The pandemic has certainly left an impact on the broadcasting industry. When the overwhelming news first hit, organisations were forced into survival mode. It was a step-change for many businesses, which were accustomed to busy offices and control rooms full of people. But many have proven that you can still deliver high quality content experiences with a significant proportion of the workforce at home.
The media industry is no stranger to change. Not long ago its output was predominantly linear content, but now there are a host of content services which can be viewed on demand across multiple devices. Content providers have adapted quickly to the fast pace of technical development in recent years, and the challenges of Covid will once again push forward the adoption of new technologies.
While innovation has allowed the viewing experience to improve dramatically, until recently there has been less of a focus on the other advancements along the broadcast chain. The necessity of remote solutions has changed the media landscape significantly and Covid restrictions have accelerated the roll-out of cloud-based solutions. IP technology may have been available for some time, but many in the industry have remained cautious and stuck with a legacy approach, until now.
Covid has pushed organisations into uncomfortable territory at times but it has demonstrated the reliability and flexibility of IP solutions. Allowing everything from the delivery of last-minute sports matches, to news broadcasts from presenter’s homes. However, the possibilities for IP extend beyond final delivery, it also has the potential to revolutionise content workflows and contribution.
A shift to more flexible software-based workflows, will mean that providers can add functionality or services in minutes and remove them when they are no longer needed. By improving the process prior to delivery, broadcasters will set themselves up for more efficient workflows.
Next Steps in Broadcasting
Technologies that were seen as ‘optional’ efficiency-improving strategies are now being viewed as necessities. We’ve seen a huge uptake in IP contribution and distribution technologies due to IP being low cost and flexible, as well as an increase in cloud-based infrastructures and workflows.
We will continue to see opportunities delivered from 5G connectivity, as it allows remote production over mobile networks without sacrificing quality. This is going to increase what broadcasters can deliver – adding more feeds and camera angles whilst improving interactivity at events. And let’s not forget, 5G will reduce the cost of remote productions, therefore we can anticipate broadcasters delivering more live sports as well as more content from each event. The initial focus will be on content distribution as opposed to high-resolution formats or immersive viewing experiences, with features such as 4K and AR taking a back seat for a while.
Lessons learnt from Covid will undoubtably mean that organisations ask how processes can be streamlined and workflows made more responsive for the content boom which is on the horizon. The first few months of the pandemic were nervy, but the industry seems to be recovering thanks to a growing confidence in new technology capabilities.