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The world's most influential media, entertainment & technology show

RAI Amsterdam  |  13 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2019

Registration open for IBC2019

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Register now for IBC2019

Register now for IBC2019

Access exclusive pre-release tickets at discounted rates!

Media-Telecom Catalysts in action

Media-Telecom Catalysts in action

Join us at Digital Transformation World in Nice, 14-16 May, to see the IBC & TM Forum Media-Telecom Catalyst showcase!


 

Conference.

400 inspirational speakers including game changing keynotes will speak in this year's Conference Programme.

Over the five days of the conference over 1,400 delegates and guests from across the globe will hear from our outstanding line-up of 400+ speakers, enjoy fantastic networking opportunities and be inspired to embrace the changes in our industry.

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Keynote Speakers and Global Gamechangers

Exhibition.

The IBC Exhibition covers fifteen halls across the RAI and hosts over 1,700 exhibitors spanning the media, entertainment and technology industry.

Combining a world-class exhibition with free-to-attend feature areas and events, the IBC Exhibition provides the perfect platform for you to network and build relationships with suppliers and customers, discover the latest trends and technologies and drive your innovations and strategy.

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WORLD LEADING EXHIBITORS

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  • Great experience, great content and great networking!
    Imad El Kadi
    Director of Operations, Paris Television Centre
  • One great place to have all those conversations, to see what's next and to show what's working.
    Yoav Schreiber
    Product Marketing Manager, Cisco Systems
  • An excellent opportunity to network with peers and hear the challenges in our industry!
    Gunnar Gudmundsson
    CTO, RUV Iceland
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    5 Days

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    1,700+ Delegates

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    400+ Speakers

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    100+ Sessions 

2018 Highlights


 

Free feature areas & events

IBC Awards

IBC Awards

Future Zone

Future Zone

Invitation only events

Leaders

Leaders' Forum

Cyber Security Forum

Cyber Security Forum

Telco & Media Innovation Forum

Telco & Media Innovation Forum

IBC365

  • A new report analysing subtitle data found environmental sustainability themes were significantly underrepresented across British TV.

    bafta credit chris dorney shutterstock

    BAFTA: “The TV industry’s call to address climate change is clear.”

    Source: Chris Dorney / Shutterstock

    A new report analysing subtitle data found environmental sustainability themes were significantly underrepresented across British TV.

    The collaborative research investigation has found broadcasters preferred to talk about the issues and the problems rather than the solutions, with references to climate change and global warming outweighing terms such as electric cars or solar power.

    British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) chair Pippa Harris said: “The TV industry’s call to address climate change is clear.

    “Reducing our impact is a given, but our real opportunity lies in the programmes we make, and in our ability to use powerful human stories to connect audiences with the world around them.

    “We need to understand the links between climate change and society, and act strategically to ensure we do everything in our power to avert the climate crisis.

    She continued: “Though it may seem that our future has been taken from us, history is still being created. It is time to write a different script and share it with the world.”

    Bafta, along with Albert, the broadcaster and indie backed project that aims to bring awareness of environmental impact on-screen to inspire sustainable living, has revealed how often climate change is mention on British TV.

    The report found ‘Cats’ and ‘Picnics’ both garner more mentions than the environment.

    The current coverage of the key environmental sustainability themes was analysed using a year’s worth of programming - excluding news schedules - from four leading broadcasters which represented 40 channels and 128,719 programmes between September 2017 and September 2018.

    The results were compiled using Deloitte data, which highlighted the disparity between ‘climate change’ which was mentioned a total of 3,125 times, compared with ‘dog’ mentioned 105, 245 times, ‘sex’ which was mentioned 56,307 times and ‘beer’ mentioned 21,648 times.

    Channel 4 chief of staff Lynette Huntley said the research will help identify what the broadcaster can do more to challenge perception and inspire change around sustainability.

    Data deep dive
    The results revealed the terms related to climate change mentioned most often are not the ones that have the biggest impact to reducing our carbon footprint.

    The report identified words associated with ‘energy’ were only mentioned 6% of the time even though energy represents the biggest part of the average person’s carbon footprint at 24%.

    While more commonly used phrases were ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ however food only accounts for 12% of a person’s footprint.

    The report drew comparisons on how often words such as ‘carbon emissions’, ‘recycle’ ‘hybrid car’ or ‘wind power’ were mentioned and then compare these to other words such as ‘cake’, cheese’, ‘Christmas’ or ‘zombies’.

    In total, 25 words related to the environment were tracked. Certain words such a ‘carbon offset’ or ‘hybrid car’ were only mentioned 11 times and 22 times respectively.

