Broadcast Industry Confidence Highest in Two Years

IABM concludes annual conference with collaboration, industry partnerships and SDN emerging as major trends

The IABM (International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers) concluded its annual two-day International Business Conference on Friday 6 December. The event brought together many of the most respected figures from the broadcast technology arena in a series of keynotes and panels debating the future of the broadcast sector.

The conference commenced with key findings from the association’s latest business intelligence reports from Peter White, director general of the IABM. He said: “Although the market is in growth year on year at around 4.5 per cent, this conceals some wildly divergent performances. SMEs in particular seem to be struggling with shrinking sales year on year at about 5 per cent. Profits are also shrinking overall at a rate of minus 24 per cent.”

White went on to say: “Set against these figures it was something of a surprise to see that business confidence was at its highest level for over two years. So, hopefully, we will see significant overall market performance improvements in 2014.”


The overall theme of the conference – Navigating through the changing media landscape – focused on transformation and convergence in the industry. The tone of the event was set by its first keynote speaker, Charlie Vogt, president and CEO, Harris Broadcast. Vogt suggested greater collaboration is a necessity if the incumbents are to present a coherent response to emerging threats from new entrants to the market.

John Ive, conference chairman and director of business development and technology at IABM expanded on the idea of more co-operation in the industry: “For too long the established players in the broadcast sector have been focused on protecting their individual interests, which are all-too-often are tied up in proprietary systems. In the meantime a new wave of competitors from the telco space have shown they have both the ambition, and as illustrated by recent developments, the means to disrupt the status quo.


“The traditional broadcast industry has become very fragmented and as such, doesn’t offer a strong position from which to consolidate its position. This conference offers a real opportunity for former rivals to put aside their differences and to work towards transforming the market by placing a greater emphasis on co-operation and partnership across the ecosystem.”

Many of the issues raised by Vogt, including SDN, IP and virtualisation, were further explored in a panel discussion, featuring Dominic Stone, broadcast solutions executive, IBM, Emma Riley, head of business development, dock 10, Brian Cabeceiras, chief strategy officer, Harris Broadcast and Eric Dufosse, vice president marketing live solutions, Grass Valley.


The highlight of day two was a presentation from Mark Gallagher detailing how people drive change, set against the backdrop of Formula 1 and his experience with the Jordan and Red Bull Grand Prix teams.  The event closed with a panel debate, chaired by Dr William Cooper, founder and chief executive, informitv, and featuring Andy Quested, head of technology BBC HD & UHD, BBC; Dominic Stone, broadcast solutions architect, IBM; David Peto, CEO, Aframe; and Chris Johns, chief engineer, BSkyB. The discussion proved particularly popular and the views of the protagonists and antagonists raised insightful, controversial and sometimes pointed feedback from the audience, who ultimately decided that specialist technology suppliers to the broadcast industry would still be prevalent by 2020.

IABM releases key findings from latest business intelligence reports

The Industry Index report covers the performance of 70 companies in the North American and European broadcast and media technology sector, providing a benchmark and allowing them to track emerging trends. One of the key findings was that while North American companies have faster growing sales, European companies are reporting higher profits.

“Overall, larger companies are growing sales over 5 per cent per annum while SMEs are struggling with a shrinking sales of minus 5 per cent. Year on year for the total market, however, aggregate sales figures are actually 4,5 per cent and profit growth is minus 24 per cent,” says Peter White, director general, IABM.


However, the outlook for 2014 is positive based on the results of the Industry Trends survey. Senior decision-makers from a cross section of organisations in the global broadcast manufacturing and media technology sector indicated increased confidence in the market with 43 per cent forecasting improvements in 2014.

“A total of 60 per cent of respondents indicated that confidence was increased or significantly increased for the year ahead, while only 6 per cent had the opposite view. This is a significant change from last quarter where forecasts for the upcoming year where the most negative in four years,” says White.

Other key findings include 75 per cent of companies reporting order levels that are expected or better than expected with the majority of sales coming from Western Europe, North America and Asia.

“There continues to be investment in research and development,” says White. “However, challenges such as manufacturing and development capability combined with skills and staff issues have been identified as the most significant factors that are limiting contract and order fulfilment.”


The IABM, the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers, is the authoritative voice of the broadcast and media technology supply industry worldwide. Its wide range of services to members encompasses market research and intelligence, training, expert representation at standards bodies and broadcasting unions, executive networking opportunities, and preferential purchasing. A presence at every major broadcast tradeshow, the IABM also provides a valuable channel for communication among broadcast manufacturers, government, and regulatory bodies. Additional IABM activities include awards programs for innovation and scholarships designed to stimulate the development of the broadcast and electronic media industries on an international basis.