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Key trends that will shape the broadcasting industry in 2020

Somu Patil, Grass Valley’s vice president of sales, Asia

What will be the big developments in IP in 2020? Is there now enough momentum in the market to make it the de facto infrastructure of choice for the media and entertainment business? 

The industry is reaching a tipping point with IP and we’re already seeing enormous momentum and acceptance across every region. An IP-centric approach drives the improved flexibility and extensibility that are essential for evolving service models and underpin successful media businesses. 

While IP does require significant investment in the near-term, the long-term payoff that comes from improved flexibility and workflow efficiency make it worthwhile for a growing number of our customers.

The momentum behind IP will continue to drive the software-centric future of our business, with workflows hosted in the cloud – or virtualised on commodity hardware – and applications being orchestrated using software. We also expect to see developments in internal IP processing, or what’s known as “full raster processing”, rather than simple IP I/O. As a frontrunner in driving the industry transition to IP, these areas are a priority for Grass Valley.

How will remote production continue to evolve in 2020? What big shifts can we expect to see? 

While productions are becoming bigger and more elaborate, budgets are tightening or remaining static. Sports fans also want to access content on a variety of platforms from linear and online to social media. Increasingly, social platforms are the go-to content source for many consumers, with one in five sports fans now looking for content on social media (GlobalWebIndex). 

As broadcasters, OB and production companies meet the huge consumer appetite for live sports content, the main theme underpinning live sports production in 2020 will be “How can we efficiently produce more great content?”

Remote production, in its many forms, is the answer. 

During 2020 remote production will continue to evolve and we will see a growing number of solutions being developed that enable greater distribution of resources. Today, it’s commonplace for a small production crew to be at a venue while an additional team is at a fixed location, receiving signals and producing the live program. 

Over time, and we believe sooner rather than later, we’ll begin to see what Grass Valley is calling Distributed Remote Production, in which a greater number of locations can be utilised thanks to high bandwidth connectivity. Imagine a scenario in which a technical director can work multiple events in a single day that are taking place in different countries, or where on-air talent can cover multiple games without having to travel.

This is the evolution we expect and it’s not too far down the road.

Distributed Remote Production will also ramp up sustainability and deliver improved well-being to production staff by cutting out travel and long periods away from home. With production crews able to work from any location, broadcasters and content producers will be able to attract the very best talent in the business. Added to this, the scaled-down equipment and personnel requirements at the venue mean the average English Premier League soccer game or week-long ski championship can operate with a much smaller carbon footprint. 

What other trends can we expect to see emerging in the year ahead?

Sports fans want to feel that they are getting an equally good – or better – experience on their home screen as they would in the venue. This means giving them stunning images that bring them as close to the live actions as possible. Sports production has always led the way with adopting the latest resolution or formats; in 2020, the Tokyo Olympics will push the envelope further with 8K set to be widely used during the event. 

However, we believe the big area of growth will be 4K UHD adoption. Although 4K UHD is the de facto content capture format for many high-end productions already, it’s still not universal. At Grass Valley we believe that this is where we will see the continued growth in the medium-term. Realistically, we’re still a long way from consumers easily watching 4K UHD content in their homes on a widespread basis.  

High Dynamic Range (HDR), which delivers the perceivable wow factor that consumers want – even in HD – will also be more prominent in the year ahead, particularly in premier live sports production.

Greater collaboration and partnerships is another area that will dominate in 2020. As a company, we have made a strong commitment to collaboration as a strategic priority in the form of the Grass Valley Technology Alliance (GVTA), which gives broadcasters and media companies access to a wider range of proven, best-of-breed solutions.

This approach provides unique advantages to our partners and us – but more importantly, to our customers. By partnering with other vendors to create certified interoperable solutions that complement our already broad solutions offering, we make it easier for customers to work with us. It simplifies the purchasing and deployment processes, and makes accessible an even wider range of solutions.

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