Media industry operates on a shoestring IT budget, says BT

The media industry struggles to invest in technology, because investors are concerned with making new television and film content

The media industry struggles to gain investment in technology, because investors are concerned with making television and film content, said a BT executive.

“The media industry is quite crafty,” said Mark Wilson-Dunn, vice-president of BT Media and Broadcast. “It operates on a shoestring from an IT perspective.”

“But if it’s going to buy a fabulous camera, you’re going to spend all of your money on it – it happens across the industry.”

He told Computer Weekly that IT is a secondary consideration in the media industry. He said BT customers are only willing to invest in things that are about making content.

“The industry is a bit like a Hollywood film set,” he added. “Fantastic from the outside, but when you go inside it’s actually held up by bits of wood.”

But Wilson-Dunn said it was not sustainable and there must be more convergence between broadcast and IT technology providers, pointing to the likes of Cisco and the impact it is making in the broadcast world. “While ten years ago they wouldn’t – broadcast was seen as an alien technology.”

During the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Cisco gave the BBC the network capabilities to enable broadcaster to provide ultra-high definition (UHD) over an IP network.

“The industry is moving at such a pace that nothing stays still for very long,” said Wilson-Dunn. “The technology is key to workflow. And the shorter and more efficient you can make that workflow is worth millions of dollars to a TV or film company.”

Integrating a digital workflow into a network is compelling and, using the film industry as an example, he explained the quicker films move onto DVD the better. “If that process takes nine months it’s crippling,” he said. “If you make it three months, happy days and faster time to profit. 

"And if you make it three months it’s also not worth people’s while to pirate it – which is the industry’s biggest issue.”

In November 2104, BT deployed a wireless transmission system for ITN, to rid the news provider of satellite trucks.

The BT Media Live service is a camera-mounted wireless transmission system that enables camera crews to either broadcast direct from their location or transfer footage back to the studios.

Delivered with support from BT’s media and broadcast department, the service will initially centre on London, providing a flexible coverage footprint and enabling it to respond quicker to breaking news stories in the capital.

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