Broadcast equipment vendors are set for a strong 2014, with the prospect of the Winter Olympics, the World Cup and changes to the make-up of the outside broadcast (OB) facilities sector prompting expectations of bumper kit sales.
The annual International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM) survey of 90 broadcast manufacturing and media technology companies suggests the market is at its most buoyant for two years, with 60% of respondents indicating increased confidence for the year ahead, and only 6% holding the opposite view.
IABM director general Peter White (pictured, right) said he fully expects to see “decent results” from vendors in 2014, following a “particularly poor” previous 12 months.
White’s view was shared by Medialease managing director Paul Robson, who is confident that spending will increase in 2014.
He expects the Winter Olympics and World Cup to drive investment in production equipment, while post-production facilities will continue to spend in preparation for the deadline for the shift to file-based delivery.
Robson said: “It will be a challenge for smaller post houses and could push a few under, although most managed the shift to HD.
“There were some casualties, but that was a result of poor management, not the move itself.”
Fineline Media Finance sales and marketing director Gareth Wilding said changes to the OB sector, in particular the closure of SIS Live’s OB division, would continue to have an impact on the market.
“The demand for OB facilities is set to grow even further as Sky seeks to fill its sport schedules with Championship football and rugby matches,” he said.
“Also, ITV will be host broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, and will obviously be eager to make an impression.
“I doubt that the winners of all these new contracts will want to turn up to their first match with someone else’s cast-off gear, so I expect all things OB to be high on the shopping lists, both for the OB companies themselves and the rental companies that service them.”
Azule Finance managing director Peter Savage agreed that changes to the OB sector were a significant factor.
“Two years ago, when SIS was dominating, OB didn’t seem to be the place to be. But it’s hot at moment,” he said.
Savage added that he had seen more demand for camera channels in the past two months than ever before, driven in part by 2014’s upcoming sporting events and the desire to refresh equipment, with Sony’s 1500 camera channels being replaced by the manufacturer’s newer 2500 model.
Despite the optimism for the year ahead, the IABM found that respondents’ profits were down 24% on average in 2013, while aggregate sales rose by 4.5%.
“Although sales held up, it is an indicator that there is pressure on prices,” added White.
“With the shift to software and commoditisation, manufacturers can’t command the same prices.”