an average service period often running to many years. Is this true at Genelec, and if so, how do you think it affects the way your business runs? Yes, there are many long-standing employees here which says a lot about a company I think. That depth of knowledge and understanding of where the company has come from is really important, but so is the ability to embrace change and bring on new talent and new ways of thinking. Of all the companies I’ve worked for, Genelec is the one with the most desire to keep improving itself while staying true to its original goals.
It’s said that any company that stands still will fail. What’s next in Genelec’s ongoing success story? We’re always mindful of where the market might be heading. In broadcast, the take-up of IP, cloud technology and immersive audio is quite obvious, and we’re already actively engaged in these areas of the market. We see a bright future for all of them.
What aspects of IABM membership does Genelec find most useful, and why? We love the way that IABM always offers opportunities to learn, understand the marketplace and hear what customers and other manufacturers have to say. Every industry needs a great trade organisation, and thankfully we have one.
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Offloading is the movement of the camera files off the camera card to another medium such as a hard disk
IABM members speak – Imagine Products Michelle Maddox Marketing Director and Workflow Expert, Imagine Products
Tell us a bit about Imagine Products: when and why the company was established and by whom, what problems did it see that needed to be solved, and how the company has grown and developed over the years. Imagine Products has always created workflow software for the media and entertainment industry. We began in 1991 (our first year at the NAB Show!) with The Executive Producer®(TEP) which set the standard for video logging for over 20 years. The original problem TEP solved was saving time in the edit suite by loading decision lists electronically rather than the tedious job of typing in timecode values that tied up expensive equipment. As the industry moved into the digital editing era, the TEP videologgers helped producers convey selected clips to the non-linear editors to digitize, saving precious disk space. Over the years Imagine became known for a variety of Windows and Macintosh software applications for pre-production and post-production tasks such as copying, cataloguing, archiving, previewing, transcoding, and enhancing video. Besides TEP, some of our most popular software titles were HDLog™, ImageMine®, CrimeVision®, P2 Log™, ProxyMill® and of course ShotPut Pro™. ShotPut Pro actually started out as three separate applications for different emerging HD cameras in 2008. After 10 years, ShotPut Pro has become one of the most recognizable applications in the industry and is required on many feature films and by many insurance companies because it is reliable, easy to use and affordable.
Give us a quick run-down on your product range today. Today we offer many applications that work together to form one cohesive workflow. Our newest application, PrimeTranscoder™ brings many of the viewing features
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of HD-VU™ into a transcoding application that focuses on the new and ever-changing camera formats. Both HD-VU and PrimeTranscoder can ‘talk’ back and forth to ShotPut Pro, creating an automated workflow from offloading camera cards to viewing to transcoding into useable, sharable formats. For over 10 years Imagine Products has been leading the way in the linear tape archiving realm and working with many hardware companies to bring full solutions to end users. Both PreRoll Post™ and myLTO™ focus on securing assets for up to 30 years on LTFS formatted LTO tapes. This has led us to many exciting partnerships with well-known companies such as IBM, HP, Quantum, Tandberg, mLogic and StorageDNA. The myLTO™ – dnaLTFS application utilizes StorageDNA’s enhanced LTFS environment to train an LTO tape to behave like a hard drive giving it the ability to randomly access files directly from the tape.
ShotPut Pro celebrates its 10th birthday this year and is widely regarded as an industry standard for ‘offloading’. Please explain what offloading is and why it is so important. Simply put; offloading is the movement of the camera files off the camera card to another medium such as a hard disk, freeing up the card for continued use by the camera. ShotPut Pro creates secure copies by using checksum technology to verify the content exactly matches the originals. Over the years we have added pause and resume functionality as well as the ability to extract video metadata and create PDF reports with video thumbs, and many other features, that have become invaluable to many.
