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news and views on broadcast and professional video/audio sectors, worldwide

w/e June 10, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2007


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Broadcast technology market softens

Suppliers of broadcast and media technology products and services are still very confident about the short and medium term future, according to last quarter’s the trade association IABM’s Trends Survey. Those showing increased confidence for the next quarter outnumber those showing reduced confidence by 4:1. This increases to 6:1 for the year ahead compared to the previous year. Despite this buoyant feeling the ratios have softened noticeably from the previous survey.

Survey respondents indicated a weakening of export orders in Western Europe, although more than 40 per cent said order books were as expected with the remainder split equally, indicating orders better or worse than expected. In the previous quarter, those seeing better than expected orders outnumbered those seeing fewer orders by more than 2:1.

IABM CEO Roger Crumpton explained: "Project deferrals and the dollar exchange rate are impacting the sector. European manufacturers are finding it tougher in US dollar denominated markets and this is beginning to show through in order books. It will take a while before recent currency movements work through the entire supply chain"

Selling prices remained constant over the last quarter with 75 per cent of participants reporting no increase or decrease. Costs are creeping up slightly faster than expected but margins overall seem to be reasonably robust

Euro IPTV to double

At the end of 2006, Europe held the largest IPTV market share. For the four largest continental countries, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the number of IPTV users in 2005 has doubled to some 1.65 million at the end of 2006. But that still accounts for less than 2 per cent of the total TV watchers in those countries. Yet even with a limited subscriber base, IPTV is indeed the fastest growing TV platform among the existing legacy platforms, such as CATV and satellite, according to market research firm InfoCom.

Other European countries where IPTV has been launched Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK account for some 550 000 IPTV users at the end of 2006, bringing the total number of subscribers in Europe to about 2.2 million. By the end of 2007, it could be expected that the number of IPTV users reach some 4.5 million.

The largest IPTV market is France accounting for over 60 per cent of the subscriber base among the four countries where a specific competitive situation has been pushing broadband services with high speeds and advanced applications. In France, IPTV has already started as early as 2003 and evolved to about 1 million subscribers at the end of 2006. A figure that could top to some 1.6 million subscribers by the end of 2007. The second largest market is Spain, accounting for some 450 000 subscribers at the end of 2006, projected to soar to about 1 million by the end of 2007. In Germany, the IPTV market is sluggish due to the absence of competitive price offers. Optimistically, the German IPTV market could represent some 700 000 subscribers by end-2007, more likely some 250 000. In Italy the number of IPTV subscribers was about 200 000 at the end of 2006, a number that could be set to double by the end of 2007.

At the end of 2006, on 42.5 million broadband connections in the four markets, IPTV users represented only 4 per cent of all broadband subscribers. By the end of 2007, with over 47 million broadband subscribers expected, IPTV users could double its share to about 8 per cent.

IPTV equipment revenue Q1 tops $158m

According to a new quarterly report published by research firm iLocus, IPTV equipment sales revenue touched $158m in the first quarter of 2007. The product categories tracked in the report include IP set-top boxes, IPTV Middleware(server side), IPTV Encoders and IPTV VoD servers.

An estimated 978,868 IP Set top boxes were shipped in Q1 2007, thereby generating revenue of $108.3m worldwide. Cisco (former Scientific-Atlanta product line) emerged as leader in this category. Motorola and Amino grabbed second and third positions respectively in Q1 2007.

The report further reveals that an estimated 863,750 IPTV Middleware server licences were shipped in Q1 2007 thereby generating revenues of $19.1m. Thomson led the market followed by Cascade.

Q1 2007 saw the IPTV Encoder market touching $17.3m, whereas the IPTV VOD segment generated $13.2m in the same quarter. Tandberg emerged as a clear leader in the IPTV Encoder market. Harmonic grabbed No. 1 position in IPTV VOD segment in Q1 2007.

The other key findings of the report reveal that the worldwide IPTV subscriber base touched almost four million as of March 2007. According to iLocus, the most successful IPTV operators include PCCW, France Telecom and Free, with a subscriber base of 833,000, 768,000 and 680,000 respectively as of March 2007.

