2015: A mixed bag

    Looking back over the past year, it’s fascinating to see just how much has happened.
    Roger Field is editor of Digital Broadcast magazine.
    Roger Field is editor of Digital Broadcast magazine.

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    Well, that’s it. Another year has come and gone in the busy, always on, broadcast industry. Looking back over the past year, it’s fascinating to see just how much has happened. The year started with so much promise, with the then-imminent launch of AlarabTV, but despite a multi-million dollar investment, the channel barely made it past its first day. It was, by anybody’s estimation, a debacle. It was also a sobering reminder that making a big investment does not always guarantee continuity in the region.

    Following this, 2015 was a year of mixed fortunes for the industry. Like almost every other sector under the sun, the broadcast industry was rattled by the sudden decline in oil prices earlier in the year, which triggered immediate warning lights in terms of investment. This was probably most evident at the Digital Studio & Broadcast Camera Steering Committee in August. At the event, which was held in a roundtable format, respected professionals – mainly camera manufacturers and distributors – spoke candidly about their expectations for the rest of the year. Almost all saw difficult times ahead, with sales expected to decline in 2016.

    But elsewhere, other companies involved in the industry still appeared to see some room for optimis. This was most evident from the number of companies that decided to invest in the Middle East by setting up a base in the region or by expanding their existing presence.

    In the past year, each of the following companies has either opened an office in the Middle East or expanded its presence: Rosco, Riedel, SLS Production, Akamai, SNTV, Absen LED, Limelight. I’ve surely missed a few, but you get the point. The economic climate will always vary and there will be ups and downs, but in the Middle East region it is clear that the long term growth tangent is set.

    Perhaps companies worried about 2016 can at least use the less frenetic pace to take stock of their operations, do important customer research, make plans and innovate. That way, when serious growth returns, they will be better prepared to ride the wave.

    All the best from the team at Digital Broadcast Middle East, and have a prosperous 2016!

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