What are the unique features and capabilities of ShotPut Pro that make it so widely specified and used? ShotPut Pro not only moves the media securely, it also can alert users to potential flaws in their workflow. Many times we’ve had customers email us with verification issues only to discover that they have a failing card reader, hard disk or bad cord, etc. ShotPut Pro helps avoid human errors too. Using something like Finder to transfer files does not give you this kind of peace of mind, not to mention the reports with
Isaac Fisher on the go with ShotPut Pro. @eyesaacfisher
thumbnails and metadata, and email or text alerts when copying is finished saving you time. These reports are great communication tools amongst the user and the rest of the crew. Over the past 10 years ShotPut Pro has been requested on feature films and required by many insurance companies because of the checksum algorithms it uses to verify files. A checksum is a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identify a particular file regardless of the type; .mov, .ari, .dng. Think of them like a fingerprint; no two fingers have the same fingerprint and no two random files have the same checksum; different files = different checksums. This is incredibly important in the media and entertainment industry because the loss of a file can often mean the loss of a frame. Files moved in Finder can also be transposed or inverted, which can also be a major problem with video files.
Last year you released a new transcoding application. Why did you see a need in the industry for it? PrimeTranscoder is a new application built from the ground up using the latest video foundations from Apple for the very latest operating systems. It performs direct conversions without intermediate legacy steps making it the fastest transcoding application on the market today. It also seems like everyday there is another camera coming out with a new format. And this is great! It gives people the ability to capture their project in their vision much easier than ever before. But it also creates multiple formats that need to be transcoded or changed into a usable format, whether that be for editing or viewing with customers. PrimeTranscoder focuses on these new formats and how to properly prepare them for the next stage in the workflow. It has the ability to merge many clips into one long continuous clip, which can be quite useful for 4k (and 6k and 8k) files. For example, each frame shot in 4k creates its own file and that can get quite cumbersome to work with if not done correctly. That’s where ShotPut Pro and
PrimeTranscoder come in. By setting up a watch folder in PrimeTranscoder, users can automate the offloading and transcoding process. Once new files are offloaded with ShotPut Pro the transcoder will automatically pull them in and change them to the required format. Camera format files often must be transcoded into another format before editing can occur. By using both applications together, the entire process becomes faster and more efficient.
Imagine Products seems to be deeply engaged in the archiving of media too. Tell us why this is important to media owners, and what the advantages of your products are for the latest generation of LTO-8 drives. Over the past few years it’s become obvious that (Linear Tape Open) LTO digital tape archiving is here to stay. It’s more stable and affordable compared to hard drives with a much longer shelf life. Cloud solutions are improving everyday but there are still a lot of security questions regarding the safety of assets and costs. LTO tapes provide a stable and secure environment and are backed by some of the most well-known companies in the world. Products like PreRoll Post and my LTO help users correctly archive files and entire projects to tape for longterm storage. One of the greatest features of PreRoll Post is the searchable database. Each tape created in PreRoll Post is added to the database and then can be searched, without the tape being mounted or present. You can imagine how helpful this would be if you have hundreds of tapes. But not all users have hundreds of tapes to search through though and that’s where my LTO comes in. It has all the security and LTFS knowledge of PreRoll Post without the database. Both applications utilize checksum technology to ensure each files gets to its final destination correctly. With the release of LTO8, users can expect fast transfer speeds and even larger tape capacity. This makes LTO/LTFS archiving that much more affordable! Always remember the rule of two; two LTO tapes in two different locations equals a true archive.
What IABM member benefits are most valuable to Imagine Products, and why? The industry insights have been incredibly valuable for marketing and business decisions. We also enjoy the trade show benefits like the networking parties, award opportunities as well as the discounts! To be a part of IABM is to be among the elite companies in this industry.
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IABM UPDATE... IABM launches Broadcast and Media Awards™ – “the new gold standard for technology innovators” The BaMs™ will be awarded to innovations in 10 newly-defined categories that accurately model the structure of the industry today. All the winners are automatically shortlisted for the IABM Peter Wayne Award, with the overall winner receiving this ultimate industry accolade at the IABM’s Annual Awards at the end of the year. We have been running our NAB Game Changer Awards and IBC Design & Innovation Awards for some years now, and they have become highly-prized assets both for the winners and shortlisted entrants. The structure of the
We will be present at a number of shows over the next few months where members can take advantage of a variety of member benefits industry has transformed over the last couple of years, and we have restructured the awards categories to reflect this. It was a natural next step to unify the awards around the two largest events of the year – NAB Show and IBC – giving them equal status and recognition.
