IBC 2012: One of the overriding themes of this year’s trade show will be how broadcasters are adapting to the growth in second-screen activity.

Last year, a record 55,000 visitors passed through IBC’s doors and everything augers well for a further increase in numbers this year.

There’s an additional fourteenth hall to help accommodate 1,330 exhibitors, no major absentees and around 100 vendors making their show debut.

“Despite the financial pressures of the eurozone, exhibitors are showing a lot of confidence in IBC,” suggests the trade show’s chief executive Mike Crimp.

More confidence than in the overall market, which, according to Peter White, director general of the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM), “has definitely cooled”.

The tech trade body’s latest market findings report sales growth dropping year on year. Its ‘confidence ratio’, which asks respondents whether they think the market will show an increase or decline from the current position, rose to a high of 14 in May 2011 but plummeted to just 3.5 in May this year.

One of the overriding themes of IBC will be how broadcasters of all stripes are adapting to multi-screen, an area where consumers have a decisive role.

IBC has been at pains to address this in recent years, opening a Connected World section dedicated to mobile and IPTV tech in 2010, and last year wooing chief execs with a behind-closed-doors summit aimed at strategising investment in connected content and devices.

This year, it is giving a platform to rapper Will.i.am, also Intel’s director of creative innovation, to talk about the role of technology in the creative process.

Meanwhile, Samsung promises to shed some light on how far it is prepared to go to muscle in on broadcast content delivery. Already the world’s largest producer of LCD screens and smartphones, the South Korean powerhouse is represented at IBC by David Eun, executive vice-president, global media.

Also speaking at IBC is Samsung content services director Dan Saunders, who says: “It is in the interests of TV manufacturers to ensure business models with content providers are sustain able.”

Meeting the brands

A further sign of the convergence between traditional broadcast and the new control viewers are exerting is the presence of a number of brand advertisers.

“We’ve built relationships with upwards of 40 million people a day through social media to become a media owner in our own right,” says Unilever global communications director Geoff Seeley, who is at IBC to build relationships with content producers and distributors.

IBM will be sharing the stage with Miles Young, chief executive of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, to talk about what brands want from producers in order to tell stories across different platforms, while Andreas Gall, chief technology officer of Red Bull Media House, the production wing of the drinks brand, is also present to talk up the importance of metadata.

“In the past, brands were part of the advertising; in future, they will be part of the content business,” says Gall.  

Red Bull is trialling the capture of biometric, GPS and telemetric data from HD minicams strapped to athletes competing in extreme sports like X-Fighters.

“Producers should be taking as much care over metadata as they do with their audio-visual business,” says Gall.

“Metadata embedded with content is becoming exceptionally important to all media, from apps and games to TV.” On that note, the Digital Production Partnership is set to unveil its new metadata application after tests at ITV, C4 and the BBC.

It’s a downloadable set of around 70 fields into which producers enter editorial and technical data as part of new file-based programme delivery.

BBC head of sport Barbara Slater will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the London 2012 Olympics, but we’ll also get to look forward in a session on the next major global sporting event on the calendar: the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Director of Fifa’s TV division Niclas Ericson promises to reveal the technical and logistical challenges in producing Brazil 2014.

That event is likely to see significant use of second screens, which in sports broadcast is being pioneered by EVS.

Its C-Cast system, which enables viewers at home or in stadia to stream on-demand highlights or select from a variety of live camera feeds, is being evaluated by broadcasters around Europe.

“Anyone can get a signal from a camera and broadcast it, but it’s all about mixing the feed with highlights, data and statistics for OTT and second-screen activity, and making the experience personal,” says EVS chief executive Joop Janssen.

“Ultimately, that is where the money is.”

It’s a fair bet that Ultra HD TV, a resolution 16 times that of current HD, will also feature in some form in Brazil.

Already trialled over giant screens this summer by the BBC and Japan’s NHK, using NHK’s Super Hi-Vision format, momentum is building behind its introduction as a broadcast standard.

IBC will be awash with new production and display systems pushing the boundaries of higher-resolution imagery.

NHK itself is set to receive the IBC’s flagship award for excellence in innovating not only SHV but also HD, which it initiated in 1964. It will preview a lightweight camcorder sporting an 8K chip, with which it hopes to begin regular SHV production trials by 2014.

This is an excerpt from the IBC preview feature in the September/October issue of Broadcast TECH, which is published on 7 September.