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Audio Market “In Midst of Radical Transition,” IABM Finds

Finds ever-increasing emphasis on efficiency at radio stations and other organizations

In the world of audio, we can expect virtualization and the automation of workflows to be a bigger focus in years to come.

This is one of the conclusions of a report from IABM, an international trade association for suppliers of broadcast and media technology. It is the first time the association has put out standalone report about the audio sector.

The report is for its members, but the association released a summary of highlights. Quoting directly from IABM:

  • Audio — as with video — is transitioning to IP to leverage its potential benefits in terms of efficiency, flexibility, remote production and immersive audio;
  • To date, deployment of AoIP has been slow, with a hybrid approach being favored;
  • AES67 is seen as a positive development;
  • Multiple standards continue to be used in the audio industry;
  • Virtualization and automation of workflows were identified as a major focus for the future;
  • Immersive audio is still very much in its infancy in most sectors;
  • Drive for simpler and more cost-effective products as budgets continue to be squeezed;
  • Rise of streaming platforms and content investment impacting technology development;
  • In contrast, television and radio broadcasters’ budgets are being squeezed, leading to a sharp focus on efficiency.

IABM said the report shows that efficiency is “an ever more important driver in the audio sector — doing more with less, together with a requirement for technology that is easier to use for less skilled operators. The push for efficiency is driving a shift to virtual consoles, with remote production features also becoming increasingly important for the same reason.”

It quoted Lorenzo Zanni, the association’s head of insight and analysis, saying the need for increased efficiency, combined with changing skillsets at customer organizations, are the biggest drivers in the audio business. He said that increased programming investment and the proliferation of distribution platforms used by organizations, including radio stations, makes efficiency even more important. “Rising requirements, flat budgets, and technology developments have also driven pricing down, but the requirement for highest quality audio remains.”

IABM said it based this report on public and private financial data of audio technology buyers, such as radio stations; interviews with audio technology businesses; survey evidence; and secondary sources such as news, announcement and earnings calls.

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