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NAB Preview: Industry In Turmoil Searches For Bright Spots

by David Mercer | Apr 18, 2009

We have arrived at the NAB Show, the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, in the middle of the worst downturn this industry has ever seen. Most technology sectors are suffering from the global crisis, of course, and the media production sector is no different. Since the last major international get-together at IBC in Amsterdam last September http://www.strategyanalytics.com/blogs/326/ the environment has changed dramatically. My colleague, Doug Sheer at D. I. S. Consulting, tracks the key segments on a regular basis and noticed a sharp decline in sentiment almost immediately following IBC. That was, as many will remember, the time when Lehmann Brothers collapsed. The effect seemed to be instantaneous: broadcasters around the world took fright and postponed any and every expenditure they possible could in order to prepare themselves for the storm ahead. That situation of stalled spending continues more than six months later. Anecdotal evidence suggests that broadcasters have torn up previously prepared budgets and some are telling managers they have to make do with one year’s spending for the next three. Most notably, the industry association, the IABM has refused to give any industry forecasts since last September. It was particularly unfortunate in having completed a survey just prior to IBC, when the severity of the downturn had yet to hit home. The results from that project are, according to IABM’s director Roger Stanwell “not worth the paper they were written on”. And believe me, they were written on a lot of paper. The industry clearly needs independent guidance at a time of crisis, and that’s one of the reasons why Strategy Analytics has partnered with D. I. S. Consulting, the global leaders in research in the media production sector. We will be publishing latest estimates of the scale of the downturn shortly, but it is certainly severe, so there will clearly be many painful budget decisions to be made by the major vendors, and some players are sure to find it tough to survive. At the same time, we note that certain segments are performing relatively well at the moment. In particular, demand for professional camcorders, video encoders and media storage continues to increase. This is at least in part a reflection of the industry’s continued transition towards an all-digital workflow and infrastructure. It it sectors like servers which are really suffering from budget cuts. So we look to NAB, as with every major event, for signs that renewed growth can be driven by innovation. 3D will of course be a major theme, as well as further progress towards next generation video standards such as 1080p. I’ll be reporting regularly over the next few days. Twitter: twitter.com/DavidMercer_SA Client Reading: Cisco's Consumer Strategy: Will the Network Transform the Digital Home? Add to Technorati Favorites
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