We branded IBC this year with the strapline ‘Stronger together’, and while we had hoped that we would all be returning to the RAI in Amsterdam this year, I fi rmly believe that IBC – whether online or in-person – remains the one forum where all sides of the global media industry can come together, share ideas and do business. Of course, we are all disappointed not to be gathering in Amsterdam. While there was considerable support from many exhibitors and attendees for us to put on a physical event, growing concern about the spread of coronavirus in Europe meant cancelling the in-person event was in the end the only option.

So rather than welcome you to the RAI, I am instead delighted to welcome you to another online experience which I am sure will provide you with the insights and connections that you have come to expect from IBC. Last year, when we held a virtual IBC, I wrote in the IBC Daily that despite IBC being very different in many ways, nothing has changed. And, while I believe that our fundamental purpose remains the same, we have been working hard to adapt and to make sure that IBC is able to fulfi l its role in either a hybrid environment of online and physical events or a purely digital world.

For IBC, one of the most obvious ways in which we have

responded has been to develop IBC Digital, a platform for bringing the content and technology community together. As a platform it will continue to evolve, but one thing we are sure of is the importance of the ability to serve content and connect the industry. To help you connect with peers and suppliers, it gives you the ability to set up a profi le and network, and you will fi nd it packed with exhibitor profi les. Content that would have been delivered at the show will be published on the platform now and over the coming weeks. We have, of course, been shifting IBC to a year-round experience for some years now. We launched IBC365 back in 2017 to provide a continuing stream of the sort of insight and information that we are known for. And IBC Digital went live in October, representing all that is good about the Amsterdam event, but online.

That said, the physical event will continue to be at the heart of what we do, and I see the demand for an in-person event growing to pre-pandemic levels and beyond, over the coming years.

IBC Digital would have provided the means for this year’s IBC to have been one of the fi rst genuine hybrid events, with the physical exhibition and conference complemented by a comprehensive online offering. The cancellation of IBC affects the whole industry in many ways, including the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas. At a time when the industry comes together it marks the beginning of an annual cycle of education and thought leadership led by the six industry bodies that own IBC and form the IBC Partnership: the IABM, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, IET – The institute of Engineering and Technology, the Royal Television Society (RTS), SMPTE and the SCTE.

In developing IBC Digital, we worked hard to create the same spirit of coming together to share knowledge and experiences. It offers appointment-to-view keynote presentations and panel sessions, alongside ‘exhibition’

“Our industry is marked by

great resilience and remarkable ingenuity. We hear, time and again, how broadcasters and production companies have

turned things upside down to continue to make and deliver great programmes”


walkarounds focusing on specifi c technology areas. It also includes powerful tools to help defi ne your individual path through IBC, alongside networking areas to swap ideas with friends and colleagues.

REMARKABLE ADVANCES You do not need me to tell you how hard the past couple of years have been. The industry has seen some remarkable technical advances, but these were largely forced upon us by the need to stay in business and to serve our audiences. What it has shown is that our industry is marked by great

resilience and remarkable ingenuity. We hear, time and again, how broadcasters and production companies have turned things upside down to continue to make and deliver great programmes.

If you have watched this year’s IBC Awards Ceremony – and if you have not I urge you to fi nd it on IBC Digital – then you will have seen how the industry has created remote working solutions, even in challenging live environments like sport. We have always been a collaborative, sharing business.

We actively encourage open standards and interoperability. Virtually every installation in every corner of the world brings together sub-systems from multiple vendors to create the perfect overall solution. The IBC Innovation Awards have celebrated just this sort of co-operation for almost 20 years. The awards ceremony also includes comments from the winner of the IBC2021 International Honour for Excellence: Barbara Slater, director of sport at BBC. Her view is that, within the fi rst weeks of the pandemic, they advanced their remote production technologies and capabilities three or four years.

We have also retained our Media Accelerator

Programme, which provides a setting for collaboration and advancement. This gives innovative and practical projects an environment and a stimulus for cross-party development, with vendors, academics and media enterprises working together. I am very much looking forward to seeing what this year’s eight projects have achieved.

Now is the time to take all the learning of the past 18 months or so, and bring it to bear on strategic thinking and planning for the future. That has always been the role of IBC in the industry, and it is certainly our aim now. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to make two

expressions of gratitude. The fi rst is for the sterling efforts of the IBC Team who, as I am sure you can imagine, have been challenged with changes of plans and circumstances on an almost daily basis.

Over the course of the year we have worked very closely with our friends at the RAI, and through them with the Dutch authorities, and these complex discussions have been made doubly diffi cult by the impracticality of sitting around a table and talking things through, the way we normally would. According to the Royal Statistical Society, globally we spent more than three trillion minutes on Zoom – my IBC and RAI colleagues certainly contributed more than their share!

And second, my thanks go to you, the members of the media industry – from developers and vendors to content creators and broadcasters and distribution platforms. Thank you for your continuing support of IBC, the world forum for the electronic media business. To all of you I wish a successful year and a more positive future. Michael Crimp is IBC chief executive

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