Amsterdam canal houses

IBC 2018: what can we expect from this year’s show?

Amsterdam may be famous for its beautiful canals, charming architecture and so-called coffee shops. However next month, the city will once again become home to one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and technology conferences. IBC attracts nearly 60,000 broadcasters, content providers, analysts, film makers, production equipment manufacturers, and even government policy makers from all over the world.

We’ve been supporting clients at the show for many years so have seen the event grow into the broadcast spectacular that it is today. This year, the team is supporting VOD content delivery expert Ostmodern with a dedicated influencer campaign. With keynotes from traditional broadcasters including Channel 4, BBC Studios and ITV and disruptive internet players like Amazon and YouTube, this year’s agenda promises more innovation and variety than ever before. So, what exactly can we expect from inside the RAI next month?

Diversity, diversity, diversity

A main focus of the show this year is to address the industry’s current gender imbalance, with the aim of increasing the number of female visitors and speakers at the show. At present, women are enormously underrepresented in the global media and entertainment sector. The 2018 UCLA Hollywood Diversity report, that looks at diversity in Hollywood entertainment, found that male film directors outnumber their female counterparts by seven to one, and nearly four to one in the film writing space.

In the UK, Ofcom’s 2017 Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television report found that women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are all under-represented in the TV industry. Women account for as little as 31% of senior management at UK broadcasters, ethnic minorities make up only 12% of employees across the same major pay-TV outlets and just 3% of employees self-report as disabled, compared to 18% of the UK population. The stats are also bleak when you look at the number of women in non-craft roles in the broadcast industry. Only 10% of manufacturers have women on their boards or senior executive teams. From production to content delivery and creation, diversity remains a problematic issue.

IBC will provide a unique opportunity to drive change through discussion, awareness and accountability. On Friday of the show, Ade Rawcliffe, ITV’s Head of Diversity will share her experiences of championing diversity at ITV with BBC’s Kate Russell – a must-attend event.

Fighting the pirates

We may not be at Black Hat or Infosec Europe, but cybersecurity will nevertheless be a key discussion point inside the RAI. High-profile cyber-attacks have plagued news headlines, growing in frequency and sophistication. In recent years, hackers have breached Netflix, Disney and HBO; content piracy and theft remain rife as we head into this year’s show. In response to this growing threat, IBC has announced it will be running a new one-day, dedicated initiative – the Cyber Security Forum – that will focus on a range of cyber-security themes. The sub event will cover how media organisations can manage cyber risk, what cyberwar means for broadcasters, current and emerging threats and ways to mitigate potential future attacks.

Whether you’re in the world of cybersecurity or not, don’t miss Channel 4’s Brian Brackenborough deliver a talk looking at the need to raise awareness and drive collaboration to ensure everyone in the industry understands the consequences of a potential cyber-attack.

More disruptive and immersive technologies than ever before

From AI and AR, to VR and voice to UHD, HDR and IP, this year’s IBC will not disappoint when it comes to exploring the next game-changing technologies.

AI was easily the most discussed technology of 2017. As the technology matures from experimentation to practical use, it will remain a key talking point in the RAI. The likes of Sony, Accenture, Nuance Communications and Amazon Web Services will all present new concepts and innovations in relation to AI and machine learning. Amongst the noise at IBC, expect to also hear conversations around new ways of creating deeper audience engagement, including VR and AR. Max Amordeluso, lead evangelist at Amazon’s Alexa in Europe, will also discuss how content creators can leverage voice to open up new opportunities in his keynote on the first day of the show.

Above are just some of the topics of discussion and debate at IBC 2018. With a packed programme including talks from key industry executives and predicted announcements from both major players and disruptive start-ups, it’ll be interesting to see how this year’s show plays out.

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