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Diversity & Inclusion-what advice would you give to organizations when it comes to improving this?

In episode #76 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were so excited to be joined by Mark Johns, who is the Chief Executive Officer at Switch Media.

In this episode we spoke a lot about Diversity and Inclusion, and Mark was able to give us excellent insight from his tenure, as well as how organisations can boost D&I through better interview strategies and also being located in diverse cities. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

Diversity & Inclusion: what advice would you give to organizations when it comes to improving this?

How have you seen the issue surrounding diversity change over your career?

Over my career, it has absolutely changed, massively. I mean, we’re in a much better place now than we were when I started out in 1991! 

Everyone was a white, generally bearded male. Now, in the radio world – it’s just completely the opposite, there’s opportunities for everybody no matter who you are, or where you come from. It’s so fantastic in comparison from where it used to be. However, it took quite a long time to change. But, the rate of change the last 10 years has been a lot faster. 

And, being in a country like Australia, and a city like Sydney – diversity is everywhere. And, it’s actually one of the reasons that we decided to move back here. 

We did a for and against list! We were living in Cornwall, in the UK at the time which is obviously a beautiful part of the world, but absolutely no diversity at all. We thought to ourselves, we don’t want the children growing up, thinking that this is what the world looks like. So, Sydney is a little bit like London, but with more culture! The food is amazing. 

What ideas or advice would you have for the industry when it comes to improving that diverse talent?

I take one specific example, although it’s not actually my example. It’s one that I stole from being in somebody else’s office. But there was a lady who came for an interview, and she was from Iran – and hadn’t had any success at all.

She had incredible qualifications, a Microprocessor Engineer I think. And in their company, they had a policy of letting anyone interview (not just managers), and she was given no opportunity because of who she was. So, the interview process had to change to avoid bias and give individuals the best opportunity possible. 

How do we open that door for people?

There’s always the risk of confirmation bias, even from a skikllset point of view, or because someone resonates with you more. So, it’s all about opening up that interview process and giving others opportunities. It can only be a positive thing. We do it all the time – and it works for us. 

To listen to the full episode, click here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Evolution of the live production space 

In episode #74 of The Tech That Connects Us, we sat down with Serge Van Herck, CEO at EVS

He has been a very visible figure in the media and communications world for over 20 years working as head of satellite service, sitting on boards, as well as holding C-Suite positions throughout his career. In 2019, he became CEO of EBS during one of the most rapidly evolving periods of live video production. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

The live production space has been right at the centre of disruptions over the years with the pandemic, how have you seen the live production space evolve and adapt during that time? 

Well, it has dramatically evolved. And we already had some trends before on the evolution from SDI to IP, but more importantly, the evolution to remote production.  

Due to this pandemic, remote production has really accelerated a lot. I think we were lucky to launch in 2020 – I would say this was by coincidence. Being able  to have newer technology enabled us this evolution, which has accelerated our business and helped customers to adapt to a new reality. 

What products in particular and solutions that you’ve seen today really excite you? 

I think a lot of people are talking about the plants. In my opinion, the plant is just computers, which are not in your facility but elsewhere. But in my perspective, one of the most incredible technologies we are working heavily on is artificial intelligence. 

It’s amazing what you can do with it. And, if everywhere you look, you can use artificial intelligence in one way or another. Thanks to AI, we can further improve the replays by creating virtual images between real images, something that artificial intelligence and our implementation of artificial intelligence is doing remarkably well. So, that’s a nice example of how we are implementing artificial intelligence. 

What’s your read on the industry right now? 

I think that our industry is in transformation, but it’s arguably always been like that. I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years, and things are always changing.  

But for me,  it’s making sure that we create new technologies that respond to the needs of our customers. And then they can do more with less, and that they can do that in the most reliable way. However transformation is definitely there.  

What sense are you getting from your customers in regards to their investment into new technologies and solutions?  

Well, we like to say our strategy is about customer intimacy. So it’s not just developing new technologies and for just pushing the boundaries of technology. Instead, what we really try to do is to understand the real needs of our customers and respond with the right technologies, the right integration, sometimes of building blocks, to offer them a good solution that they can fully rely upon.  

To listen to the full episode, click here.  

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

IBC 2022

IBC 2022, saw the industry back together and relatively back to normal with over 1000 exhibitors and 37,071 people in attendance from 170 countries. And with nine of us in attendance from neuco, we were back in full force too!

After 3 years away, there was such a positive atmosphere with everyone so relieved to be meeting face-to-face in Amsterdam again. And while I was told attendance was down around 30% from 2019, it certainly felt busy and thriving on the floor to me.

There was an obvious underlying theme to the first day conversations, with everyone comparing their various travel delays – neuco being no exception! My first lesson of the show was definitely to book an earlier flight into Schiphol, although I’m not sure whether after our three and half hour’s stint in Gatwick’s Wagamama’s we will be welcome back…

Despite the travel disruption everyone was up early and ready to go on Friday, and you could feel the buzz of everyone so excited to be back at the RAI Amsterdam again. As my first trade show experience and just a month in to joining neuco, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I couldn’t have been more overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone was. I truly feel blessed to have met so many incredible individuals!

Being able to meet in person and surrounded by the latest cutting-edge tech, was not only incredible for building my industry understanding. But also proved how invaluable events like IBC are for building and maintaining those long-term relationships that are so essential for everything we do at neuco.

