IABM – Fostering Global Collaboration in the Broadcast & Media Technology Domain

Peter White, CEO, IABM

Peter White, CEO of IABM has taken IABM, the international trade association for the broadcast and media technology suppliers to new heights globally. IABM membership has increased phenomenally under Peter and he has made IABM a dynamic trade association body that champions the interests of the broadcast and media technology industry worldwide.
Peter White has enjoyed a long career as CFO & CEO of many organisations in various sectors. In an exclusive interview with Broadcast & Film, Peter shares an insight on the role of IABM and its future goals.

Q. Tell our readers more about IABM. The vision, role and core philosophy driving IABM.

IABM is the international trade association for Broadcast and Media technology suppliers. We have an international membership of 550+ companies, representing the majority of revenues in the sector. Our mission is to provide knowledge, support and leadership for our members. To deliver this, we offer a comprehensive range of services and support, including an array of business intelligence reports, Knowledge Hub, Shop Window, IABM TV, Technology and Trends Roadmap©, technology Services, training and educational services, member lounges at major shows, Future Trends Theatres and Regional Members’ Councils. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IABM took a leadership position in supporting all its members with a wide range of virtual events and webinars, as well as producing special reports and guidance on sustaining business now and into the ‘new normal’ future.

Another key objective of IABM is to foster collaboration between all sides of the industry – we are better together, especially in challenging, transformational time like these. To this end, we actively engage with all broadcast and media company staff, and also have a special category of Global Engaged Partners drawn from senior executives in these organisations. This is proving to be a very successful initiative for both technology vendors and buyers, providing a non-commercial forum for the exchange of ideas to power the future of our industry.

Q. What has been the impact of Covid 19 pandemic on the broadcast industry i.e. Pay TV, OTT, Linear TV? How soon will the markets be able to recover from this situation?

IABM has just released a Special Report Charting the Uncharted - which analyses the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry. I would highly recommend readers to have a careful look at it. In outline, its findings and conclusions are:

The coronavirus pandemic has compressed fundamental changes that were already slowly underway in the industry into just months or even weeks. Charting the Uncharted identifies this multi-dimensional change that is impacting Broadcast and Media fueled by the move to direct-to-consumer (DTC) business models across the industry. The propellants include the changing role of technology, the move to as-a-service, insourcing and a new generation of IT and environment-aware talent.

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have driven digital subscriptions massively upwards, while traditional Pay-TV and advertising-based business models have been hit hard – especially so in relation to cancelled live sports programming. Stay-at-home mandates have also caused a fundamental shift in working patterns – and massively accelerated the industry’s previously pedestrian progress towards dematerialized operations in the cloud, underpinned by as-a-service technologies and business models.

To survive the storm, traditional broadcasters have moved rapidly to supplement their output with DTC offerings, and to search for the necessary scale to compete with the digital giants through acquisition or consolidation as well as increased investment in content. The move to DTC with its thinner margins also requires increased efficiency and agility, producing a greater focus on business models. Technology has become merely an enabler for those business models, and broadcasters are increasingly turning to insourcing for better control and responsiveness. The new skills required are often being recruited from outside the industry, with traditional broadcast engineering skills becoming less and less in demand.

Q. What is your assessment of the growth of the OTT & Pay TV markets in India?

IABM produces annual reports on the state of the industry in all major markets. In our June 2020 APAC region report, we reported that the Pay-TV market in India remains vibrant, with India and China together accounting for nearly half of the world’s Pay-TV subscribers by 2024, with sports being a key driver. Regulatory changes in India – capping Pay-TV channel prices, may have an effect too. Internet players such as Hotstar in India are dominating investments in premium sports content monetized through AVOD and SVOD models. The growth of mobile internet users in India is also driving the rush to customized, mobile-only subscription streaming services. Netflix now invests more in local productions in India than any other market outside the US, and Amazon is also ramping up its investment – both with cost-effective pricing plans. This is just a snapshot – the full report (available to IABM members) has much more detailed information.

Q. There are various market-wide issues impacting the markets and those include Privacy, regulatory challenges and the impact of 5G on the digital divide. How does IABM as a global association address the challenges and opportunities in different countries as each country poses a different set of problems with its unique culture and market situation?

Due to its international mandate, IABM itself doesn’t get directly involved in individual countries’ regulatory concerns, though we do report on these to IABM members via our technology, standards and environmental representation and reporting by our own experts. However, our Regional Members’ Councils are ideally placed to monitor and comment upon local and regional issues.

Q What are the new set of initiatives that IABM is planning in the Covid times?

IABM recognized early in the pandemic that radical action was needed to support members through challenging times, and we moved quickly to create a Virtual Platform, which has been hugely successful in helping our members communicate as well as putting them in front of technology buyers. With no physical shows likely to happen any time soon, we also moved to create a virtual substitute in the form of the BaM Slider™, an intuitive Virtual Technology Tour that enables buyers and users of broadcast and media technology to quickly scan all IABM member companies’ latest innovations and simply ‘slide right’ to save the ones they want to follow up on. IABM has curated the highly successful Future Trends Theatre at IBC for the last few years, and we have taken this online in the form of the Future Trends Channel, which is currently running a packed program of live and recorded content online, so that everyone in the industry has the opportunity to explore up-and-coming technology and business trends and how they will segue from today’s environment.

IABM will continue to innovate to support its members and the wider industry as the pandemic and its effects change the way our industry works. Things will never be the same again; IABM has transformed itself and we’re looking forward to, and ready for, a bright future for our industry.