2018 Avid Customer Association Vote Predicts Industry Trends

The first results of the Avid Customer Association voters survey are revealed during the Avid Connect weekend that precedes the NAB Show each April.

“For the first couple of years, this feedback came from the Avid Leaders group, basically heads of various advisory committees,” Keli Callaghan, Avid’s senior director of field marketing and customer engagement told me during our one-on-one interview. “But as the ACA has evolved the company wanted more direct input from its members so over the past two years we have been polling all 30,000 of them to get their priorities and suggestions for our future product roadmap.”

Keli Callaghan, senior director of Avid’s field marketing who is also program manager of the Avid Customer Association.

Keli Callaghan, senior director of Avid’s field marketing who is also program manager of the Avid Customer Association.

It’s no surprise that members of our industry are chock full of opinions, and this year 4,800 ACA members representing over 3,500 organizations participated in the 2018 vote. Callaghan told me that over the last 12 months there have been at least 80 suggestions resulting from past ACA votes that Avid has actually moved on, including requests for “a more story centric workflow” in the news production systems (planned for release in 2018); “remote editorial workflow in MediaCentral” (available now); “HDR support for broadcast graphics” (in queue for 2019); and for “Media Composer, background save--the ability to work uninterrupted while the app is constantly saving” (planned for release in 2018).

“The Avid community is so representative of our production community in general that this voter survey gives us a snapshot of what our colleagues are thinking about,” Callaghan said. “But what is really new are the forward-thinking opinions on coming technical trends that they anticipate will affect our future.”

To glean this out of the voting survey, the ACA leadership and Avid appointed Devoncroft Partners, a leading media technology research provider to analyze these opinions on emerging trends and technology directions.

Josh Stinehour of Devoncroft Partners addressing the ACA.

Josh Stinehour of Devoncroft Partners addressing the ACA.

The 2018 ACA Vote revealed that across all sectors, including broadcast, video and audio, the top three technology trends facing media companies are multiplatform content delivery, remote production and 4K/UHD.

Selecting out broadcast and video professionals exclusively (not audio professionals) they consider 4K/UHD, file-based/tapeless workflows and high dynamic range (HDR) to be significant trends.

According to the Devoncroft findings:

  • 56.9% indicate that multiplatform content delivery is the most important trend because it allows content to be available on all distributed platforms, with 17% believing it provides the potential for new revenue streams.
  • 9.8% of respondents believe multiplatform content delivery helps retain consumers’ attention, while 9.2% believe it helps them achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Remote production is the second most important trend:

  • 22.6% of voters indicate that remote production saves costs compared to on-premise event production.
  • 17.4% believe remote production better utilizes technology infrastructures at existing facilities.
  • 13.9% say remote production improves the quality of event production capabilities.

4K/UHD is another trend that continues to be top of mind for media companies:

  • The majority of media professionals (47.9%) believe that viewer demand for 4K will make it a necessity to remain competitive.
  • Nearly 20% of respondents believe 4K/UHD adds image quality in the production process, while 19.7% perceive it helpful to future proof content.

The ACA Vote results also showed meaningful UHD penetration across several categories, including encoding/transcoding, graphics and branding, production servers and video editing.

But real world considerations also have to be taken into account.

According to report findings, the most significant obstacles to achieving goals within these trend areas were cost and interoperability.

When looking at end users’ budgets and their plans to allocate resources over the next 12-18 months:

  • 50% say they will upgrade audio capabilities.
  • 25% say they will invest in cloud services and technology.
  • 25% say they will upgrade their infrastructure for 4K/UHD operations.

As Avid CEO and President Jeff Rosica said, “Over the past 12 months, we’ve delivered two major waves of product innovations based on last year’s ACA vote, and we’ll begin to deliver on these latest voter priorities with the next big wave we’ll be announcing at IBC 2018.” 

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