Benefit of Retrospect

    2014 was an annus mirabilis in a multitude of ways for the broadcast industry
    Shaun Ebelthite, Editor (shaun.ebelthite@itp.com)
    Shaun Ebelthite, Editor (shaun.ebelthite@itp.com)

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    Stephen Hawkins once remarked that while there were plenty of dead scientists he admired, he couldn’t think of any living ones. He concluded that this was because it is “only in retrospect that one can see who made the important contributions”.

    Fortunately for the broadcast industry we can look back at Pay-TV providers, OTT players and satellite operators who are thriving and point to the contributions they made to the local industry during 2014. This is precisely what we’ve done in our annual Year in Review feature.

    Of course, compiling a retrospective account of an industry as multifaceted and ever-changing as this one is always going to be a challenge and so on the eight pages dedicated to it, we may have only achieved a snapshot rather than a study that would do each of the major developments and innovations justice.

    However, what is clear is that 2014 was an annus mirabilis in a multitude of ways for the industry. Taking a detailed retrospective look at the year reveals a kaleidoscope of progress.

    Pay-TV continues to grow at a stronger than ever pace in the Middle East, with OSN and MBC, the two major broadcasters, investing heavily in new technologies and forms of content.

    Both have warmly embraced OTT platforms, proving that OTT content can be a complimentary service and not a threat, while major vendors, satellite providers and other sectors of the industry have taken it forward in strides rather than steps.

    One of the companies we profiled in our Year in Review feature proved to be so interesting that we followed up with them for a more in-depth discussion of their activities in Africa and the Middle East.

    That company is of course ISAT Africa. With their Middle East office based out of Internet City in Dubai, it is an unassuming satellite operation at first glance, but this is a company with a rich story to tell, especially as they’re actively planning to expand their presence in the Middle East next year.

    The pressure is on then for the industry to maintain this momentum into 2015, when many of the new technologies deployed this year will be consolidated and made increasingly more mainstream, such as the new HEVC compression standard, which we take a detailed look at in this issue.

    Digital Broadcast Middle East will be doing its part when we host the seminal Broadcast Forum, bringing together more than 140 of the greatest minds in the industry. Leading figures from YahLive and DubaiEye to Abu Dhabi Media and icflix have already confirmed their attendance.

    There is much to look forward to in 2015 then, but for now, we’ll simply wish you a Happy New Year.

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