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Hearst-Argyle Tv Reaches Agreement With Google and YouTube

Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., Google Inc. and YouTube, announced an agreement to distribute and monetize select Hearst-Argyle television content with Google and YouTube. Starting immediately, local Hearst-Argyle television stations in five local markets -- Boston; Manchester, N.H.; Sacramento; Pittsburgh; and Baltimore -- will begin posting local video content to dedicated Channels on YouTube.

"This innovative deal with Google and YouTube fits perfectly within our overall digital strategy of distributing our content on all three screens -- the TV, the PC and the mobile phone," said Terry Mackin, Executive Vice President of Hearst-Argyle Television. "We have invested significant resources in our growing digital media efforts. With Google and YouTube, we can now better engage users and advertisers with our award-winning local video content and with new user-generated content while further broadening our reach beyond the boundaries of our media markets."

"We're constantly looking at innovative ways to not only bring the YouTube community the best content out there, but also to find ways to bring them the most relevant programming," said Jordan Hoffner, Head of Premium Content Partnerships for YouTube. "Local creates relevance and this agreement will ultimately deliver Hearst-Argyle's programming to an even broader audience looking for local content. We look forward to continue working with the Hearst-Argyle team as we launch new products and services on the local level." The Hearst-Argyle YouTube Channels will be populated with news, weather, and entertainment videos as well as with original, local television programming such as "Chronicle," on WCVB, one of New England's most honored television programs. YouTube will also serve as a platform to support Hearst-Argyle's new digital video initiatives including high school football, basketball and local amateur entertainment.

Sinclair Broadcast Group & COX Communications Reach Retransmission Agreement

Cox Communications, Inc. and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announced that they have reached a 4-year retransmission consent agreement, including high-definition programming. The agreement provides for the carriage by cable systems owned by Cox of nine television station signals in six markets owned by Sinclair, servicing approximately 1.25 million unique subscribers.

"With this transaction, Sinclair has now completed long-term retransmission consent agreements with all major multiple system operators in our markets, ensuring cable subscribers in our markets will continue to receive some of the most popular programs on television," stated David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair. "Our agreement with Cox, which includes mutually acceptable economic arrangements and an exchange of value, again demonstrates the value of broadcast television to alternative delivery systems."

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LIN TV & VMIX in Video Partnership

LIN TV Corp., a television, digital media and online news organization that owns and/or operates 29 television stations and websites, and VMIX, an interactive media, video hosting and social networking company, nnounced an agreement to showcase user-generated videos, photos, audio, blogs, ratings, polls, and other community-driven content and features on LIN TV’s station Internet sites, as well as future portals and micro-sites in planning.

“The partnership with VMIX enables us to harness the power of our loyal viewer-base and their creativity in user-generated content to deliver breaking news, community information, and entertainment to our growing online audiences and interact with them in an entirely new way,” said Vincent Sadusky, president and chief executive officer of LIN TV. “This is a significant milestone for our company and further advances our strategic vision of leading the industry in the convergence of local broadcast television and digital innovations.”

“VMIX is pleased to provide LIN TV with the tools to engage their online video community through interactive new media options that position the company as a pioneer in the industry,” said Greg Kostello, founder and chief executive officer of VMIX Media. “By harnessing LIN TV’s online viewers, VMIX will provide a whole new level of participation to media consumers and aid LIN TV to seamlessly merge local broadcast television and the Web.”

LG to Push 1080p HDTV

LG Electronics launched a new advertising campaign to entice more Americans to buy 1080p High-Definition TVs, according to an article by Dealerscope.

The publication says LG plans to spend $25 million on the campaign, which will include TV spots during today's network morning shows and tonight's airing of ER on NBC. The ads will include a golf theme and a bobsledding segment, according to Dealerscope.

LG will follow up the TV commercials with several print, outdoor and online ads that feature the theme, "Don't Just Watch It, Live It."

