Nik Forman, Marketing Director, Friend MTS
It’s already been over a week since the last day of IBC2022. It must seem longer ago than that to anyone who was there, primarily because so much of the intervening time was spent deep in the travel chaos that most people had to endure on their homeward journeys. While I suspect that IBC 2022 will always have an association with these less pleasant memories, there are few who would not say that being back at the show was anything less than a great experience. For many, it’s been a while since we’ve been at an event like this, and the realisation (or re-realisation) of the value of face-to-face communications was widespread.
Of course, the show was smaller in size than pre-pandemic IBCs, but everyone I spoke to was pleasantly surprised that there were more people in the halls than many had expected. The amount of foot traffic in every hall I visited was a pleasant surprise. And with so many people still unsure about travelling for any purpose, this meant that the visitors who did attend were there with good reason, with specific agendas and itineraries, which in turn meant extremely focused conversations and meetings.
For Friend MTS, IBC 2022 was a busy show, and extremely productive. Content security, and watermarking in particular, seems to be one of the hot topics, and the increasing interest levels that we’ve been seeing over the last few months were reflected in Amsterdam. There’s an obvious drive from sports and live events, which has seen a flurry of pre-show announcements about new watermarking solutions designed specifically for this environment, and it will be interesting to see how many of these make it to actual deployment. Much of the Friend MTS pre-show messaging may have unknowingly presaged some of these, and after the event, our advice remains the same – if you’re considering a watermarking solution, remember that tradeshows are great showcases for products and services that look great under such nicely lit pavilions, but the real-world shines a harsher light; in essence, please do make sure you speak to those with the right experience of in-the-wild deployments for impartial and honest advice.
Away from live, we also had many conversations with people looking for content security for premium scripted and VOD content. It’s no great secret that platforms and service providers are continuing to invest in original content, and these premium assets will increasingly represent greater revenue as the contest for subscribers rises, dips and churns. Content has always equalled dollars, and end-to-end protection across all environments, from glass to glass and beyond, is becoming increasingly important as the amount of content/dollars increases.
Coupled with the myriad conversations around business intelligence, cloud fingerprinting, monitoring and enforcement, it felt like content security was very much a talking point for lots of the IBC attendees; it was great to see that so many people at the show had it at the front of their minds.
So, this IBC will probably be remembered for a long time as “It’s Bloody Chaos”, and I have real sympathy for those who suffered so badly as a result of the terrible delays to their returns home. While it is no comfort now, at least the CEO of Schiphol has recognised how utterly unacceptably shambolic this was. But the show itself was really quite surprising, valuable for so many things, the tangibles and the intangibles; I hope that in years to come it will be as much remembered for these as for the travel hardships.
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