IBC insights: Evolving around content

By Paul Shanley

Our director of international business development and partnerships attended the annual IBC conference and noticed the increasing importance of curation in a world full of content.

Conferences like IBC can be overwhelming. Fourteen halls, all with huge stands promoting technologies that for a lot of us differ only in their difficulty to understand.

Walking around, it was difficult to know where to start in order to make sense of the latest trends, innovations and improvements. Yet the more people I met and the more I explored, the clearer the main takeaway from the conference became to me. I needed to look no further than the sign hanging above the AP ENPS stand — “Content Everywhere.”

Content chaos

No matter who you are or where you are, it’s highly likely that you are awash with content — as well as in a good position to create it. The news market has been disrupted for some time now with a wealth of user-generated content. It has never been easier to create and share at just the click of a button, regardless of whether you are a BBC journalist or a person on the street with an iPhone.

In 2014, I gave a presentation where I predicted that within three years every company will be a media company. A year on and I now realise that I didn’t take that statement far enough. What I should have said is that every person will be a media company.

I talked with organisations such as Livestream, LiveU and Dejero, who all offer a range of products — from professional streaming services for global news providers like AP to iPhone and Android apps for the commonly referenced citizen journalist.

Lou Ferrara

Newzulu, who claim over 100,000 citizen journalists regularly contribute content to their B2C and B2B distribution platforms, had a strong presence at the event. They demonstrated their Uberesque app, which can recognise the proximity of members of their network to breaking news and send them quickly to cover events as they happen, all by their iPhones.

GoPro, who were demonstrating their new virtual reality camera, are also fresh off the launch of their short-form video content distribution platform. They’re looking to utilise the power of their community of GoPro enthusiasts, from extreme sports professionals to enthusiastic travellers, to contribute content that they then sell via their online platform.

Making connections

I also spent quite some time at the Newtek stand discussing the other paradigm shift that looks to accelerate this content chaos further – the shift of workflows from SDI to IP. At its broadest level, this means that production workflows will be connected to every computer and cell phone in the world. Dr Andrew Cross, President of Newtek, describes this change as “a rare watershed moment in our industry when everything shifts and pivots in fundamental ways that change it forever.”

Essentially, all of AP’s customers and our customers’ customers are now connected to each other in ever increasing ways, even if they don’t always know it.

What does it all mean for AP?

So amongst this chaos and interconnectivity, the question that came into my mind is “Where does AP fit in?”

Our customers are being inundated with content, some of which comes for free. They’re working more closely with each other, creating regional content exchanges and accessing content from multiple networks of professionals, semi-professionals, amateurs and people on the street. At the same time they’re being asked to do more with the content, across more platforms, with more formats – but with less money.

In this world of content chaos, our mission and editorial expertise should be more important than ever. As an organisation we will continue to evolve, as we have always done. But our fundamental role in the modern environment of content could and should stay the same.

If Google’s mission to organise the world’s information is perfectly fitted to this modern world of content chaos, then our mission to tell the story the world needs to hear has never been more important. And as more and more content — whether video, text, photos, live, 3D, 4K, 8K, virtual reality or radio — is pushed at our customers, that curation of the world’s events — and that journalistic expertise and context that helps to make sense of it all — will be crucial.

Paul Shanley

Paul is the director of international business development and partnerships for The Associated Press. He drives the global strategy for AP Video Hub as well as a number of other products, focusing on revenue growth and customer engagement.

technology, insights, newsroom production software