Recap: International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2018

By Lisa Bergamo

This year’s International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) centered around many themes we’ve seen over the last couple years. Android TV and other TV OS providers made a big splash at the show with middleware providers, set top box manufacturers, and others demostrating new Android TV-powered set top boxes and software. We saw the continued movement of operations to the cloud, new distribution opportunities for content, and a strong focus on AI. Here’s a quick highlight of our observations:

●     Android TV, Roku and OS’: Operators have shown a willingness to look at alternative set top boxes with software from Android TV, Roku and many others. The big question coming out of the show is whether or not these boxes will catch on in the marketplace with Pay TV subscriber numbers continuing to decline. Is this too little too late for the operators? Or, is the combination of new, fast boxes with OTT services baked in enough to slow down Pay TV’s decline? For TV manufacturers, Android TV, Roku and smaller more specialized software companies are competing for scale. Roku continues to roll out Smart TV’s with a built-in Roku OS and Roku boxes that power operator services across Europe. Both these offerings and those from smaller software companies mean better UIs for users and more opportunities for video producers to get their content in front of people on the biggest screen in the house.

●     Cloud: The use of the latest cloud technologies is a core principle at Wurl where we believe the cloud will drive the future of video production, delivery, and consumption of all video types (linear and VOD). This was also an ongoing theme that picked up steam at this year’s IBC. Companies in every space from scheduling and playout, to storage and delivery demonstrated advanced technology that will pave the way as all television viewing continues to migrate to the internet over the next 5 – 10 years.

●     OTT: OTT and new destinations were a big topic at IBC. In the US, ad-supported OTT has taken off with companies like Wurl delivering channels and monetization to services like Samsung TV Plus, Roku, Xumo and many owned apps on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV and others. This shift to new distribution is just starting in Europe as new companies form to address it and existing players start to create new OTT-based services. For our video producers, the growth of Wurl’s connector network in the US and Europe is accelerating with new connectors to new services being deployed rapidly, offering new distribution opportunities to any on-net video producer.

●     AI: AI in all facets was a key component of the show. Advancements in AI around encoding and playout are resulting in greatly reduced CDN and storage costs and much improved experiences for users. Wurl’s entire stack is built on the cloud and leverages the latest technology to deliver the best experience possible to all of your viewers from Ingestion and Playout to Ad Insertion and Delivery.

Wurl is focused on helping our Video Producer and Video Services customers stay ahead of the curve for all new opportunities afforded by cloud technologies, AI and OTT. Watch this space for exciting new announcements!