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Broadcast tech firms upbeat on workflow solutions

by Roger Field on Jun 26, 2017

DS: How does the Middle East compare to the rest of the world in terms of workflow solutions?

Juste: As mentioned above, the Middle East has been relatively immune to the kind of budgetary pressures that have afflicted the rest of the broadcast industry until recently. It’s still a dynamic and vibrant market, but we now see content creators talking to us about things like production automation and robotics, whereas there was perhaps less interest in these products three-to-five years ago. In addition, I think customers in the region are now warming to the idea of single vendor procurement because they see the commercial, technical and creative benefits of this approach, and they want to talk about roadmaps and future product developments as the landscape matures. More generally, we’re seeing even smaller production companies and corporate organisations looking to create complex workflows and that confirms that there is great ambition and creativity in the region.

DS: What are the biggest workflow challenges for broadcasters at present?

Dix: Broadcasters are facing great pressure to diversify their operations and to deliver to new and exciting platforms. To facilitate this a MAM system has to be flexible to grow quickly and dynamically to adopt new technology and allow timely rollout to new social media and on demand platforms.  Where a single asset is repurposed many times for different target end-consumers the MAM must provide automated, reliable and repeatable processes to increase the capacity of any operation. The MAM must also provide a detailed analytical insight into the capabilities of existing workflows and operations so that broadcasters can proactively plan for the future.

DS: What growth potential do you see in the region?

Dix: The Middle East as a key market in SAM’s growth plans and one that we have invested heavily in. We have also made a concerted effort to deliver a range of products for small and mid-sized broadcasters, addressing the market as a whole. Quantel and Snell were active in the high-end market, primarily addressing the Tier 1 broadcasters; SAM is about giving broadcasters access to the best technology for their needs while managing costs. As a result, we have opened up access to the latest technologies that would have been out of many customers’ reach until recently. We see real potential in the Middle East for these products with new smaller broadcasters emerging across the region.

Juste: The MENA market is fast evolving toward full maturity and the potential therefore remains enormous. In terms of broadcast, I’d expect the next couple of years to see a very steady migration to HD and broadcasters to take increasing advantage of fragmentation with more platform-specific content. I’m also expecting further growth in the corporate market, as companies take advantage of the latest generation of all-in-one products that enable the production of high-quality content for stakeholders and employees. Sports, too, should be a developing vertical as more clubs, stadia and venues in the region seek to engage more fully with fans and visitors and provide a more interactive experience. It’s an interesting time for broadcast technology manufacturers in MENA; I can see that the younger challenger brands are pushing ahead and growing whereas the more established, traditional brands are struggling to retain market share and finding the climate tougher and less fruitful.

Farnam: As more broadcasters in the region have begun their work towards converting their workflow to IP file based, video-on-demand, Pay TV and streaming services, we can expect more growth in this area and end of an era for physical media and cable TV. In the near future, broadband speed will increase, network infrastructure will improve with more 4G LTE subscriptions and more multi device users; therefore, there will a bigger growth for multi-screen delivery and more demand towards HD and UHD in the Middle East. As we speak about the future growth, demands and new technologies, at the same time, we need to keep on investing in products and services which our customers rely on today. The Middle East still depends on a lot of traditional workflows and technologies. The challenge is to find the right balance between today’s and tomorrow’s trends and technologies, and understand consumer preferences across countries.

Juste: We’ve definitely seen a lot of interest in our robotics solutions because of the dynamic shots that you can get and the ease of use/control offered. Automated Production Control (APC) is also a growing area because the best APC systems allow you to automate the most complex of workflows and get really consistent and repeatable results. Again, these two product segments are all about production flexibility, reliability and ROI – increasingly important topics of concern for our customers. One area that I really expect to grow in the next few years is virtual studio/augmented reality. As content creators look for ways to be more creative, developments in graphics technology (e.g. the incorporation of gaming engines into the broadcast world) are making virtual studios look more realistic than ever before. At the same time, our virtual solutions offerings also allow our customers to maximise the use of their studio space and to run different shows at a minimal cost. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities and I’m sure customers in the Middle East can do really exciting things with the technology.


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