Team Grabyo enjoyed a busy NAB 2019. Despite the scale of the Las Vegas Convention Center, we were able to catch up with many partners and friends, dive deep into technology innovation across the industry and show-off Grabyo Editor, our brand-new video editing platform.
The evident takeaway from NAB 2019 is that the broadcast industry is evolving rapidly, and digital transformation is at the heart of this shift. The expectations of consumers are more complex than ever and require broadcasters to adapt fast.
5G was a big topic this year. The mobile industry has moved from talking about 5G to deploying network infrastructure and launching devices.
The roll-out of 5G will have a huge impact on online video streaming. Streaming video on mobile devices is already one of the most popular forms of consumption, both at home and on-the-go. The obstacles consumers still face, such as reliable network coverage of both WiFi and mobile, fluctuating speeds and inconsistent quality, will soon disappear as 5G rolls out more broadly.
5G will also open up huge opportunities for production teams. Enabling greater flexibility and creativity for remote production workflows. EE’s work on the Wembley Cup is a great example of this.
Broadcasters must plan ahead to take advantage of higher network speeds. Rights holders and content creators have launched live digital formats for mobile and social, these will expand in number and scope as the cost of production comes down.
Picture quality remains a hot topic at NAB. High definition upgrades are on the horizon following the release of a number of 8K TVs at CES in January. The question for us isn’t when or how these devices will be available, but are they needed and who will buy them?
Aside from the lack of 8K video being produced, audiences aren’t really asking for it. As more viewing shifts to mobile and tablet devices, viewing definition improves with 4K streaming and HDR – do we need more and more pixels over the airwaves? 2019 may be a pivotal point in this transition.
Camera technology in smartphones has generally moved from ‘bigger lenses and more glass’ to better software and image enhancement using AI and computer vision. Video is likely to move in the same direction, with mobile and tablet viewing being a catalyst for change.
Consumers are actively seeking innovative, immersive experiences. Engaging, high-quality content that keeps them coming back. This does not mean 8K resolution, it means a content experience that works seamlessly across every screen, and adapts to the context and needs of each audience member on every device. Broadcasters shouldn’t place development efforts on marginal gains in definition, but how to tailor content for digital, social and linear channels.
Shared experiences matter. Social viewing has always been popular on linear TV: live sports, reality TV shows, news etc – now these experiences are being replicated in a digital form, with more direct interaction possible as streaming/OTT viewers are connected via the internet.
Broadcast TV is struggling to penetrate the market with younger, more digitally-native audiences. Many do not see TV as a major channel for the content they care about.
Media rights holders are already finding success offering premium content for free on social media, to drive consumers to paid services such as OTT services or pay-per-view TV broadcasts.
Removing obstacles to access for consumers by offering more flexible, lower cost business models may help to stem this decline in viewing. Younger audiences are not watching less video, they are just watching a lot less of it using linear TV.
The content must be optimised for digital viewing across devices, in high fidelity, and easily accessed. There are challenges in achieving all three, which many at NAB were looking to address – signalling, encoding, distribution, interaction and navigation. The next generation of TV is already here, we just need to look around us to find it.