It was interesting to see the areas experiencing significant growth, in particular the CDN space, FAST network’s and subscription VOD were not showing any signs of slowing down. Hot topics on the floor remained focused on adoption of Cloud technology, as well as the importance of data analysis for understanding your end users and creating a more personalised service. It was great to see that accessibility was a key focus too with many discussions around how AI could be used to make tech more accessible and immersive.

As a woman joining the industry it was really welcomed to hear discussions around Diversion and Inclusion and especially what is being done to encourage continued improvements in these areas. Having just come from the Veterinary Medicine field, which is on the opposite end of the scale, it was a slight shock to the system stepping into such a male dominated field! If you are a woman in the space be sure to check out the Rise Group if you haven’t already. They are doing incredible work supporting, mentoring and advocating for women joining the media technology sector.

In the recruitment world it was incredible to see how many companies were growing, both in terms of expanding current teams and breaking into new markets. Not just is this great for us at neuco, with so many potential opportunities discussed, but also is such a promising sign that the industry is recovering from the challenges of the last few years. If nothing else, it was evident how highly in demand engineering talent is!

And beyond the business it was just incredible to be out in Amsterdam, we really made the most of our evenings socialising with our amazing partners at Ovyo and eating some delicious food. Plus, Tim couldn’t have been more excited to show us newbies the extensive cycling infrastructure…

In summary, I couldn’t have asked for a more jam-packed and exciting first trade-show experience. There really is nothing that can beat face-to-face interactions and I can’t wait for next year where I should have even more familiar faces to see.

The biggest change in the broadcast and media industry 

In episode #73 of The Tech That Connects Us, we sat down with the Srini Co-Founder and CRO of Amagi

He is a technology entrepreneur who began his career as a software engineer. Following this, he became the co-founder of Impulsesoft, a wireless audio company. And in 2008, he continued this entrepreneurial spirit and co-founded Amagi. You can often find him speaking at global industry events discussing how cloud technology can help solve problems and add value.  

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

What do you think the biggest change has been in the broadcast and media industry? 

“I feel, you know, the two fundamental things that are happening in the industry, one in the backend, one in the front end. There is this massive shift that we all know, towards streaming, towards connected TV, where people are switching to a connected TV experience.   

As part of this, obviously, we are seeing some trends of subscription potentially moving a lot more to advertising. People are getting a mix of both on demand, and then traditional cable. So, we’re seeing a lot of sub-trends, but the broad trend is that there is a movement from traditional linear to streaming. 

At the backend, the broadcasters are saying, “Hey, I don’t know what the world is going to look like five years from now”. I mean, it’s changing dramatically, I have to be prepared for that. That means having that flexible technology infrastructure to be able to react quickly to changes. This means moving to the cloud, away from traditional on prem hardware-based infrastructure.  

I think these are massive transformations that are happening right now. But again, if you ask me, we are just taking the video that has been produced the same way that been produced for the last 50 years and just distributing it on the internet!” 

To listen to the full episode, click here.  

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What advice would you give to someone entering the broadcast & media industry?

In episode #70 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were delighted to be joined by Christian Massman, MD and CSO of Qvest Group.  

Christian started his career within the world of banking before making the transition to the broadcast media industry. Fast-forward to today, Christian is now the executive board member, Managing Director and CSO for Qvest group. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

So Christian, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering the industry? 

“What always led me through developing people and actually judging people in terms of doing performance reviews, and really coaching and mentoring people was down to a book I read at the end of the 90s. And this book, by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, implemented the four E and one P methodology which I use.  

It has always helped me to identify the right talent for the right job, and then actually to develop people further in their careers so they can grow. 

And if you’re not familiar with it, the 4 E’s stand for energy, energise, edge, and execute. So, in terms of the attributes that you’re looking for, when it comes to developing talent in identifying top performers – the P stands for passion – and this, from my point of view, is the most important ingredient.  

Therefore, if you’re not doing what you’re doing with 100% commitment and passion, you’re maybe in the wrong job, and then look for something else. But it starts with being passionate about being hungry, really wanting to succeed or making a difference and so on.  

But energy, being able to have energy and being able to engage and energise others, of course, to take big decisions and execute on them is very, very important as well. But the P the passion is number one for me!” 

To listen to the full episode, click here.  

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

IBC 2022, 3 years in the making!

With the cancellation of the shows in both 2020 and 2021 it was starting to feel like we would never get back to the lowlands for the biggest of the Broadcast trade shows IBC.

Apart from being the centrepiece show for much of the media tech space, IBC holds a special place for me as the first media show I ever went to, the first show where I realised that those shoes looked nice but were entirely impractical for 20k steps a day on the show floor, the first show where I found myself in a one-on-one with an SVP who clearly did not know who I was and wanted to know why I was taking up their time…ah memories.

IBC 2022 will be our first chance in years to meet some of our favourite people in the industry, host some networking events, and really immerse ourselves back into the media space (especially with those who could not make it out to Vegas for NAB). Since our last show in Amsterdam, neuco has doubled in size and we will have our biggest ever presence on the floor so if you want to talk about your plans for the future or just to catch up with us, now is the best time to get in touch with us so we can book in a meeting.

Outside of the show itself, it is always wonderful to have an excuse to stay in Amsterdam and I would encourage anyone attending to book their flight home a few days later than planned so you have the chance to explore and take in some of the things that have made the city a hotspot for European travellers.

What are these things you ask? Come on, we all know what I’m talking about…it’s well developed cycling infrastructure of course! If you think I’m not serious then you have never experienced the joy of cycling round a major city without once being nearly sideswiped by a taxi or crushed to a fine paste by a bus at a junction, it must be experienced.

