Man looking through binoculars.

The media and entertainment industry is in a state of transition.

No kidding? Even though we’re only a little more than two months into 2016, the above pronouncement could be an early contender for Understatement of the Year honors. The unvarnished and unqualified reality is that broadcasters and other media entities are up to their ears in technology transitions, each with wide-ranging implications for the overall health and competitive standing of their organizations.

The four most pressing, arguably, are the following:

  • SDI to IP
  • Hardware-centric to virtualized
  • HD to UHD
  • Linear to Omniplatform ad management

Each of these technology transitions will impact, to some degree, nearly all broadcasters and other media companies in 2016. Their successful adoption over the next several years will be critical to media companies that hope to keep pace with a rapidly evolving ecosystem.

A good way to inform your own strategy for navigating these impactful and simultaneous technology evolutions is to understand what your peers are doing...

A good way to inform your own strategy for navigating these impactful and simultaneous technology evolutions is to understand what your peers are doing, including knowledge of how far they are in their journeys toward more flexible, agile and higher-performing infrastructures; if they are tackling these transitions one at a time or simultaneously; and how quickly they are moving to adopt the next milestone in the evolution of their operations.

Providing answers to these critical questions is the chief objective of research recently conducted by Imagine Communications. The 2016 Focus Forward Technology Trends survey was created to provide media professionals with a timely and realistic assessment of the state of the media and entertainment industry technology landscape. The survey, based on the responses of more than 700 professionals from all regions and segments of the industry, delivers an up-to-date account of the status of ongoing technology transitions, as well as insight into how swiftly and in what direction broadcasters and other media companies will move to modernize their production, playout, distribution and advertising operations.

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

  • More than 40% of broadcast professionals say they have transitioned between 25-100% of their operations to IP
  • The use of standards-based, non-proprietary products is viewed as the most important requirement of an SDI-to-IP hybrid environment
  • The ability to introduce new sources of revenue is considered the top objective of an SDI-to-IP transition
  • Nearly 90% of media companies have initiated the process of moving hardware-dependent operations into virtualized environments
  • Almost 30% of media professionals say they have transitioned at least 25% of operations to virtualized environments
  • Nearly 50% of survey respondents estimate it will be more than two years before market demand is strong enough to justify significant investment in UHD
  • More than 60% of media professionals say they are not using HEVC in any capacity
  • Nearly 75% of media professionals rate an omniplatform ad management approach as being Important or Very Important to their competitive standing

This survey is designed in part as a gauge, a tool for level setting how far the media industry has progressed down these next-gen roads and to assess the attitudes and ambitions of media professionals as they contemplate the next phase in their journeys. Building onto primary research conducted last year, the 2016 Focus Forward Technology Trends survey provides a detailed examination of the technology adoption plans of media professionals, as well as firsthand insight into their perceptions of both the benefits and concerns associated with ongoing technology evolutions.

Few will find much revelation in pronouncements that the industry is in the throes of monumental change. An accurate assessment of how media and entertainment companies are working through this period of disruption, on the other hand, is both timely and useful information that everyone can use.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.