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IBC Seeks to Explore Media Transformation

The convention focuses on shifting business models and social issues

When the IBC Show returned last year, it pulled in about 66% of its pre-COVID crowds, drawing 37,000 attendees. 

Most observers considered that a healthy first show after the interruption of the pandemic. But many of those people had their experience soured by serious problems getting home through what some called “chaos” at Schiphol Airport.

The organizers hope for and expect a better conclusion this year. Asked this summer about those travel headaches of 2022, CEO Michael Crimp said the organizers were in touch with airport officials about managing the huge influx of travelers.

“I know that there’s been a lot of investment and there was an independent inquiry to look at the whole situation,” he said. “It seems that they are coming back on their feet. It seems like it’s going to be OK. … From IBC’s point of view, we’re pushing them hard. Schiphol has a long track record of being a great airport and is very accessible to the venue. It wasn’t a small thing that happened last year, and they have a lot of confidence that the investments that they’ve made and the changes they’ve made, including the new CEO, have put them back on their feet.”

IBC 2023’s conference program will be built around three pillars: transformative tech, shifting business models and “people and purpose,” the organizers say.

The show was founded in 1967 by John Tucker of EMI, Tom Mayer of Marconi and John Etheridge of The Rank Organization; the first show was held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. 

The convention now is held regularly at RAI Amsterdam, where it spreads over 13 halls. Participants come from approximately 170 countries.

“IBC is, in my view anyway, the best of the old-school trade shows with a conference in one place and the show floor next to it,” Crimp said. “But this year, we wanted to look at the structure of the event slightly differently.”

That is likely to mean more keynote speeches, breakfasts, roundtables and events in a more intimate environment.

Crimp said the organizers have been “actively listening” to the show’s global community about what they think a modern trade show should be to help shape the event’s future.

“People came out of the pandemic really valuing large-scale events. Three-quarters of the people we spoke to via surveys and focus groups said they see trade shows as the most important platform for sourcing new technologies and products,” he said. 

“People seem to enjoy meeting each other and they really enjoy IBC and they look forward to it. And clearly, they missed it while it wasn’t there.” 

The conference will kick off with an address by Evan Shapiro, a “media universe cartographer” who maps M&E trends and future developments. Shapiro will lead a session called “Plotting the Effects of Disruption.”

The show again will be held at the RAI Amsterdam. (Credit: Marianne Ottemann)

The show’s website says IBC will look to the future of media and entertainment. “Today it is as much about streaming, social media and personal devices as it is about broadcasting, cable and satellite — with next-generation technologies such as 5G, AI and VR/AR emerging fast,” it states.

Indeed few sessions are specifically about radio; the show is heavy with content about video, OTT, streaming, FAST channels and the like, with session titles such as “5G Technology: Convergence With Broadcast,” “Winning Over Gen Alpha” and “Growth in Gaming.” But there are also sessions about DAB+ and audio codecs.

Highlighting the People and Purpose content pillar will be a free IBC Changemakers Program, which started last year and returns on Sept. 17 and 18. These sessions will address topics such as gender equality in broadcasting, advancing sustainability and inclusive tech. The IBC Social Impact Awards will be part of that program.

A range of ticket options is available; these include a new “Premium Pass” that the show promotes as “the ultimate experience for broadcast and content professionals.” It includes access to additional “exclusive events and a networking lounge, delivered in premium style.”

There are also “Owner Programs” put on by the six international bodies behind IBC, including IABM, SMPTE, SCTE, IET, RTS and IEEE.

Show information is available at

Jenny Priestley of TVBEurope and Tom Butts of TV Tech contributed to this story.

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