Not convinced, well OK there are other things to enjoy there, things a bit more enticing than bicycles. Yes, you guessed it, trams. Trams are the best kind of city mass transit and I will not hear a word said against them. How did this train sneak on to this road? I’m not sure but I’m not complaining.

Oh, oh yes and the art and culture and food and music and so on, but mainly trams and separate bike lanes.

See you at the show!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

neuco’s Hot Companies to Watch in the Content and Media Space

If you are wondering which companies to keep your eye on within the Content & Media industries, then look no further!  

We have taken a look at the Analytics & Measurement, Broadcasters, Content Distribution/Production/Protection, Front End, Multi-Platform, OVP & TV Platforms, System integrators and Video Processing categories and collated the exciting companies trailblazing the industry right now. 

Analytics & Measurement 

We have found that companies are no longer looking for new users, but putting effort into retaining the users they already have an understanding how end users are engaging with content is more important than ever.  

Measuring end user engagement throughout the streaming media ecosystem is becoming front and centre for many organisations. Analytics are the cornerstone for success as video intelligence becomes a vital part of what broadcasters, OTT Platforms and Content Creators require for success. 

Broadcasters 

Broadcasters are constantly reformulating their work and relaunching to try and get it right. More and more broadcasters are adding OTT platforms, continuing to diversify to try and make it in the OTT world.  

These household names are seeking to recreate themselves, continue to push boundaries and bring high-quality entertainment to our homes. 

Content Distribution  

Content would be meaningless if we couldn’t transport it!  

We searched for the top companies in the Content Distribution space working hard on getting content from A to B in the most efficient, affordable and reliable way possible. Working hard, these companies are providing continuous innovations with Edge Content Delivery, promising faster and more efficient, agile and reliable delivery.  

These are the companies that empower the largest media brands in the world to be successful. 

Content Production 

With production being more remote and flexible than ever, we’ve hunted down the top companies within the Content Production space who are proving themselves.  

Covid-19 had a huge impact on many industries but gave the Content Production industry a shove out of necessity however, many companies are finding more flexible solutions integral to their continued growth. 

Video Production Solutions, MAM, Graphics, Virtual Solutions, Playout tools, Video Editing and much more, are all playing their part to bring sports and entertainment experiences to life.  

Take a look at the companies making strides in this area.  

Content Protection 

We believe your content is worthless if it is not secure.  

With security being at the height of importance due to video content needing to be stored and delivered across the globe, every innovation in security is met with innovation in piracy. 

These companies are proving they deserve their spot as a company to watch. 

Front End 

All your hard work is going to waste if your content does not have good discovery. In addition, users are not going to continue to interact with bad interfaces in this day and age!  

Your users being able to find and engage with your content across multiple devices is what every streaming and VoD provider aims for.  

Meet the companies working to provide the best interfaces and solutions to help your users engage with your content.  

Multi Platform 

Fibre and 5G are transforming our video, broadband and mobile connectivity and there are many companies thriving in this part of the ecosystem. 

These are some of the most ubiquitous companies around, providing TV, internet and communication services for almost every one of us. 

OVP & TV Platforms 

The industry is transforming from legacy and On-Prem to cloud and SaaS models, giving opportunity for these companies to grow and develop but, SaaS and cloud-based solutions are no longer the innovation – they are the standard! 

With more and more video experiences being powered by the Cloud, with FAST and SaaS here to stay, this part of the industry is dynamic and growing fast, with these companies being at the top of their game.  

System integrators 

With so many great solutions out there, sometimes you just need someone to bring it all together for you. Systems integrators provide you with the best-of-breed solutions to solve your problems. 

More and more systems integrators and vendors can be the same people and are providing a mixture of first and third-part solutions. With such a complex technical landscape, a trusted partner that provides technical solutions and advice is key. 

Powering sports streaming platforms, MPUs, Newsrooms and media centres around the globe, and enabling service providers to deliver live content to the end user, these companies are pushing this industry forward.  

Video Processing 

Efficient, high-quality video encoding may not be the most exciting of topics, but it is a fundamental pillar of the ecosystem. 

There will always be capacity limitations, so moving video data more efficiently is often the way. 

Production and distribution workflows, monetisation of content, growing audiences and putting video workflows onto the cloud, these companies are innovative and changing the way the ecosystem operates. 

Do you think we have missed any out? Or are you thinking that your business should be on our list? Then get in touch! 

The Current State of the Video Industry

In episode #67 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were excited to be joined by Wolfgang Zeller. He has worked for some of the biggest names in European Telecommunications and broadcast from senior infrastructure roles with UPC to working as VP of service engineering for Vodafone Group

He’s held key roles in video technology for over 20 years, and he now heads up Vodafone’s Video Centre of Excellence.

We covered so much in this episode, from the state of the industry through to how he sees video progressing and changing over the coming years.

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

Are you excited by the current state of the industry?

Yes, of course! The ecosystem is changing, and different players are taking more important roles in the past. But, at the end of the day, we still have to deliver video to our subscribers, no matter what. You will meet different partners in the ecosystem with different roles, but it’s going to stay as it is – I’m certain.

But what do you think is the biggest lesson that the video industry can take away from this period of disruption?

I think if you look at it, everybody was very unhappy with their TV subscription model, and now, everybody is using third-party apps. 

