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The future of media – Business versus technology

In order to predict the future, we need to look back at the past. Not too long ago, terrestrial broadcast TV stations owned the media marketplace. They were big organizations with massive cash flow. There was a saying in the US in the 1980s: A TV broadcast license is a license to print money. Today, some of those same organizations no longer exist as they did, becoming part of even bigger conglomerates. Then came two technological paradigm shifting sea changes (to use the terms of the past) – DSL internet services (to be followed by cable-based internet services) and a rapid increase in mobile bandwidth. With these advances, television did not require a television set to watch. And non-terrestrial broadcast content became readily available.

Today, we have many more organizations producing and distributing content for consumption anywhere and at any time.
While terrestrial broadcast television still exists (and is still profitable), consumers also have OTT, mobile video, VoD, DVRs connected to mobile devices for individualized on-demand programming, and anything else you can think of. But that is where business comes in. All through those technology developments, advertising budgets have remained basically the same on a global scale, meaning that more companies (and individual producers of podcasts and YouTube videos) want a piece of the same pie.

That brings us to the trend we have been experiencing for the last decade or so – and will continue to experience – doing more with less (or, at least the same for less).

So, what do I see for the future as the CEO of an automation company? First, it is a great time to be in the automation business since what we do reduces costs. But business will always win out against technology. Technology is just the tool that serves business.

Now we have more emerging technologies – IP, remote production, 4K UHD, and even 8K UHD (for those who think it is really necessary, while other organizations around the world are still transitioning from SD to HD).

But those technologies pale in comparison to the biggest advance to hit the media industry – artificial intelligence (AI). In some aspects – and you might not have realized this yet – AI has already started to replace people in all areas of production, from metadata extraction and creation to robotic camera control. That will be interesting as the decade continues.

One of the biggest changes that we have been involved in is where business has leveraged technology to its fullest.
That would be our project with Hyderabad-based Ramoji Group’s ETV Bharat in India.

Launched last year, the ETV Bharat app provides the ability for users to drill down from national news to news from 29 Indian states, and then to 725 districts across the country for hyper-local content. With over 5000 mobile journalists (MoJo) trained and empowered with state-of-the-art mobile news-reporting equipment, and with Aveco’s production control room (PCR) and master control room (MCR) automation managing the dynamic workflow for all of the app’s 13 language versions, the efficiency of news production at ETV Bharat is exceptional.

This project was awarded the 2019 IBC Innovation Award in the Content Everywhere category for a News App at Massive Scale. Aveco automation drives there the 24 studios and 24 full-time news channels for mobile news consumption.

Of course, there is an additional influence on media that I have not touched on… politics. Public service broadcasters will be under extreme pressure as government funding becomes subject to cuts. And we have seen a few missteps recently by public organizations that did not help their case with politicians.

So, in the end, I probably do not know what the future will bring. No one does. But as I have said before, there are two things I know for sure – civilization will sooner or later amuse itself to death, and Aveco will be delivering automation to it!

Come meet Kulvinder Singh, Aveco’s VP Sales South Asia, at BES Expo 2020, VTI’s booth #30!

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