Several TV makers are aggressively pushing new 1080p high-def sets in an effort to increase their profit per unit sale. While most HDTV prices have fallen in the past year, the 1080p set is still priced relatively high. The TV makers are attempting to create the perception that 1080p is 'Full HD,' meaning it will offer the best picture resolution.

However, no cable or broadcast network is currently offering any programming in 1080p. The only content available in 1080p are high-def discs from Blu-ray and HD DVD.

“For the retailers, we’re doing some of the heavy lifting for them by helping to demystify 1080p to the consumer,” Allan Jason, vice president of CE marketing for LG U.S., told Dealerscope. “We’re trying to show it in a humorous, family oriented and fun way. We want to humanize the whole HD experience.”

LG recently launched a new line of 13 LCD and Plasma 1080p high-def sets, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $6,000.

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Chyron Delivers First Web-Based Content Distribution Service for Its ChyTV Digital Signage Players

Chyron Corporation, a leading provider of broadcast graphics software for the world's television broadcasters, announced the release of web-based content distribution services for Dynamic Digital Signage Networks. The new service works exclusively with Chyron’s ChyTV Dynamic Digital Signage Player product line.

According to John Remmler, Chyron’s VP for ChyTV, this technology represents “A major shift in paradigm for Digital Signage Networks,” in that “for the first time an enterprise deployment of digital signage can be achieved with a minimum of technical hurdles.”

Minuk Choi, Principal Developer of the service, points out that “Setup of a player unit on the web-based service is automatic and takes less than 2 minutes. ChyTV Player Devices ‘pull’ content from the web-based server, thus eliminating firewall issues and maximizing security.” He further explains that “Content is sent to the web-based server from any computer on the Internet and ChyTV players poll the server for changes to the content and remain synchronized. The service can even back-haul as-played log data for verification purposes.”

This simplified architecture requires no dedicated Network Operations Center (NOC) to create a large enterprise signage deployment. In addition, integrates third-party data services offering access to news, sports, weather and other on-line feeds. “Digital Signage Network Operators have been awaiting a simple-to-use solution and this technology should have a major impact on the number and quality of networks deployed,” explains Michael Wellesley-Wesley, Chyron President and CEO.

Apple Updates MacBook Pro

Apple has updated its MacBook(R) Pro line of notebooks with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, memory up to 4GB, and high-speed graphics in a lightweight, aluminum enclosure that is just one-inch thin. The new MacBook Pro is available in 15-inch models with a new mercury-free, power-efficient LED-backlit display and a 17-inch model with an optional high-resolution display. All models include a built-in iSight(R) video camera for video conferencing on-the-go, Apple's MagSafe(R) Power Adapter that safely disconnects when under strain, and built-in 802.11n wireless networking for up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g.

"With Intel Core 2 Duo performance, more memory and state-of-the-art graphics, this MacBook Pro is a portable powerhouse for creative and professional users," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Apple's notebooks have always led the industry in innovation with features like built-in 802.11 and the MagSafe Power Adapter, and now the industry's first 15-inch LED-backlit display is another step toward completely eliminating mercury from our displays."

The new MacBook Pro models are now shipping and will be available through the Apple Store(R) (, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 2.2 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, sells for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US).

Avid Claims Widespread Adoption of Avid Unity in Education Market

Avid Technology announced that educational institutions are widely adopting Avid Unity™ Media Network systems to save time and money when building shared-media labs that enable students to work collaboratively on film, broadcast and media projects. Recent educational facilities to invest in Avid Unity systems – or upgrade their existing systems – include Beverly Hills High School, Brevard County Public Schools, Borough of Manhattan Community College, BYU, Chapman University, College of the North Atlantic, Columbia College, Full Sail, Nashoba Valley Technical High School, NYU and USC.