So, I think we’re going to see a cost optimization exercise driven by our customer base. I think the idea is that you go direct to the consumer as the big provider and make loads of money – But I think it comes to an end slowly. And you can see it a little bit with Netflix already. 

Where do you see the biggest potential for content consumption?

Okay, so this might be a little far-fetched. But I’m really favouring if the self-driving cars – you can do a lot in them. 

You’re going to read the newspaper – and now people will watch a video. Maybe, another video device, with a different type of video – augmented reality, additional information, and so on and so forth. 

So, I think that’s what it is. And I break this all this down. What does it mean for us being in technology? It means “yeah, there’s going to be new devices and new types of infrastructures” – but, we need to make sure we deliver high video quality and it will have a myriad of new encoding technologies, too. 

So, there’s always something that’s a potential, especially if it motivates and drives people to consume video. 

What do you think will be the biggest challenge that it’s going to face the industry?

I think the challenge will be that you need to get the content to the people, and it will require a tremendous amount of bandwidth and capacity in any type of network. 

So, you have always these reports showing that consumption is peaking, and those reports haven’t changed over the last five to ten years. 

And, we’ll keep predicting, and people still building networks and consumers are still consuming the bandwidth and consuming a lot of video content. So, that’s going to be the challenge. And then, of course, you can be smart with encoding technologies, the way you deal with video.

You can listen to the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How can the Content & Media sector be more sustainable?  

We were recently joined for another interesting episode of The Tech That Connects Us by Allan Delaurier, CEO at GLOOKAST, a company that develops tools to simplify digital media workflows by offering solutions to today’s most critical aspects of content productions and distribution.

How do you think leadership ought to look in the current state of the broadcast media industry? 

Everyone has their own individual talents and capabilities, but teamwork is the key. No one person can do everything. The focus should be on teamwork and an effort to want to succeed together.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry today? 

A lot of players in the industry have downsized. The technical knowledge has dwindled; there aren’t a lot of people coming into the industry nowadays. Here in Canada, for example, schools would teach students about broadcast media and media entertainment, but all that is dwindling away. Which means a lot of graduates aren’t educated in how to get into the industry and the onus is transferred to manufacturers who like ourselves, to help guide clients through the difficult challenges and changes.

 What is it about your new role that really excites you? 

Cloud capability – the engine that’s driving progress. At GLOOKAST, we’re working to decide: Ok, where are we going to go, how are we going to get there, and how are we going to succeed? And because we’re software oriented, we’re transitioning very quickly into that type of business model. 

What do you think the future holds for content production and distribution? 

What excites me is the IP, the technology behind the capabilities. As we know, in the past, it transitioned from analogue to SD to HD and now 4K etc. But what’s happening is baseband is becoming less relevant, and IP is becoming more relevant. So, for example, say a football game is filed on a camera at 1080p that gets 3GB per second. But at home, a viewer isn’t watching at 3GB, they’re watching anywhere between 5 and 20MB   per second. So the quality is being compressed. In theory, the 3GB quality is good, but at home, you’re not seeing that. 

So, now you’ve got transport streams like NDI and STR with ingest-type capabilities, not just for playout. When I started in the industry 20 years ago, IP was just a management control solution, and it was primitive. Now the control of management is all IP that’s transporting over to the signal that we’re transporting on an IP as well. 

We’re going through a transition where we have the capabilities to run the NDI, the SRTs over IP. We know a lot of manufacturers out there already starting; companies in the camera industry are getting outputs in an IP contribution, for example. 

Nowadays we have cameras, even on our phones, that are good enough to record high quality content. What we need to figure out is how to get that content into our system, and that’s where GLOOKAST comes in; we’re solving the workflow puzzle by taking those different types of formats and different types of cameras and putting them into the workflow. 

How can the sector focus on being more sustainable? 

Power consumption is one area where it’s economically sustainable. Nowadays you can run more processes and do more capabilities on a single processing unit, you don’t have to buy a single purpose hardware unit to do one job. Whereas you can have one piece of hardware doing multiple jobs, which consumes less electricity. So, that’s an area where we’re all working towards sustainability. 

You can listen to the full episode here. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The industry was back to ‘NAB’​ some Business

Finally…the industry was back out and meeting face-to-face for the NAB show, after almost two years away & hearing all about it over Zoom, we saw 52,468 + attendees make the journey to Vegas representing 155 countries!

 This was my first year in attendance and I must say, it certainly exceeded my expectations.

I thought I’d start this trip off with a bang, so we decided to do a Sky Dive in the desert, jumping 15,000 ft into the sand!! After ensuring Tegan went first, I was able to see the fear on John’s face before I was flung out into a 45-second free fall. (PS this is now a yearly tradition so all are welcome for 2023)

About 12 hours later, it was time for the show to begin…

 There was certainly a buzz in the air as 9:00 AM hit and individuals entered the West Hall, it was clear everyone was ecstatic & relieved to be back, team neuco included!

 Whilst I am not an engineer, It was brilliant to have a front-row seat to the technology which is fundamental to this industry, and begin to learn exactly how different companies utilise their tech stack, whether that be traditional hardware Cameras right through to learning about IP & Cloud solutions for Video & Content Management.

Topics of conversation which were hot amongst the West Hall were focused on Cloud technology, what Private Cloud looks like, and how can Cloud solutions help accelerate your business to the next level. Whether that is companies finally making the transition to becoming fully cloud-dependent or taking this one step further and beginning to pivot towards using a private cloud.

Furthermore, talking to individuals, it was clear that the industry is on its way to being fully recovered from the pandemic, as there are large amounts of widespread growth, from a sales, new product & hiring perspective.

