IBC will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year from September 14-19, 2017. The conference will be held at its now familiar home at the RAI convention center in Amsterdam, where it has been since 1992.
While the broadcast landscape has been transformed over the years, the show still seeks to be the primary global forum where the real issues of the industry are discussed and new strategies developed. Back in 1967 the founders of IBC knew that to be a success the event had to have three strands: a comprehensive exhibition, a visionary conference, and the networking opportunities to share ideas. Fifty years on we have a huge amount to talk about: from Ultra HD to 5G connectivity; from IP to cybersecurity. And IBC is the place to do that, drawing 1,679 exhibitors and 55,797 attendees from around the world to last year's event.
The Future of the Media Industry Is Defined at IBC
IBC 2016 attendees get some sun at the "IBC Beach". No doubt important meetings are scheduled right after.
This year’s conference is subtitled "Truth, Trust and Transformation," and has five tracks running over five days. Session topics range from the deeply technical, like new codec design, to the topical and strategic, like "fake news." Broadcasters have traditionally been the trusted brand for news: is the era of social media and universal internet access changing that? It is a critical topic to debate at IBC, because the industry's response to it is central to its future, commercially as well as technically.
Our conference theme has resonances in other ways too. One of the key challenges created by the digital transition and connected media networks and devices is the risk that the media industry will become a major target for malware and hackers. As the transport platform becomes more open, the more we need to focus on cybersecurity and the intrinsic design of safe, secure systems.
Issues around OTT and social media delivery run right through the conference. Sometimes seen as "disruptive", though probably "transformative" is the better word, it brings new challenges for creativity and business. The keynote session from Brian Sullivan, president of the digital consumer group at broadcaster and media conglomerate Fox, looks at these challenges. As Sullivan says, "In a digital world the consumer has the power. Deal with it."
The other keynote sessions also provide a broad view of where we are as an industry, exploring new industry-shaping trends in social media and new technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality. Dan Danker, product director at Facebook and Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, president and CEO at Modern Times Group, will explore how the rise of fan and friend power in the media ecosystem is driving new approaches to broadcasting, as well as paving the way for new partnerships and funding models. The Technology Forward Keynote, "What's Happening in VR, AR and Mixed Reality", is delivered by Rikard Steiber, president, Viveport and SVP Virtual Reality, HTC, who will look at the emerging swathe of consumer devices and services, as well as showcasing successful VR experiences across platforms.
Got to Keep Moving...
IBC attendees try to pack as much into five days as possible.
Just as the industry keeps moving, so IBC continues to evolve. New features this year include the IBC Startup Forum, which aims to help new companies find a place in our community, matching the bright ideas and innovations with investors that can help make them a reality. Working with a specialist agency, Media Honeypot, we will bring together startup and scale-up businesses, investors and media houses, with a "Deal Room" as well as networking areas, a seminar program and a pitching competition.
Also new this year is the C-Tech Summit: two days of specialist presentations and debates, presented on the same behind-closed-doors basis as the Leaders' Summit. The event will provide technological debate at a strategic level, aiming to help C-level executives understand the implications for business transformation. Friday's session will discuss the critical issue of cybersecurity, while on Saturday it will be the possibilities of 5G and persistent, universal high-speed connectivity.
We have also added the biggest temporary structure we have ever built for an IBC to house Hall 14, dedicated to Content Everywhere. This area combines a curated exhibition with a Hub Theatre and other features specifically designed to help visitors expand their knowledge and understanding of the latest trends, strategies and developments in online TV and video.
There will be many opportunities around the show for visitors to immerse themselves in cutting-edge technologies and learn about the accelerating trends that are enhancing, customizing or otherwise transforming the user experience (UX). The Business Transformation conference session entitled "Broadcast is about to be transformed" sees speakers from Google, Freeview Australia, DMC and DTG discussing the myriad disruptions currently facing broadcast on all fronts, from IP-only delivery to personalized user experiences, while the series of Tech Talks on Sunday September 17 also features several sessions that step further into the future.
We've come a long way since 1967; maybe this year's IBC will give us a glimpse of what the next 50 years will bring.
— Michael Crimp, CEO, IBC