A Constant in a Changing Industry

By Tom Sahara, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Sports Video Group


As 2016 draws to a close, we look back on a pivotal year for the industry. “The Digital Revolution” came of age to challenge traditional media. Mobile video viewing matched TV-viewing minutes and became “the first screen,” where millennials turn first to view shared videos or binge watch a show. Broadcast is not going away any time soon, but erosion of the revenue base has begun.

Broadcast is a “heavy-iron” industry built on expensive, purpose-built equipment housed in climate-controlled, fortified technology palaces. Mobile, on the other hand, is produced and distributed “in the cloud.” Broadcast demands the highest in quality and reliability often under the guidance of highly trained staff commanding premium wages. Mobile is often lower-quality, lightly produced content automatically curated and processed based on metadata, without human intervention.

Broadcasters are hopping on the cloud bandwagon hoping to challenge mobile with technology, but they need to understand that switching technology alone does not ensure success. Changing business models are also necessary to remain competitive in a marketplace where the rules have changed.

Virtual reality and 360 video have been the summer craze. Everyone has been creating VR video, proclaiming VR to be the next big thing. That may come about someday, but current platforms are still in their infancy, and there is work to be done.

The UHD and ATSC 3.0 standards are in the final stages of approval and are seen as springboards launching broadcast into a new era of media, but the real win that these efforts bring to the media community is a common infrastructure based on everyday IT networking technology: IP will most likely play a role in delivering content.

The Spectrum Auctions and drones have kept the regulators in Washington busy through the year. The FCC continues with a second round of the reverse auction with hopes that it will attain the bandwidth target. The FAA also published the long-awaited guidelines for drone-pilot qualifications and operating parameters.

SVG is active across all of these topics. From formal working groups like the Sports Asset Management and Storage Committee, Sports Production Safety Group, and DTV Audio Group to the Venue and College Initiatives, colleagues and vendors discuss common problems and seek solutions to help your business. Aside from technical matters, SVG is actively promoting diversity and women’s initiatives across the industry to grow and enrich your business. No other industry organization has the breadth and depth of dedicated industry professionals working together on current challenges.

I hope that you find your SVG membership a rewarding experience, not only for the information gleaned from the SVG Insider newsletter and www.sportsvideo.org, but also from the quality of attendees that you meet at SVG events. It is your interest and participation that make this organization successful. I am honored to serve as your chairman and vow to strive for continued excellence serving its members, sponsors, and the organization.