It was really excellent to hear the importance placed on improving Diversity & Inclusion within this industry, but also the reasoning behind the lack of it. It’s no secret that this is a male-dominated industry-the men’s toilet queue is the best sign of this. So being able to hear about the solutions to tackle this from a grassroots standpoint, was incredibly insightful. I was particularly pleased to hear first-hand and learn more about how the Rise Group is advocating for this and creating new opportunities for Female broadcast professionals.

Growth!!! This was something which from a hiring perspective, is widespread throughout the industry. There is a real focus on strong commercial & engineering talent. This is split between smaller organisations now wanting to break into the US market or US companies wanting to tackle Europe or APAC as their new region of choice.

What does this look like from a hiring point of view?

Due to this high demand for excellent talent, it’s arguably more important than ever to ensure seamless and effective hiring processes. Speaking with companies it was interesting to hear how this has been a struggle across the last 18 months, as candidates are involved in multiple processes and have had more than one offer on the table.

A personal highlight for me was being able to meet face to face, with some of the brilliant clients & candidates whom I’ve worked with across the past 9 months. Being able to see the change I’ve made by placing individuals into a new organisation is incredibly motivating. Equally as fantastic, was all of the new relationships made with both clients and candidates!

Bring on IBC!!!!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Changes in the Content & Media Industry with Krishnan Nair

In another insightful episode of The Tech That Connects Us, we’re joined by the VP of Data Integrations at Conviva, Krishnan Nair. Conviva is a census, continuous measurement and engagement platform for streaming media, enabling advertisers, tech operators, engineers and customer care teams to acquire, engage, monetize, and retain their audiences.  

As the VP of a platform that processes close to 2 trillion streaming events daily and supports over 500 million unique viewers, Nair gives us his take on the changes in the content and media industry.  

How and why did you get into the media industry, and particularly, the streaming industry?  

I came to the US in 2008 to study my master’s at Boston University. And, despite the difficult job market in 2009-2010, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at Samsung, in what was essentially an analyst role in the product solutions group. We were exploring ways in which smart TVs could be more than just a great screen. And it was my boss who came up with the idea of having apps on a TV just as you have on phones.  

Throughout my internship, I produced a report highlighting the things that were working well in the industry, the things that should work and shouldn’t work etc. Then once I graduated, I e-mailed my former boss to ask if they had any openings at Samsung, and he told me the report I had completed was actually in production, they had built an app store, and asked me whether I wanted to join them on the team.  

Of course, I said absolutely. I was very focused on liaising with content partners like Netflix Hulu, and other media providers. So, that’s where it all began.   

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the Smart TV space?  

When we started this journey, trying to build apps on Divi was just a side-project. Back then, it was seen as just a hobby. At Accedo, we worked with some of the largest TV publishers in the world, building some of the apps that are familiar today. And as the industry matured, a lot of that work was done in-house as it became a more predominant part of the business.  

As apps became more popular, they were spread across all devices. And people began to get fatigued by so many devices. Data became really important, not just for improving content programming, but people’s overall application and video experience.  

Now it’s down to around seven or eight devices that have really captured the market, by using data to ensure their customers are having the best viewing experience. And the next steps is going to be very interesting for the media and entertainment industry because of web3, though I won’t get into detail.

And what technologies do you think have had the biggest impact on the streaming space?  

Data. In the past, it was very difficult to get information to publishers quickly. So, this has made a huge impact. Front a front-end standpoint, application development has become much easier too thanks to tools like React js and so forth; you no longer need to build a separate app for web TV, Android TV, or Samsung TV.  

And given the upheaval of the past few years, what do you think the upheaval has been in the streaming space more generally?  
 

We’ve been relatively blessed in the media industry; when people were stuck at home, the was a surge in the number of people streaming TV. So, in that sense the pandemic had a positive effect on the industry, at least for the bigger players. 

Also, if you look at the industry over the last few years, there’s been a lot of consolidation in the industry. A lot of companies buying each other out and forming large conglomerates. We think it’s a fight for content; at the end of the day, everyone wants to provide their consumers with the best experience. More consolidation means the best content will live on one, or at least fewer platforms. From a technological standpoint, things are evolving too; everything’s just getting faster.  
 

And what does Conviva have planned for this year?  

Well, we started off as a company focused on quality of experience and measurement analytics. Fast forward to today, we’re a technology company with a primary focus on analytics and streaming. So, our focus moving forward is on the messaging of our vision, to showcase the fact that we’re a streaming measurement partner for some of the largest publishers and articulating how best to work with Conviva to obtain accurate data.   

We’re really excited about NAB coming up this April. What are you looking forward to for NAB 22?  

NAB has always been looking at the evolution of what we’ve seen in the media space, but it’s becoming even more media centric. And I’m excited about all aspects, from the evolution from a technical standpoint to the things happening in the content space.  

What do you think the impact of the return of in-person events will be for the industry? 

It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to gather at large events, so people are excited to socialize and catch up with folks in the industry.  

What advice would you give to anybody attending NAB for the first time this year?  

Go with an open mind. Check out what’s happening. I like to spend some time in competitors’ booths to learn about some of the things that are happening and the new innovations.  

You can catch the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The future of Content & Media

In episode #58 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were thrilled to be joined by Andy Hooper, who is the VP of Platform and Product management at Agile Content. Andy started his career in Accenture on their graduate programme later moving into the video space with Motorola.

