The Broadcast & Media Industry in 2021: Changes and Predictions

Given the considerable changes in content consumption trends that we examined last week and the global situation itself, how have we adapted in the Broadcast & Media industry? As expected, in the most atypical year in living memory, many priorities have changed, but there has also been an acceleration in certain trends towards the digital transition for which 2021 may be the year of consolidation. We analyze it below at the business level and offer some answers about what the coming year might bring.

The transition to direct-to-consumer (D2C) business models

Once again, the spectacular growth experienced in these months by OTT-type platforms and streaming has led Broadcast and Media companies to allocate more resources to connect directly with their audiences through new platforms or digital media. We already commented in our previous article on the mostly expansive situation of the industry’s leading companies and how many groups are looking to join the scene.

These two facts are what, according to the IABM Charting the Uncharted report, are causing a sectorial polarization towards the digital, revaluing companies that have already partially or totally initiated this transition and punishing those who lag behind, who now seek in many cases to recover the trust of a more informed consumer with more options through an irrevocable technological investment that, in some cases, could be the difference between continuity or termination of business. To this forced investment we must add another one that can not be other than the transition to remote working models, which has shaped another of the great aspects of the digital transition: a change of perspective on how we see the technology.

Business continuity, a technological objective

Despite the fact that the digital transition is the most important objective for companies in the industry, it is an end that necessarily involves their continuity, a need that has managed to modify the vision we have of technology, which we now value more in terms of how pragmatic it allows us to be.

2020 is the year in which, in the face of an uncertain global context, we are not committed to investing in the most cutting-edge or imaginative technology on the market, but rather in the one that allows us to be increasingly productive and efficient with increasingly tighter budgets. Other of the most sought-after characteristics are the focus on the user and the capacity to open new business opportunities.

The entire value chain of the Broadcast & Media industry has adjusted to this new reality, and where before there was, for example, room to prioritize image quality or additional free services that would improve the user experience, now the search is more focused on systems and advances that would, for example, increase advertising revenues, improve remote production or assist in consumer retention. This pattern, coupled with uncertainty about the future, has also led to a shift in the timing and scope of investments, resulting in increased interest in as-a-service models.

As-a-service, from gradual to regular

Although before the pandemic many companies were already gradually moving towards SaaS technology models, the acceleration of this trend has been consistent with the unpredictability derived from the current situation, as these models are responsible for the highest rapid response capacity.  

 This change has naturally had a domino effect on media technology providers, who have seen their large one-off revenues from hardware-based or legacy systems diminish or become recurrent as they adjust their offerings to SaaS models, a trend that seems to be a priority for the years to come. For users, this trend also implies a greater dependency and relationship with their Internet service providers and a reconsideration of the technology they can develop in-house to fulfill some of their needs.

Investing in the media software of the future

Finally, we will closely analyze the impact this year has had on investment in new systems and solutions in the broadcast and media industry. As expected and as has happened in many industries, the common denominator has been a major budgetary adjustment: while at the beginning of the year a rise in the broadcast technology market of about 1.5% was expected, GMVR’s current forecast now estimates a fall of almost 10% (about 5,800 million USD).

 All parts of the content supply chain have experienced a decline in revenue, but segments closer to consumers have fared better than others. In these more profitable segments, investment or expense levels have not declined as much as anticipated at the beginning of the year as in other parts of the chain. Let’s finally examine each part of the chain to also discover how VSN’s solutions and products can assist users in each of them:

Creation and production

The content creation area is the only product category that has seen a growing demand for social or user-generated content solutions, which have been particularly employed in newscasts.

On the production side, remote editing, remote workflow solutions, IP technology and graphics systems have increased sales, along with integrated production software suites with social media publishing capabilities.

 As an example, the VSNExplorer MAM platform allows remote editing flows, since it is capable of receiving ingest signals remotely through its web portal, previewing and editing with Wedit to add the cuts we want to the timeline and sending the content to multiple platforms, including social networks, YouTube or the VSN NewsConnect web plugin if it is news content, as well as exporting the EDL (edit decision list) to non-linear editors to continue the edition.

Content management

Content and workflow management solutions with process automation, as well as digital storage and archive systems have best withstood the situation. Above all, because they have allowed companies to maximize the use of their assets and resources and also to have better and faster access to content files in an era when new productions were stopped in their tracks.  

And proof of this is VSNExplorer MAM, our content management platform, which allows, among other things, to preserve content in any digital storage and even to take advantage of its automatic metadata detection technology that integrates several Artificial Intelligence engines.

Distribution and monetization

And finally, in the distribution and monetization section, investments have been mostly made in the migration to virtualized or cloud playout solutions, in analytics software, and in solutions to better monetize a company’s assets (such as dynamic ad insertion systems, publishing to video on demand platforms, social networks, etc.). All this, of course, is the result of the growing interest in new Direct To Consumer models.

VSN systems can contribute a lot in this sense, since they can conform end-to-end flows for distribution and monetization with different elements, such as the traffic and scheduling platform VSNCrea, a BMS fully synchronized with MAM and from where we can send our linear and non-linear playlists, processes that can be performed simultaneously. Besides linear programming, we can use the asrunlog to monetize the content, as well as play the media, perform catch up, send to social networks and schedule the content to non-linear platforms. In addition, through it we can also analyze everything broadcasted thanks to the integration with the legal copy system VSNBroadrec.

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