Designed to allow users to simultaneously store, access, and share assets in collaborative workgroup environments, Avid Unity systems integrate seamlessly into the production and post production processes to deliver real-time, high-resolution media to creative workstations. Within an educational setting, Avid Unity systems allow educators to easily distribute coursework, review student projects from any workstation and deploy fewer costly resources, such as decks and broadcast monitors. Additionally, Avid Unity systems offer stable performance in demanding educational environments; ease of administration; scalability; and seamless interoperability with a suite of asset management, media transferring, transcoding, and archiving tools.

“Avid Unity is a critical part of our entire workflow here,” said Dave Franko, program director of the Film Degree at Full Sail – one of the leading film schools in the United States that relies heavily on Avid Unity systems for its program. “Whether our students are learning the craft of editing on Avid Media Composer® or advanced techniques on Avid DS Nitris®, Avid Unity plays a key role in the projects that all of our students are working on. It allows us to support many projects at the same time, in real time. Many of our clients are spread across our campus and need the ability to work on multiple projects from multiple stations.”

Beverly Hills High School recently installed an Avid Unity system with an Avid AirSpeed® playout server to assist in the production of programs for its student-run news station, KBEV. Currently the longest-running high school news program in the country, KBEV airs programming to all residents of Beverly Hills, California. Media Director of KBEV Romeo Carey, said, “The biggest reason we decided to invest in the Avid Unity and AirSpeed systems was to save time and money. The students are able to work much more efficiently and we’ve received great feedback from the community on the quality of the production. It was also important for us to teach them on Avid’s industry-standard tools.”

Norm Hollyn, associate professor and editing track head at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts also views Avid Unity to be an essential part of the school’s program. “We teach many things at USC in addition to the aesthetics of filmmaking, and collaboration and real-world practices rank at the top of the list. Avid Unity enables us to teach both of these effortlessly – to share media on projects, use collaborative workflows, and get a real-world sense of how to efficiently and creatively speed the editing process without compromising artistry. In fact, there are several classes here that couldn’t be taught without shared storage.”

Patrick McLean, Avid’s senior market manager for education said, “The needs of educators play a huge role in how we develop our products. And, while Avid editing systems are the first choice for the majority of educational institutions with film or television programs, there are often other tools in the mix. The Avid OSI (Open Storage Initiative) makes it possible for customers to leverage Avid Unity as the shared-storage foundation for teaching collaborative workflows, using a variety of content creation applications.”

Academic institutions interested in learning more about Avid Unity systems can take an interactive tour of an Avid shared media lab by visiting:

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Fast Forward Video Appoints New President and CEO

Fast Forward Video announced the appointment of Hal J. Reisiger as the company's new president and CEO.

Reisiger comes to Fast Forward Video from Enhanced Vision Systems, where he served as president for four years. Under his leadership, Enhanced Vision Systems' annual revenues more than tripled and its market value increased sixfold while winning accolades for innovative new digital optical magnification systems for the legally blind and visually impaired. From 1999 to 2002, Reisiger was president of Burkert Contromatic, a U.S. subsidiary of Germany's Burkert GmbH & Co., a manufacturer of valves, sensors, and automation systems.

Reisiger began his career at Haskel International, an international manufacturer of pumps, valves, and gas compressors, where he began as an application engineer and served in several sales management positions before being appointed vice president of operations.

"Hal's experience in taking companies to the next level in terms of manufacturing efficiency, global reach, and innovation is second to none and qualifies him superbly to take the helm as Fast Forward moves into a new and exciting stage of growth," said Paul De Keyser, founder of Fast Forward Video. "Hal's appointment as Fast Forward's president and CEO is further testimony to our commitment to developing strong and enduring customer relationships and delivering the highest level of value with product solutions that exceed our customers' expectations."

"Fast Forward's innovative DVR technology is helping change the way people experience the world, and companies such as Pixar, ESPN, and the U.S. Special Forces have come to rely on Fast Forward for the capture of high-quality video any time and anywhere," Reisiger said. "I'm gratified to have the opportunity to lead this organization as it continues to expand the capabilities of its products, extend the reach of their applications, and deliver value to all its stakeholders."

Reisiger will be based at Fast Forward's Irvine headquarters.

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