    The research was undertaken to coincide with the launch of Planet Placement, a new guide which is designed to challenge and inspire those working in the industry to weave sustainability messages into on screen content, no matter the genre, in order to help make positive environmental behaviours mainstream.

    Albert head of industry sustainability Aaron Matthew said: “To help shape society’s response to climate change we cannot rely solely on the current affairs and natural history programmes, we must think creatively and look for other ways to bring sustainability messages to our screens that are both optimistic and inspirational.

    “We are setting up free training sessions for anyone working in the industry, across all genres, so we can begin to explore what a creative response to climate change could look like. I look forward to revisiting this data in a year or two, to see how things have changed.”

    More information on the free training from Albert is available here.

  • Your guide to what’s happened this week in the media, entertainment and technology industry.

    Comcast complicates Disney and Hulu deal
    Comcast and Disney struck a deal, on the future of Hulu. Disney said it has taken “full operational control” of the streaming service, however Comcast said it will ultimately sell its 33% Hulu stake to Disney but not for a few years. According to Bloomberg, it is the most complex arrangement the companies could have possibly come up with after entering into a “put/call agreement” that won’t be exercised until at least January 2024.

    ITV drops Jeremy Kyle Show 
    ITV has dropped confrontational talk show The Jeremy Kyle Show from its linear schedule and removed all previous episodes from its on-demand service the ITV Hub following the death of one of its guests. The show, which regularly included on-screen lie detector tests and the revelation of DNA results, should be permanently cancelled, according to MPs. The Guardian reported the programme’s production team would be offered counselling with the ITV staff and show’s production team “shocked and saddened.” 

    DNEG ’ReDefines’ VFX for China and India
    The UK-based VFX firm DNEG has launched a new offering called ReDefine, which will focus on offering visual effects and animation services to expanding international markets such as China and India. Broadcast Now reported, ReDefine will operate alongside DNEG, and will be based in a new studio facility in Mumbai, which will be home to more than 600 staff.

    Vodafone to launch 5G services in July 
    Vodafone has confirmed it will turn on its 5G service in the UK on 3 July. The company will rely on equipment from the Chinese telecoms provider Huawei, among others, to deliver the service and said the benefits of the next-generation mobile network would include faster and more reliable data speeds for customers in busy areas.

    Apple launches revamped TV app
    The updated app for iPhone, iPad, Apple TVs and compatible smart TVs was rolled out this week after it was announced in March, offering users the ability to subscribe to individual channels with a redesigned interface and more advanced personalisation. According to Engadget, Apple claims there are now more than 100,000 films and TV series on iTunes, including a large collection of 4K HDR content that you can rent or buy. 

    Microsoft and Sony enter streaming games deal 
    Microsoft and Sony have formed a partnership on video games streaming, despite being fierce competitors. It is expected Sony will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service to host its upcoming PlayStation streaming service. The BBC reported, the firms said they would also work together on semiconductors and artificial intelligence applications.

    Netflix to buy British production company 
    According to chief content officer Ted Sarandos, Netflix is in talks to buy a British production company after growing its UK staff from 15 to 100 staff. According to TVB Europe, he sees the company existing alongside the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. This year Netflix is producing or co-producing 50 British programmes including Cambridge Analytica docudrama The Great Hack and football drama The English Game with Julian Fellowes.

    San Francisco bans facial recognition
    Legislators in San Francisco have banned the emerging technology and is the first US city to do so, reported the BBC, all new surveillance technology must now be approved by city administrators. Those in favour of the move said the technology as it exists today is unreliable and represented an unnecessary infringement on people’s privacy and liberty.

  • For designers, the priority should be giving an experience that meets users’ experience and needs ahead of ‘special attractions’, writes Ostmodern’s CEO and co-founder Tom Williams.

    netflix mobile content

    Source: Netflix

    The temptation to make a great first impression often has the power to undermine serious core objectives. This is because it deprioritises these objectives in favour of shiny, decorative features. After a product has been launched, that temptation persists in adding even more shiny new features.

    As users, we know that a certain familiarity between different products within the same category is important. As an extreme example, when buying a new smartphone, we don’t expect it to have a round shape (does anyone remember Microsoft Kin). We don’t look for a phone with buggy software or very weak battery life. We’ve come to expect certain things that make it possible to use this device in every basic task we need it for.

    As designers, the priority is to materialise the experience our audience expects, and ensure their primary needs are met before we can stun them with a ‘special attraction’. The user may, at first sight, feel more attracted to a specific attribute in our product than its overall utility. If that appeal is all there is to the product, it will never be successful.

