September in the broadcast industry can only mean one thing – IBC! Staged over five days, IBC takes place at the RAI, Amsterdam and is the quintessential exhibition for those active in the broadcast and media industry. IBC 2014 was the most successful show to date, attracting a total of 55,092 attendees from over 170 countries, with over 1,500 exhibitors occupying more than 50,000 square metres of display space.
The first IBC was held in 1967 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. There were just 32 exhibitors and 500 conference delegates. Back then broadcasting was a very different business. Today, the event continues to develop to meet the rapidly changing needs of the industry and is one of the most influential events in the industry.
As always, a Whiteoaks delegation took Amsterdam by storm and supported numerous clients at the show – Adder Technology, ChyronHego, Deluxe, Elemental Technologies, The Foundry, IABM, Mediamano, Universal Electronics and Vitec Videocom – through press events, journalist briefings, birthday parties (Happy 30th Birthday Adder!) and a charity run.
Although September is a manic month, preparations begin months in advance with PR and social media outreach starting early to maximise clients’ exposure at the show and drive quality coverage results.
As the IBC virgin on the team, this was my first taste of the show – would it live up to expectations?
The first thing that struck me about IBC is its size – it is a truly enormous show! Spread across 14 halls themed by creation, management and delivery, I took the team’s warning about having five minutes to run from one briefing to the next in halls at opposite ends of the RAI with a good pinch of salt. Good job I packed those flat shoes they’d warned me about (this show is definitely not the right place for footwear from Sex and the City)!
With over 1,500 exhibitors and the cost of a booth equivalent to the cost of a small house, everyone is competing for coverage in the IBC Daily – the one place exhibitors want to be seen. The first job of the morning was to grab a Daily from the hotel’s reception and scour it for client coverage. The mix of interesting news and outstanding media relations saw great coverage results for our clients at the show.
One thing I’ve learnt from the last year working in tech and broadcast PR, is that the broadcast industry loves a trade show! The atmosphere at IBC surpassed all my expectations, and wandering around the show you get a real buzz from the hive of activity happening on exhibitor stands. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard work (those thinking we were on a jolly enjoying other pleasures Amsterdam has to offer are very wrong) and there was sadly no time to see my hero, professor Brian Cox deliver his keynote (I did get a pic with him on screen). Yes, there were moments where we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry (were we really only there for three days!?), but the experience is not to be missed – it’s challenging, exciting and fulfilling.
Now safely back to the comfort of my desk and UGG boots, it’s a chance to catch up on the news from IBC and learn about what trends the broadcast industry is likely to see. Professor Brian Cox is concerned about the “fragmentation” of contemporary broadcasting; Sky and ITV acknowledged it is no longer possible to maintain necessary levels of distribution without the cloud; and IP-based networks remain a hot topic but concerns remain over whether they can handle the bandwidth required for UHD and 4K.
With this year’s show done and dusted, I can join in on the banter with the IBC veterans in the office, help formulate next year’s plans and strategies based in what I learned, and safely say that I am looking forward to IBC2015 (gulp).