This week,Economists Say Recession is Over – What was it Like for the Broadcast Industry? the Wall Street Journal reported that the National Bureau of Economic Research, the arbiter of the start and end dates of a recession, determined that the US recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009.
I am not sure these dates match up with the reality in the broadcast industry, since 2008 was a banner year for most of the industry with the US elections and the Beijing Olympics. Still, there’s no doubt that the industry has been in recession for some time, and we are now being told that it’s over — officially at least.
Whether you believe that the recession is over or not, there’s no denying that times have been tough in the broadcast industry over the past couple of years.
Broadcast technology budgets were hard hit by the global downturn, which in turn impacted the supplier community. For the past 18 months, vendor after vendor has reported that their sales are down due to the reigning-in of spending by customers. During this time technology providers have been impacted severely. Many have reported losses and have gone through painful rounds of layoffs. Some businesses have liquidated, and there has been a marked uptick in industry consolidation.
To find out how broadcast technology budgets were impacted by the recession, we asked a series of in-depth questions to a global sample of broadcast technology professionals as part of the 2010 Big Broadcast Survey (BBS). (The BBS, which is conducted annually by Devoncroft Partners, is the largest and most comprehensive study of the broadcast industry. More than 5,600 people participated in the 2010 study).
Regional comparison of broadcast technology budgets in 2010
As seen in the chart below, broadcast technology spending in EMEA held up better than in the Americas, which was hit particularly hard by the recession. 40% of respondents from the Americas reported that their budgets for 2010 were lower than in the previous year.
Significantly, Asian markets showed the most budget growth in 2010 with nearly 60% of respondents reporting that they planned to increase their spending on broadcast technology products in 2010. This data is consistent with a recent survey conducted by the IABM and presented last week during a “state of the industry” session at IBC.
Overall the past year or so has been tough for the broadcast industry. In 2010, just 34% of respondents reported that their broadcast technology budgets had increased versus the previous year. 32% reported that their budgets had stayed about the same, and 28% reported that their budgets had decreased, including 8% of respondents who said that their spending had declined by more than 30%.
However, the indications are that the outlook for 2011 is better. The question everyone wants to know is: when spending returns, where will money be spent?
Traditionally, in the broadcast industry, major projects drive technology budgets, which in turn drive product purchase. To help readers better understand how major projects are impacting technology spending, I recently wrote an article called Where is Money Being Spent in the Broadcast Industry? — A Review of Major Projects Being Planned, which provides some insight into broadcast CapEx on a global basis.
In it, I showed the major projects that are being planned and budgeted for by more than 3,000 broadcast processionals – including radio and TV broadcasters, cable/satellite/IPTV operators, playout centers, post production facilities, and cable programmers.
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