We touched on his career so far, as well as his views and aspirations for the future both professionally and personally.

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

High quality content: What’s the reality of it? And, what’s the future of it? 

“The reality is that for a huge number of operators, there is space in the market for well delivered, well constructive high-quality TV and video viewing experiences, and that’s going to remain for a very long time.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say, a segment of people’s time will always be spent doing that and consuming it passively on a bigger screen, that’s and that’s not going to go away in the next 50 years. 

So admittedly, a lot of the attention will go away from that, but that’s fundamentally going to stay there. 

We tend to sometimes over-focus on the selling side of the technology in this industry on particular capabilities. But for a lot of customers, it’s still very important to have partners that are reliable and, and can execute and  be trustworthy.”

On a more personal level, in your career, are there any big goals or targets you have that you’d still like to achieve?

“Most of my life, I spent a lot of time removing stuff from my life, whether it’s clutter, or gadgets that I don’t need, and I resist buying gadgets that I’m unlikely to use very much anymore. That was something that I’ve learned. So, my ambitions don’t need to be driven by material possessions as much as they perhaps used to. 

I want to be able to say that I’ve created something from scratch. That’s the one thing that I think I’ve always been quite successful in. 

One thing that I’d like to achieve would be to find a moment that’s right, from a family and personal perspective, to start from scratch and take something from zero to something; and provide some honest employment for some good people on the way.”

You can catch the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Content & Media Key Trends. neuco’s annual 2022 key trends report.

What’s in store for the Content & Media industry?

2022, where’s it going to go, what does it have in store?

We’ve collated key trends from some of the influential figures across the 4 sectors we recruit into – Cyber Security, Connectivity, Content & Media and Satellite & NewSpace.

We’ve spoken to experts from companies such as Sky, Amagi, Xite, and more!

If you want to find out what we think will be the key trends for cyber security this year, then just click the link below to download now!

Click here to download now.

How can the Broadcast Media Industry have a positive impact on the Environment?

Joining us on episode 48 of The Tech That Connects Us was Darren Long Group Operations Transformation Design CT&I for Sky. Darren has been working for Sky for the past 32 years across News, Sports Entertainment and Production, as a director in a range of different capacities, such as Group Content Processing, Production and Services and Operations.

Darren joined Tegan Valeny and Henry Johnson where they discussed diversity, inspiring a healthy culture, the future of content creation and the importance of owning a dog.

One question Tegan and Henry put to Darren was ‘How can the broadcast media industry have a positive impact on the environment?’ Here’s what he had to say.

“At Sky, we’re now committed to becoming carbon neutral. Last weekend we did our first carbon-neutral football match in conjunction with Tottenham and the supporting staff and infrastructure. 

If we look at these opportunities, we’ve got an important role to play. We are a broadcaster, and all broadcasters need to ensure that we lead by example. That’s something that Sky has always wanted to do and we’re very lucky because we own the whole supply chain, everything from the customer buying the equipment through to making and distributing the programmes. This gives us a unique opportunity to own that whole customer journey from an environmentally friendly perspective. So we can ensure that from a carbon-neutral point of view we tick every single box along the journey. 

We took a really strong lead on this and Jeremy Darroch was instrumental in ensuring that everything we do going forward is “do we reduce our carbon footprint?”. From the packaging, we use to the way we recycle our equipment. Traditionally people would hold on to the equipment and never give it back, so of course, it went to landfills and various other things. Now, technically, you never own that equipment personally, it’s owned by Sky so that means once your contract finishes and you no longer want it then we take that back and recycle. 

 Everything we do going forward will be about actually how can we minimise the environmental impact. All the Sports we’re at, we ensure that the people who are working on the sports are doing so in a way that’s very economical and reducing the carbon footprint. From how they get to the venues, all the way through to the distribution platform minimising the power that we’re using. 

The key thing we can do is sending the message around why this is important and making sure that message is strong. So every single day we have a climate report which is on Sky News. It’s about educating people, not just preaching, but trying to give people an understanding of why we’re doing this. We believe in this wholeheartedly, and from an industry point of view if you look at all these productions now that whether they be for Sky or other companies they are trying to measure every single part of the impact of those productions. Traditionally you’d build sets and then destroy them, you’d use plastic cups and all those things. So whilst some of these things are very small, you know what? From small things grow large trees. 

 Sky is not just doing this as a tick box exercise, we really do believe in what we’re doing 100% and everything we do going forward around the way that we deliver our services and the way we recycle our services is going to be measured. That in itself is important, people should hold us accountable for our actions. It’s important that when products arrive that customers know that packaging isn’t just thrown in the bin but can be brought back to Sky, recycled and used again. 

 From an industry point of view, it’s time for us to lead the charge. There are lots of good broadcasters, filmmakers, and TV production crews who are doing this now. So we have a responsibility to keep doing this, keep improving and keep supporting companies and industries that bring innovation in this area as well.” 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What are the biggest challenges to the TV industry and video industry moving forward?

On episode 43 of The Tech That Connects Us John Clifton and Tim Meredith were joined by Nuno Sanches, General Manager for Telecom and Media at Kaltura.

When it comes to the TV and video industry there are a lot of challenges as we move forward, here’s what Nuno thinks are the biggest.

“In the media and professional TV industry, the biggest challenge we currently have is understanding the role of each of the agents and players. The structure of the industry itself is not settled. 

 It’s not clear if there’s market potential for a distributed content model, where we’ll have many providers providing content directly to many customers, or if we’re going to see the reaggregation of the intermediary where you then have half a dozen large aggregators that intermediate with a larger group of customers. 

