IBC 2018

Our Commercial Director, Peter Gordon gives us his round up of IBC 2018

“15 halls of equipment, hundreds of exhibitors, hundreds of thousands of visitors, canals and “coffee shops”. Yes, I have just spent two days in Amsterdam at the International Broadcast Convention IBC. The biggest annual gathering of broadcast industry professionals outside the US.”

Everything broadcast is on show and being talked about; studios, cameras, lights, technology, software, transmission. In fact pretty much everything except the actors and programmes themselves. Common technology themes this year included 8K TV, low latency video streaming, multi-platform distribution and content repurposing, content management, visual radio and some quite sexy AI applications.

RF Transmission

The space occupied by RF transmission hardware (TV, FM and AM transmitters, antenna systems, combiners, filters etc) has steadily reduced over the years; it now only fills about half of one hall. The main themes here are transmission efficiency, niche AM products, DVB and DAB transmitters and high reliability. There has been consolidation among the OEMs and a big question on people’s minds is what happens in the UK post-700MHz clearance? A lot of eyes are turning to the US market with their 700MHz “re-pack” now underway, with a lot to do in short space of time. There seems to be recognition that in 2-3 years’ time there will substantial market shrinkage and OEMs are looking to apply their transferable RF systems knowledge to adjacent markets.

Multi-Platform Consumption

Anecdotally the focus is moving away from the traditional terrestrial transmission onto multi-platform consumption. Just look at today’s youth for a clue…The UK seems to be the last major developed market to place such a high dependence on a ubiquitous terrestrial broadcast network with such high penetration and use by viewers and listeners. There is some talk about “radio DSO” but nothing firm or clear yet of course.

Post 700 Clearance

Network operators and OEMs recognise Virtua’s specialist capability and reputation in the RF broadcast systems space. However, our task is to look beyond 2020 and have the right scale, flexibility and skills for a world post-700 clearance. We know a cliff is coming, we just need to make sure there is a safety net in place to limit the damage! Industry-wide forums such as IBC offer a good chance to share views and work with others facing the same challenges.


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