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Takeaways From IBC 2017

IBC 2017 has just concluded in Amsterdam and as every year, many lessons can be drawn for the broadcast and cable industry. Some crucial takeaways will impact plans and strategies.

Virtual reality seems to be going the 3D way – nowhere. Except perhaps for gaming and porn. The goggles are a lot more clunky than 3D glasses ever were and the sense of isolation produced, even more intense. The hottest technology trend by far is voice UI, voice activated interface, especially when combined with artificial intelligence. Voice seems to be poised to become the most pervasive, ordinary interactive technology. Leading broadcasters see it as a new way for viewers to access their content. Amazon’s Alexa device is a case in point.

The biggest accelerating trend, which is already a reality, is mobile video. This undoubtedly places a great strain on existing capacities and will require a complete infrastructure revamp. Customer expectations are already running ahead of delivery and somehow broadcasters will have to find a way of delivering to the viewer what he demands. Most broadcasters are already making significant structural changes to how they operate. They have already upended their news hierarchy to ensure that every story is covered first on mobile, followed by online, then radio, and finally television. Virtually every decision is being made based on how it advances digital TV that will one day replace the linear one.

The Indian broadcast industry is already a big market with 183 million homes with TV, and 1.3 billion people, and has the interest of the global players and investors. Ultimately, it becomes a question of what is the viable entry strategy for a company to get scale relative to other priorities it has for its capital. The year gone by has not seen as much activity and deal transactions as anticipated, as there remained a struggle for the media companies to find attractive targets of a size that move the needle, relative to other opportunities they have today to deploy capital.

We look forward to meeting our readers at Broadcast India 2017, being held from October 12 to 14 in Mumbai.

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