 
This is the biggest risk but also the biggest opportunity, the winners and losers of each of these two configurations are dramatically different. Right now the question that will shape the industry is, can people be successful and meet the needs of the customer but reach them directly and profitably without having to be aggregated as it used to be. The question itself is still open, but we have a very interesting data point with Netflix in the fact that Netflix itself has stopped growing. Which has put all the projections about what the industry can be into an upheaval. 

 
We now have three or four players who could legitimately be at an equivalent scale in a couple of years that starts to make it clear that the winner takes all model doesn’t exist. But it still has not eliminated the fact that you could go back to essentially a US media company driven half by media and half by tech and have five giants who then consolidate everything like back in the days of paid TV. 

 
It’ll be fascinating to see whether this new world will emerge or if the old world of content aggregation will come back under a new banner of Video on Demand and non-linear content. 

 
For video, the biggest challenge will come from privacy. People do not understand the full impact of the videofied world we live in. This is why we’re only now starting to process the enormous implications of fake news and social media. We’re starting to grasp with personal exposure, if you’re putting up pictures of your kids or you out drinking then that’s something that could potentially come back to haunt you when it comes to a job interview. We’re only now understanding these implications. We’re starting to grapple with all this but the regulations around this have come afterwards. 

 
For example, does an employer have a right to record a meeting whilst you’re working from home? We’ve decided that this is now acceptable for everyone. So something could happen in the background and it’s ok for your employers to be recording it even though that’s in your home. We’ve made these decisions without fully understanding the implications.  

 
Over at Netflix, someone got fired due to some comments which were critical of the management team but on a channel they thought was private. If you’re adding video to these situations due to the depth of information you can get for a video the number of things that can go wrong goes through the roof. 

 
So a huge challenge for the video application world is how privacy will work, and we need to know the implications of these situations. One question we should be asking is how can machine learning and AI be used not for exposing your privacy but for protecting it? Can we use blockchain to make sure we control our own video feeds and keep the rights to them as if it was an NFT for example?  

 
If something happened that you didn’t want to be recorded then you’d have the ability to correct it in the master distributed file. These are important topics that may not come today because we’re all at home and privileged just to be talking to each other. But tomorrow they will come and they’re important discussions and the biggest challenge around video for the next decade.”

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What’s in Store for Television Studios and Live Audiences?

On Episode 40 of The Tech That Connects Us John Clifton and William Trenchard were joined by Andrew Moultrie CEO at BBC Studioworks

A hugely passionate individual, Andrew has taken a different path to many in his journey to the top of the Content & Media industry but it’s no surprise to see him there. 

In this conversation, William asks Andrew about the future of studios and live audiences within studios. Here’s what he had to say. 

“The biggest itch I want to scratch about the future, in general, is sustainability. How can we create sustainable studios that are purpose-built?

Because historically you’d find an old space and then you’d hate it later. But now we have the ability to build locations or reconfigure them with a focus on the long term. So the way I’m looking into the future is the three P’s People, Planet and Profit. Profitability is not my driver. It’s one of the things which we need in order for us to employ people but it’s not the only thing. 

So for the future of studios, it’s going to be looking at the circular nature, and virtuous circle that is a studio. So where you get your renewable energies from, to the materials you build with to how you’re utilising water. We also need to be educating people within the facilities and giving them a sustainable mindset, because I do think in order to attract people to your organisations in the future you need to be aware of the planet. I think the youth of today, the alphas, the gen z and the Millenials all have the planet at the top of their agenda, whereas for the gen x’s and the baby boomers it’s been something we’ve kind of been aware of but it’s not been at our core. 

So the next evolution of production companies or broadcasters that want to use the facilities will be asking, ok what are your sustainability credentials, because the whole industry needs to get there on that basis? The biggest consumer of energies in the production cycle and light entertainment are the facilities so the onus is going to be on us. Historically we used to make money by burning energy and charging it back to the client, that can’t be the way of the future. 

From an audience perspective, it’s how you keep bringing audiences in and ensuring the audience is diverse and eclectic. So they’re representative of a modern Britain, not just based on the postcode you’re operating in and doing that in a way that’s safe and drives engagement. 

What we have found and it was really clear when we did virtual audiences was that you lose the chemistry of the show. Because social interaction is an energy, you’ve seen it in the football or at Wimbledon having a crowd there just changes things, compared to having a load of monitors where you don’t know where to look. Having that energy in the room really steps up the performance of individuals, it also steps up the interactivity and openness and also can affect the crews that are delivering as they feed off the audience too.  

So I think audiences will still be vitally important but it’s also how you integrate them more and more using technology as we go through different evolutions of the pandemic and as we bring live audiences back in. 

Technology will also help transform the interaction and the delivery of content. Technology is always changing, as the pipes get thicker there’ll be an increased ability to create different levels of engagement whether it’s participating live, or watching from home and interacting virtually. 

There’s so much, whether it be the potential to beam people into the studios virtually or use VR but that’s all to come and it’s exciting.”

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What is the Future of Broadcasting?

On episode 38 of The Tech That Connects Us Podcast John Clifton interviewed Mohammed Akhlaq, Chief Technology Officer, ITN. 

In his storied career, Mohammed played a key role in launching news giant Al Jazeera‘s US studio and channel, so we had to ask such a passionate industry veteran what his thoughts were on the future of broadcasting, and Mohammed’s answer was very interesting. 