Applied Electronics Ltd www.appliedelectronics.com
MuxLab Inc www.muxlab.com
SEEDER / Justtong www.seeder.com
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2018 New Start-up members
BIRTV 22-25 August 2018 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India
ES Broadcast Ltd www.esbroadcast.com
Broadcast Asia 26-28 June 2018 Suntec, Singapore
Tyrell CCT www.tyrellcct.com
KOBA 15-18 May 2018 COEX, Korea
IABM™, BaMs™ and the BaM Awards logo are trademarks belonging to IABM.
NEW IABM MEMBERS
CMT Technologies LLC www.cmt-technologies.com
Where you can see us next
KnoxMediaHub www.knoxmediahub.com Metaliquid www.meta-liquid.com Promethean TV www.promethean.tv
IBC 13-18 September 2018 Amsterdam RAI, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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IABM partners with AV8 Media to deliver technical training in South East Asia Established training organization to help bridge skills gap in APAC with award-winning IABM courses delivered locally
IABM training dates Engaging with the Broadcast & Media Industry Available on-line as an e-learning package Introduction to Broadcast Technology
IABM has entered a partnership with AV8 Media to deliver IABM’s awardwinning technical training courses in South East Asia.
Available on-line as an e-learning package
Based in Singapore, AV8 Media is a systems integrator and training provider for all aspects of digital content creation and media technology. In addition to delivering IABM broadcast and media technology training courses, AV8 Media is also an Adobe Authorised Training Centre.
IP and File Based Workflow
IABM’s technical education portfolio covers the full spectrum of the broadcast and media industry. Courses range from an introduction to the broadcast and media business for those new to the industry, to video and audio fundamentals, IP networks and signal flows, HDR, WCG and HEVC, to satellite broadcasting and file formats and workflows.
7-8 June 8-9 November 17-18 July
The courses are open to IABM members as well as non-members, including broadcast and media company end-users. AV8 can also deliver the courses at the customer’s premises.
19-20 June 24-25 October 20-21 November
Available on-line as an e-learning package Advanced IP Networks for Engineers London, UK London, UK Singapore
Audio & Video Fundamentals for Engineers London, UK London, UK Dubai, UAE
Broadcast Technology Workflows 17-18 May 22-23 November
London, UK Dubai, UAE
High Dynamic Range & Wide Color Gamut
IABM GLOSSARY OF TERMS Visit: www.theiabm.org
A one-stop, online knowledge base for everyone involved in broadcast & media Invaluable for understanding and keeping up to date with the technologies that make our industry tick. The Glossary is a living resource, using IABM’s own technology experts to add definitions and explanations of new developments as they happen across the industry.
7 June 30 October
London, UK London, UK
IP Multicast for Stream RTP Media 14-15 June 19-20 July
London, UK Singapore
IP Network Essentials for Engineers 5-6 June 6-7 November
London, UK London, UK
IP Overview for Technical Sales 4 June 5 November
London, UK London, UK
Understanding File Formats 26 October
Understanding the Broadcast & Media Industry 15-16 May
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IABM UPDATE...NAB SHOW 2018
IABM AT THE LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER
IABM BaM AWARDS ™ PARTY ™
IABM MEMBER LOUNGE
IABM PRESS CONFERENCE
Sunday April 8 (9.00am-10.00am) N242
IABM TV STUDIO N110LMR
Tuesday April 10 (6.00pm-8.00pm) Ballroom C, Westgate Las Vegas Resort
IABM'S NAB SHOW VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER SUPER SUNDAY SESSION North Hall Meeting Rooms
Creative Collaboration – The Only Way Forward Sunday April 8 (2.00pm-4.00pm) N239/N241
Outdoor/Mobile Media IVE E DR R T N Silver CE PARA Lot TION N D E I S V E ROAD CON
OAD NR N I ERT DES
Monday April 9
State of the Industry Conference – The business of broadcast and media, technology supply vital statistics 8.00am–10.00am breakfast from 7.30am N239/N241 This thought provoking session will give an understanding of the dynamics and disrupters of the industry, together with vital objective business data and informed debate.
