IBC: The Future of Media in an Age of Disruption

IBC 2015 is occurring at a time of great uncertainly and new opportunities facing the world of media. New technology is being driven by the viewer mantra that content must be available everywhere, at all times on any device.

From OTT delivery, mobile TV and cloud production to the economics of 4K, 8K, digital cinema and the rise of social television, IBC will try to make sense out of this maze of technologies for this year’s attendees.

Being held at the Amsterdam RAI between September 10 through the 15th, more than 55,000 attendees are expected from about 170 countries. About 1,700 of the world’s leading equipment and service vendors will be found across fourteen themed halls of exhibition space.

Michael Crimp, the IBC’s CEO, described what he sees as the high points of the 2015 show:

This year’s global theme is “The Future of Media in an Age of Disruption,” which I think succinctly sums up the mood of the industry. You can expect disruptive technologies to be reflected across the show floor, the IBC Conference and within the interlocking feature areas which are the signature of IBC.

Mike Crimp, IBC CEO

Mike Crimp, IBC CEO

Taking the technology off the show floor and into context of real world scenarios is the goal of IBC Content Everywhere Technology in Action Theatre. For example, visitors can learn all they need to know about IP in a special primer which kicks off the program in the theatre.

Down to earth demonstrations about cloud, social media, data and OTT are available in our free at the IBC Content Everywhere Europe Hub. The popular IBC Future Zone hosts some ground-breaking technologies in virtual reality, TV and Internet convergence and resolutions beyond 4K. Don’t be surprised to find Hall 5 populated by hackers and encoders as we invite them to use IBC as a playground to brainstorm new ideas.

As ever, the main reason people choose to spend time at IBC is because of the incredible environment which every single visitor helps to create for the exchange of knowledge, strategy and expertise. That is the aspect that excites me every single year.

The Broadcast Bridge: Can the RAI and Amsterdam cope with the changing and growing demands of IBC year by year?

IBC is the most comprehensive, informative and cosmopolitan event in the broadcasting and media calendar. So it is appropriate that it takes place in Amsterdam, one of the most cosmopolitan and welcoming cities in the world.

IBC works extremely closely with the City of Amsterdam to ensure that the whole IBC experience is a smooth, enjoyable and productive one. This includes arranging for all IBC visitors to benefit from free travel on the city’s buses, trams and metros, 24 hours a day and, in collaboration with the RAI, a comprehensive hotel and travel advice service. IBC is expanding and this year we are delighted to be the first event to take advantage of the stunning new Amtrium building at the RAI.

The Broadcast Bridge: What new developments will we see in terms of the visitor and delegate experience?

We piloted Touch & Connect at IBC2014 and the reaction from all parties was so positive that this year we are making it available to every single visitor and delegate to IBC free of charge.

Touch & Connect serves as an immersive online community allowing visitors and exhibitors to make appointments, exchange valuable information and engage with high level IBC content. Using App based technology and an IBC badge, it provides a simple, system for everyone onsite or offsite.

Touch & Connect is also a superb networking tool, putting visitors and exhibitors in direct contact with one another to discuss issues relevant to them. It makes information gathering for everyone involved extremely efficient, it connects delegates at related IBC events — such as IBC Content Everywhere MENA — with their peers and it is exactly the kind of service our visitors expect.

Along with all of that, Touch & Connect eliminates the need to print the usual amount of brochures and flyers when exhibitors can just send content directly to the people they meet digitally. We believe Touch & Connect is already an essential component of the IBC experience.

The Broadcast Bridge: Is it going to be all Ultra High Definition TV and IT evolution this year? Are there other themes we should look out for?

One of the most significant launches of the year was that of BT Sports' Ultra HD channel, the starting gun in Europe for the migration to Ultra HD. We are excited to be hosting a major keynote from BT TV Managing Director, Delia Bushell which will expand on the company's vision.

While Ultra HD is one significant theme, you will see it played out at IBC in tandem with the move to IP networking. In particular, there will be considerable debate as to whether it is wise to invest in Ultra HD technology for live broadcasting today, or to wait for when it is possible in the near future to route those signals over IP.

Related to Ultra HD, the IBC Big Screen sessions take a thorough examination of High Dynamic Range for cinema and TV, a technique which many believe offers a considerable enhancement to storytelling. You will also find threaded throughout the exhibition — in conference sessions and at the Hub — ideas which disrupt storytelling. These include Virtual Reality, emotion-detecting wearables and second screen apps.

I also want to highlight the game-changing implication of OTT delivery. In recent years, it has been a question of how broadcasters deal with the threat posed by OTT players like Netflix. At IBC 2015 we will hear from senior representatives at OSN, Sling TV, Sky Now, All3Media, Time Warner and Discovery that OTT is now mainstream offering many new business opportunities.

The Broadcast Bridge: The conference is always an important differentiator for IBC. What can we expect this year?

Indeed the IBC Conference is firmly established as the forum for leadership and debate on the future of our industry. Because of that we have managed to attract the most senior representatives from the companies making the most impact in electronic media and entertainment today.

I would encourage everyone to review the full conference program online, since it is hard for me to pick out just a few highlights. However, visitors can look forward to influential keynotes from Jean-Briac Perrette, president of Discovery Communications and Roger Lynch, CEO, Sling TV among many others. To enable more visitors to take advantage of the valuable insights from the conference, many of the sessions are free and many too are available live and on-demand from our IBC TV service.

The Broadcast Bridge: IBC is a good reflection on the health of industry. Are there any pointers so far from exhibitor plans or advanced registrations?

You could take almost any aspect of our industry, from any corner of the globe, and you would find genuine excitement about the future. There are more than 1,700 exhibitors taking up more floor space than ever before and we anticipate we'll receive than 55,000 visitors. The industry is experiencing such a rapid and fundamental period of change and is bringing so many opportunities and challenges with it that many people view IBC2015 as simply the best place to move forward.

The Broadcast Bridge: Do you anticipate any changes, or ongoing changes in the exhibitors and from visitor registrations?

As you know, our well-established Future Zone is a can’t-miss part of every IBC and 2015 is no exception. Here visitors can check out technologies such as 360-degree capture for cinematic VR experience, depth-enhanced 2D and 3D parallax imaging and much more.

Some of the brightest new ideas come not necessarily from the established players, but from exciting new brands. IBC is putting the spotlight on these innovations, with a new area called the IBC Launch Pad. I would encourage everyone plan a visit here and see new technology and brands never before seen at IBC.

The rise in interest in aerial filming from UAVs has been astonishing over the past twelve months, so we reflect this in a dedicated IBC Drone Zone, located outside and in the center of the RAI building, where visitors can see the latest machines being piloted.

We’re also introducing the IBC Hackfest for 2015 which will bring hackers from all over the world for 48 hours to help create hacked solutions and inventions. We want to empower young talent with bright ideas to take on new and exciting challenges and introduce them to the IBC world.

The Broadcast Bridge: What do you see as the most important role that IBC plays in the broadcast and media industry?

IBC is for the industry, by the industry and what that means is that we listen to all of our stakeholders, we understand the direction the industry is headed and seek to provide the best forum for networking, education and leadership anywhere. In addition, IBC is supported and guided by a group of international partner organizations who are among the most authoritative in their field. They can be found this year at new Partners’ Pavilion.

For more information, visit the IBC website

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