The Uberfication of Broadcast

Ten years ago, as a member of the conference committee for the IBC show I remember a suggestion from a broadcaster that we discuss “the Skypefication of broadcasting”. At the time Skype was most definitely in vogue and we were wondering whether, how or even when a disruptive technology like Skype could do to broadcasting what it did to Telephony around the globe. Skype popularised VOIP, a technology that had been around for a while but which was only well known in forward thinking businesses or technology oriented companies. With new innovations like Skype dramatically altering the cost, portability and feature sets of telephony the result was a dramatic change in more areas than just telephony, it moved jobs from one country to another.

Fast forward to 2017 – Uber and Airbnb are the poster-children of this disruption era with many other young upstarts following quickly in their path. I’m sure we’ve all read thousands of words about disrupters and maybe even dreamed of creating a disrupter ourselves. I certainly have.

With the annual IBC tradeshow for broadcast technology in Amsterdam nearly upon us we look forward to all the new devices and technologies and the buzz of an industry on the point of serious change. Pixel Power, the company I represent, will again show how workflows can be automated seamlessly, how you can make more revenues and save money through more efficient processes and how to move entire playout platforms to the cloud – seriously, live feed switching coupled with sophisticated (or simple) graphics and branding, and automation, and playout directly off the Amazon cloud.

It’s all wonderful stuff and deployable right now - but that’s a bit like VOIP. It’s the technology that exists and works and we’re showing it off today – the real magic is when you, the broadcaster, make the dream come true and do something that only you can dream of doing. It could be that you use cloud based playout to locate your broadcast operations in nearby country, with your creative or technical staff located somewhere more convenient to them or to you. It could be that you are now able to flip your standard playout channels up to the cloud, particularly those that require the least intervention so that you can test some new channel formats for new markets or new geographies using your own facility. If they are successful then flip the channel up onto the cloud and work on an OPEX model.

It could be that you want to use talent from around the world on a single project or broadcasting event and in doing so you increase speed in making a project happen; involve talent that was simply not possible to bring into the team before due to cost or physical locations; and reduce overall project.

Is this disruption the ultimate equaliser in our broadcast technology world today? Are we witnessing the uberfication of broadcast happening right now?

Answers on an Etch-a-Sketch.

Latest blog posts