What’s the Big News from IBC in Amsterdam? Just like its American cousin, the NAB Show, Content, with a capital “C.”

And the 55-odd thousand broadcasters, technology vendors, pay-TV operators and journalists from around the world made it clear that learning how to deliver it faster — and more economically — was of crucial import this year.

While IBC usually has been a celebration of all things hardware related, conference attendees this year packed booths showing the latest cloud-based technologies and software-based solutions focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and, most especially, technology that focused on the end-to-end content supply chain.

And, with good reason. Consumers are comfortable watching “TV” on multiple devices, and content owners increasingly are looking to accommodate them by offering more
direct-to-consumer (D2C) products. Over-the-top is pushing into territory unthinkable just three or four years ago, specifically sports, which was once the last bastion of traditional broadcasting and pay TV.

At the heart of that pairing is improving technology that delivers a better, denser product to the consumer with reduced latency and, critical to broadcasters, a data-rich content stream. With sports fans the largest single consumer of video and data, the opportunities are immense.

The move to a content supply chain is a fundamental, data-driven change, a moment where we re-image all aspects of the operation.

While augmented reality (AR) has been steadily making its way into broadcasters’ newsrooms, especially in sports and weather applications, virtual reality (VR) has been kept on the other side of the door, partially because the technology is still rapidly evolving and partially because of how expensive it can be to produce and distribute.

As long as there have been conferences dedicated to broadcasting, pay TV and OTT there have been keynotes, panels and on-floor discussions on how to monetize content. This IBC was no different, there were panels, lots of opinions and a reality: The OTT industry is maturing and, like any maturing industry, it’s looking for new ways to make money in addition to increasing revenues from traditional products.