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SWEN SON S T
l Hall a r t n Ce
South Hall Meeting Rooms
IABM MEMBER LOUNGE C2962
Hall h t Souper) (Up
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ANNUAL STATE OF THE INDUSTRY CONFERENCE Monday April 9 (8.00am-10.00am) N239/N241
Tuesday April 10
BaM Awards™ Party
IABM MEMBER LOUNGE
6.00pm-8.00pm, The Westgate Don’t miss this key after-show networking event. Drinks and canapes will be provided.
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Sunday April 8
IABM’s NAB Show Voice of the Customer – Super Sunday Session Creative Collaboration – the only way forward 2.00pm-4.00pm, N239/241 This is a must-attend session on the eve of NAB Show where technology suppliers and end-users come together to discuss and define the future of our industry. As well as arming delegates with the insights they need to drive their business forward, it also offers a unique networking opportunity to make new contacts and strengthen relationships.
IABM JOURNAL 69
IABM UPDATE... IABM website developments We have recently developed the members area of the IABM website so that it can be used as a useful tool to ensure you stay connected with IABM and the wider industry. Once logged in, members can now update their profile to ensure we have the most up to date information and update preferences and interests to ensure IABM is sending you interesting and relevant engaging content. Members can also view their recent activity so that you can easily refer back to an article, webinar, presentation or web page that you have looked previously. If you see a piece of content that you like on our website but don’t have time to read it straight away, you can now save that content into your member’s area and access it at a time that suits you. As part of your membership, every employee of your company has access to the wide range of benefits available so if you need to register colleagues with our site then this is now quick and easy to do.
IABM content that’s easier to find Filter your search by key topic, content type or published date. Or alternatively if you do a global search for a term then all related pieces of content will be displayed.
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Once you have viewed the content, you can see a series of related pieces of content, can save this for later or suggest other topics or themes that you wish to read about as well as sharing on social media.
Make the most of IABM membership
PROMOTE YOUR COMPANY
Connecting you to the entire broadcast and media technology eco-system
A wide range of opportunities to promote your company across the broadcast and media industry
Up-to-the-minute news from the entire broadcast and media industry
INSIGHT & ANALYSIS
SKILLS & EDUCATION
IABM is the leading provider of data, research and business intelligence reports in the broadcast technology sector
IABM TV keeps you up to date with key industry events and trends, no matter where you are
Our portfolio represents industry newcomers, established experts and everything in-between
KNOWLEDGE SUPPORT & LEADERSHIP FOR MEDIA TECHNOLOGY SUPPLIERS IABM GLOSSARY OF TERMS
A one-stop, online knowledge base for everyone involved in broadcast and media
Access all presentation decks from seminars, events and keynotes delivered by IABM throughout the world
Join us today â€“ www.theiabm.org
26 â€“ 28 June 2018 Level 3 â€“ 6, Suntec Singapore www.Broadcast-Asia.com
CAPTURE THE FUTURE Imagine a future where game-changing possibilities for broadcasting are limitless. A world where innovative technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are impacting the way you view content. Embark on a journey of discovery at BroadcastAsia2018! Discover the latest innovations that are reshaping how content is created, managed, delivered and consumed, engage in networking opportunities and exchange valuable insights from industry experts. Featured Techzones:
Highlighting latest solutions from:
UHD / HDR
Content Media Security
OTT and Alternative Content Platform
Skip the queue! Register your visit online now at www.Broadcast-Asia.com/visitor-registration
A part of:
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