What are you most excited about for the future of the broadcasters themselves? 

I think it’s a difficult question to answer, because a lot of broadcasters have legacy infrastructure, workflows, and traditional ways of doing things. Content isn’t produced the same way it was produced 20 years ago, it’s started to change slightly, but that part didn’t change.  

What’s really changed is the distribution of content. Rather than using the UHF transmitters, etc, you now have, streaming platforms, OTT platforms, VOD platforms, content on mobile phones or tablets.  It’s now more accessible, and that’s the area that has really moved forward quite considerably, with more production being the next phase. And we’ll move very quickly into it, into a more agile and more dynamic, scalable workspace.  

And the third phase would be how content is produced. Although that is yet to come, it will come, and it will be a fundamental change to the way that we produce content and consume content. And this probably will be the biggest threat to any broadcaster, because it’s taken away the crown jewels of what they are known for, and what they do really well.  

In the media landscape as a whole, the remote production and distribution elements of it make it much easier as an entry point for new start-ups to come into the market without having baggage of legacy. And therefore, they can be far more reactive, far more agile, far more dynamic, far more forward thinking and can change very quickly based on audience feedback.  

An example of this is eSports. Who would think that eSports would be a spectator event? It’s those niche markets that we’ll see from new startups within the broadcast sector. These areas that tier one broadcasters are just not interested in, because of the demographic or because the audiences are geared towards a particular type of genre programming.  

That’s where the new markets are going to be and it’s going to create some great opportunities for new startups to take advantage of. Because it’s a niche market that the broadcasters are just not interested in, but these guys can actually leverage that growing market. How many times have you seen kids watching YouTube channels? watching someone play Fortnight? Surely it would be more fun you playing it, but actually there’s a market for streaming games. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Augmented Reality and Full 360 are the future of Content

On episode 37 of The Tech That Connects Us Podcast John Clifton interviewed Pedro Bandeira, Vice President Product and New Business, Europe, Deutsche Telekom

A dedicated individual on a professional quest to make the ultimate content experience, Pedro has been at the forefront of most modern time development in the Content & Media industry, so it was only natural to query him on the future of the industry and the consumption of content, something he had very a very clear prediction on: 

Which technologies do you think are going to have the biggest impact on the future of the industry? 

“If we look the medium to long run, 5-7 years. Something that’s not coming anytime soon, but which I am a firm believer in, is augmented reality. So, if you can use your full visual space to not only consume content, but also be able to see in real time additional information associated with that content. If you bring everything together in terms of the full VR & Full 360 experience, you’re going to have a lot of potential for creating something very immersive. 

But it’s not yet here, it still needs to mature, but it’s going to happen. Because the same the same statement that I made regarding the 1990s in the digitalization of video also applies to this.  And when it does happen it will be a great experience in terms of content experience.  

When we take that full 360 VR video alongside augmented information associated with content, it’s going to change the way we fundamentally connect with content, not just personally but as a group; it’s going to offer a whole new way of interacting with content.  

But, before that, we still have a lot to do. It’s really thinking about the 4k market and what’s coming after 4k, it’s still not 100% mass market, it still requires us to push this to our customers as mass market. And I think the most important thing that we need to push is this dream of ‘All content everywhere’. If we can deliver on this vision, in which I can at any time access any content free or paid, (if it is paid, of course I need to pay) but I have the ability to access it from any device at any time.  

If we’re able to deliver on that alongside the right discovery plane on top of it, that’s what users want. They want the ability to find quickly what they want and consume it at any time. And that’s the bridge that we still need to cross in the next five years until we get go to the next level of content interaction with full 360 VR and augmented content experiences.” 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.    

The Future of Content is AI & Metadata

On Episode 31 of The Tech That Connects Us John Clifton and Will Trenchard sat down with the passionate Matt Westrup, VP Technology & Operation, A+E Networks UK and really delved deep into content, metadata, 5G and much more.  

A particular section of the conversion caught our attention as Matt expressed some interesting thoughts on the future and opportunities in the industry, especially when it comes to content and streaming, we caught that little soundbite and did a small write up, read more below: 

What do you think the future holds for the technology and consumer experience? 

I think AI and metadata will be the future. The idea of discoverability and personalization will become ever more a focus and will evolve very quickly, giving the chance for the consumption of content to feedback into the production of content, which is quite an interesting idea, and something people are going to have to find a balance around is creativity versus insights.  

5G is another future for consumer experience, this technology suddenly gives the consumer a whole different experience, especially with streaming and mobile use. These are the two technologies that will absolutely make a commercial difference. 

And where do you see the greatest opportunities in terms of the service? 

The ability to with confidence deliver content to a mass of people with the knowledge that they will absolutely love it and they’re appreciative that it ended up with them will be a big opportunity in the industry. But also, the different ways of partnering for distributions, the traditional lines of the ‘supply chain’ are being smashed, rebuilt and rerouted. And this change causes an initial lack of certainty on where your audience are on the supply chain, which is a big opportunity to innovate. 

And when it comes to the younger demographic, thoughts of short form video and gaming come to mind, do you think this has a role to play? 

Totally. And going back to metadata and AI, there are all sorts of businesses that are constantly producing new content, and that’s going to be having to be thought of very differently for those platforms, to be relevant, because we know the competition is there.  

But also, these extraordinary archives that many, many companies assessing how to we surface the data to be able to understand what value that could have? And what imagination can we apply to that to create something new out of it? So really there’s two kind of dynamics going on there. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.