    Innovation can be a deceptive agent if you haven’t been around long enough to know that it needs a support cast. A fundamental element to consider at the beginning of any project in product design is the audience–who we’re innovating for.

    At Ostmodern, we use a term that keeps us focused on the user: empathy. There’s a reason why the first step in the creation of a unique selling proposition (USP) is understanding the target audience. Before considering the problem, your product needs to solve, before addressing industry pain points, a great product is built on customer insight.

    One of the most common offences we find in the design of OTT products is the preference for more features instead of fewer, better ones. This has emerged from the proliferation of online video platforms; a consequence of multiple industry leaders constantly striving for innovation. Smaller newcomers and panicking incumbents gather every possible tool to fight this by cramming a product with features that end up suffering from grave problems. Those features are never interesting enough to sustain the audience’s attention.

    Tom Williams CEO

    Tom Williams

    It’s an understandable error to make when navigating an industry that sees itself to be living in the shadows of Netflix. The number of streaming services today is staggering, and the subscription market appears saturated.

    Audiences have expectations about content diversity but that won’t make a difference if it is difficult to find content in the app. The titans in this industry that others follow and whose features they try to duplicate didn’t start at the level at which they find themselves now, drawing millions of global viewers. Their library growth brought on technology improvements, not the other way around.

    Even after years of studying this business, learning from competitors and launching ingenious features, these companies still work hard to understand their audiences even better. They excel at acting on what their audiences care about, presenting the information they want to show in the most compelling way possible to their target audience. This can’t be done by every company wanting to launch an OTT product.

    Our dedication to delivering the most useful and captivating digital products is linked to our acknowledgement of core principles. They represent a set of values which guide us in the right direction, all the while considering the expectations of our audience, the business we’re working with and the complexities of building a product.

    This leads to an approach in product development we advocate: the 80/20 rule. Our stance is to focus 80% of our effort in simply making sure that the product works, as users expect it to, by getting the core principles and interactions right. In the case of video and broadcast products this usually means that people need to be able to find and consume the content efficiently. This leaves you with 20% to push the product to express its individuality, reflecting its USP. The features that set you apart from competitors, your biggest brand differentiator and what will truly resonate with your user base all boil down to these 20%. The key objective, nonetheless, is that it will just work.

    This is why we always meet and get into the mindset of an audience when we are defining product strategy. Understanding how they want to be spoken to – and what they really care about – will always save a lot of time and money.

    Standing out isn’t just about being innovative. It’s easier to have a lot of different ideas and packing a bunch of new features into a platform than breathing new life into an older set of features that users are accustomed to.

    True innovation in user experience comes from the harmony between design and technology. Your unique proposition should reflect your strengths and the ultimate goal of your product, and not be based on a template that could be used by any other service. The 80/20 approach will ensure your product stands out from the start, without breaking the bank or gambling on a crazy feature set. It’s all about keeping the user happy.

    Tom Williams is CEO and co-founder at Ostmodern.

  • What is the point in offering thousands of hours of content if you can’t find where it is?

    watching ott vod on phone user experience credit Kaspars Grinvalds shutterstock

    Content is King: billions of dollars spent on thousands of hours of programming

    Source: Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock

    The well-worn mantra that Content is King still holds true in an industry which is spending more and more each year on a content arms race. The problem is that when so many billions of dollars are being spent on so many thousands of hours of programming, actually finding out where that King is — or at least the particular King that you are interested in — is an ever-growing issue.

    This is why one of the most urgent tasks in the current OTT space lies in delivering a better user experience to the viewer. Viewers need to be able to locate that content quickly before dissatisfaction sets in and, in the new era of contract-less consumer flexibility, they head elsewhere. Churn rates for OTT services are phenomenal. OTT providers need to deliver what consumers want, when they want it, and on whatever they want to watch it on. And, as with everything else in the industry, the goal posts are moving rapidly; where once the primary function of the User Interface was to drive commerce, now it lies in delivering the personal experience

    Some things are constant though. Designing the User Interface that drives that UX is not an easy task, especially given the constraints of the TV set as a delivery platform. There is a limited amount of premium screen real estate to play with, users sit an average of 3.5 metres away from the screen, and the control devices used for navigation are imperfect to say the least, and usually limited to basic direction buttons and ‘select’. All this has shaped what has become the default user interface across the industry over recent years: content is presented in rows, everything is visually driven with text kept to a minimum, the need to go down levels is minimised wherever possible, and focus state is clear and obvious (a viewer should be able to look away from the screen, look back, and still know precisely where they are). A television-based UI needs to be uncluttered, accessible, and simple to use.

