AMSTERDAM — For more than 55 years, the global media, entertainment and technology industries have come together under the umbrella of the annual International Broadcasting Convention. During that time, they have witnessed pivotal moments in broadcast history, including the first global satellite link-up, live coverage of the first moon landings, the introduction of various digital broadcast hardware and the emergence of the myriad “disruptive” platforms and technologies.
Today, broadcasting is dramatically different from what it was half a century ago, and the scale and speed of change seem to increase exponentially with time. That’s what makes broadcasting a sector for the lion-hearted or innovation-driven; or the foolish.
This year’s IBC will be special. It’s been two years since the industries have managed to meet at the IBC in Amsterdam, and a lot has happened during that time. The pandemic has added impetus to pending change and scrambled the strategic plans of small and big players alike.
The resilience of radio
Radio, specifically, has been tested and has shown its resilience. As people remained stuck in their homes, they turned to their radios and other audio devices for information about the pandemic and a friendly voice telling them everything was going to be alright. Radio is also revisiting its roots by using disregarded technology to reach across disputed borders during war.
Voices have become more critical for audio consumers. While streaming platforms tweak their offerings and algorithms, radio stations are realizing that their competitive edge — for now — sits with the seemingly forgotten expertise to craft an offering anchored around the human connection.
They have challengers: Anyone with a smartphone and internet connection can tell their story in a podcast, and if there’s a lesson learned from the rapid growth of social media, it’s that legacy media organizations no longer hold sway over consumer whim. Content may be king, but in the world of audio media, radio stations are no longer sole kingmakers.
Synthetic voices, virtual scheduling
Technology is at the center of all this change. It connects, it empowers, it disrupts. And it will, again, be at the heart of this year’s IBC. But so will the energy of the experiences of the last two years and the expectation of innovation. Some of the main talking points will be around technology undreamed of when IBC took its first steps in 1967: cloud computing, remote studio management tools, AI, digital storage and matrix workflows.
There will be concerns too. The interface of media, entertainment and technology feeds numerous industries undergoing dramatic change. Some will not survive the scramble for relevance.
Some of the main talking points will be around technology undreamt of when IBC took its first steps in 1967.
Already, AI-bred synthetic voices slip into audio advertising that is created, scheduled and broadcast without the play of a human hand. Platforms are springing up where agencies once held sway, and smartphones are not only providing audio content in place of radio and recording studios, but controlling them virtually, from afar.
Transmitters are shrinking, and towers are becoming irrelevant… In fact, just about every broadcast technology that once sat in a box can now hover in the cloud.
IBC2022 comes at a pivotal moment in broadcast history, on the back of an accelerated burst of technological innovation; the organizers are referring to “a new technological era.” They are not wrong.
This is why IBC2022 will also be so essential and why RedTech is looking forward to being part of it.