My favorite part of NAB is my breakfast with journalists. It is a simple format where we eat breakfast together and discuss the trends in the industry. This year we discussed Mergers, Standards and Education:
If you listened carefully at NAB, you would have been able to hear the sound of companies clacking together at critical speeds like some kind of nuclear reactor.
Is this a trend? I think it is. Business models for broadcasters, content owners and vendors alike are changing rapidly. Margins are slimmer and the average age of the staff on most of the booths is getting older. I have written before about the difficulty for technical staff in our industry to get education and training. There are renewed efforts by the SMPTE, IABM, SVG, BBC and others, but it will take time for these efforts to see the light of day. In the meantime, the average age of video trained staff continues to increase.
It has become increasingly difficult for TV stations and other media companies to get staff that understand all the aspects of a modern, file based broadcast operation, so as a result, they become more dependent on the “one-stop-shop” that can deliver an end to end solution. This in turn leads to organisations merging to obtain the skills required to deliver that one-stop-shop promise. As the CTO of a recently acquired company trying to fulfil that dream, it seems natural that this process will continue for many years to come.
Anyone who was in broadcasting in the early 1990s will remember this happening during the transition to digital. There was not enough knowledge of digital amongst the broadcasters at the time and so the creation of the huge one-stop-shop companies like Sony, Panasonic, Grass Valley and the like was inevitable. Standards at the time were important because it was the only way that the big solutions could interchange content. The same is true today. We are seeing more and more standards, application specifications and attempts to codify workflow to give shape to the emerging one-stop-shop solutions.
In the late 1990s, vendor led education distributed the knowledge and application of SDI leading to more confidence amongst the user community. Today the education is coming from vendors and from organisations trying to encourage a youthful workforce into the technical side of our industry.
AmberFin Academy will soon become Dalet Academy and the scope and subject matter will broaden to help you learn more about the technology you need to survive in today’s media world. I won’t be writing blogs about sequins again for a while, but for those of you who wanted to see me sparkling, I hope that today’s blog post will be good enough – it was actually kind of fun.
Finally, I would just like to say a huge thanks to Phil and Ester Leclerc of leclercbrothers.com who bought us dinner tonight. You are totally awesome and we hope that all your films are mini-blockbusters!