    What is key though in driving customer satisfaction nowadays is ensuring the ‘correct’ content is presented in those premium slots. Ideally as an OTT operator you want to give the viewer what they want to watch before they know exactly what it is themselves, surfacing the right choices from your content library so that they do not even have to scroll away from that initial home screen.

    An influential late 2017 PWC survey on viewer attitudes to content discovery concluded that 55% of consumers find themselves looking for something new to watch every week and 62% struggle to find something to watch. With churn rates in the febrile US market at around 18%, giving them what they want is an important task.

    “55% of consumers look for something new to watch every week but 62% struggle to find it.”

    This is not a trivial task either. While the rise of the skinny bundle has grabbed many industry headlines over recent years, it is the rise of the fat channel in the OTT space that has really led to success. The US Netflix catalogue (traditionally the largest), currently lists 4124 movies and 1848 TV shows, with some estimates calculating that involves over 40,000 hours of content. And given the company’s famed use of metadata — a landmark Atlantic piece from 2014 suggested it had “76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies” and you can’t imagine that has shrunk since — each of its 139 million subscribers can potentially see a different home screen when they log on.

    This personalisation is increasingly not only seen as a key differentiator between services but a de facto minimum standard too. From retail to banking and beyond, consumers are becoming increasingly used to services tailored at an individual level, and as discreet online services blend into an overall experience they are expecting the same level of service and personalisation everywhere.

    The 2019 UX is all about that personalisation. Each member of a household should be able to access OTT services via their individualised home screen which surfaces different content for them and, in some cases, even has an interface which operates in a different way. This personalisation in turn is being built on increasingly sophisticated recommendation engines that take advantage of the back channel to understand precisely who has been watching what and when.

    The degree of granular analysis of viewing can get remarkably precise (“To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?” Netflix once inadvisably tweeted) and provides a rich stew of information for content recommendation algorithms to crunch through. The ‘gimmes’ of content recommendation are still important; new episodes and new series based on previous viewings and/or transactional history are very much the low hanging fruit that still elicit impressive responses, as are genre or actor-specific suggestions. And these are being used in increasingly sophisticated ways, with different video clips and thumbnail images of the same content being shown to different viewing demographics (Netflix reckons that its artwork captures 82% of viewer focus when browsing).

    AI and ML
    These recommendations are only going to become more targeted too. Contextual recommendations, for example, can add in external datasets about real-time events such as the news or weather to narrow the focus even more (famous actor wins award, her movies get surfaced more frequently; Bit gloomy out? watch ‘The Fog’ tonight). Responsiveness is then tracked and this recommendation behaviour can be either emphasised or degraded in future cycles.

    AI and ML are only accelerating this process too. Not only can they provide increasingly large metadata clouds for content, but they can also churn through much larger datasets in an attempt to find correlations between viewing choices and seemingly unconnected data points. Privacy issues and the GDPR are providing hard borders to this activity, but only to a limited extent. Once you simply know the viewing habits of a household, for instance, you can use AI routines developed by several companies to retro-engineer remarkably accurate segmented data about its demographic composition for targeted advertising purposes with no breach of GDPR strictures along the way.

    Consumer resistance is an issue though. 60% of respondents in the PWC survey believe personal recommendations reflect shows that the OTT service is trying to promote rather than a choice tailored to their viewing habits. And Netflix faced accusations of racial targeting — strongly denied — last year when it was found to be emphasising minor black cast members in its thumbnail’s previews, claims it denied, saying that the images served were based on previous viewing history. It also added that the company had no race, gender or ethnicity data on subscribers.

    Trust will be an important part of the future OTT/consumer relationship, especially as the industry builds out further data-driven models of consumption. But while 2019 UX is all about how personalisation can drive the UI, the future will be about how voice can control it.

    We’re at the early days of voice still, and the impact it will have on the television UI is very much still in development. The buzzword is ‘Zero UI’, a deliberately provocative term that emphasises the move away from screens and towards Voice and even beyond to gesture control. Given the limitations of the TV remote as an input device, Voice alone holds out the promise of a much richer experience coupled with what looks like becoming a more stripped back visual design. And, as organisations become more confident in their recommendations, so they can narrow the amount they surface at any one time, allowing more room for bigger, more striking pictures.

    In the end, the irony may well be that we come full circle to the early days of colour television. Four decades ago, consumers looking to find something to watch during primetime had around three or four choices, depending on what country they lived in. The goal of modern UX design is similar; to present them with three or four choices out of the many thousands available. The difference nowadays is that these will be very much the ones they want to watch not just the ones they are given. Content might very much still be King, but it’s the electoral system that chooses the monarch which is the real power behind the throne nowadays.


 

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