Julian Clover gives his thoughts on IBC 2007
There was something of an anti-climax to this year’s IBC. For most of August the Broadband TV News team has been fielding phone calls from company representative anxious that we should pay them a visit during our extended weekend in Amsterdam.
The halls were buzzing and the delivery technology that for the past few years had been largely consigned into Hall 1 was now oozing into the neighbouring areas of the RAI centre. Broadband delivery is now a part of the mix, alongside mobile TV, IPTV and the more traditional areas of cable and satellite. IBC began as a production show and this still represents a major part of IBC’s activities, though largely out of our remit.
The trouble is the new technologies are going through a bedding in period. Mobile TV for one is living in a parallel universe where your viewpoint depends largely on whether you are running a trial or looking at someone else’s deployed services. Germany may have sold six million HD Ready television sets, but the most recent figures from pay-TV operator Premiere suggest that only 60,000 are actually watching any HD content on them. All this means that what was to be found was largely only a refinement of 12 months ago.
One technology that has emerged is that of watermarking, demonstrated both by Philips and Dolby subsidiary Cinea. The idea is that in this HD world any pirated movies can be tracked down right to the individual subscriber. TeleSonera’s uncompressed HD transmission on the Net Insight stand stood out as a particular show highlight.
IBC’s growth – this was the show’s 40th anniversary – has meant that IBC is slowly becoming too big for the RAI. You can’t criticise an event for being popular, but when you discover a restaurant is now an exhibition hall and a tent has been erected in the car park you know something is wrong. Incidentally, Billy Smart’s Circus, sorry, Hall P12 had the best coffee to be found anywhere. If the playout and consultancy business should ever take a downturn, Ascent Media can join me in running Starbucks out of town.
While the clowns were running the construction of the new metro station outside, the best table magician you’ve ever seen was performing for the Tandberg-Ericsson party held in the cosy beach area below the Broadband TV News stand in Press Alley. Ericsson had a surprise guest on its stand on Friday morning. The mock bedroom had become all too cosy for one security guard.
IBC remains the place to meet new friends and renew old acquaintances, but the question is how long it will be able to remain in Amsterdam.