Vitec operates in one of the most exciting global markets; that of image capture and sharing.
This dynamic market has been transformed over the past decade and will continue to change. Driven by social media and technological innovation, image capture and sharing has grown exponentially, with millions of videos and still images taken and shared every day.
1. Increase in video consumption and independent video creation
The proliferation of new media, coupled with the launch and growth of third party streaming applications from Google and Facebook, has resulted in significantly higher content generation, engagement, reach and measurability (via likes, follows, shares and comments).
Newer online platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have rapidly increased their commissioning of original content as opposed to re-transmitting programmes previously aired on the traditional networks. This has led to the expansion of independent production companies set up to produce content for those networks and those production companies purchasing or renting equipment to do so.
Free streaming platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube Live allow content creators in the field (independent and traditional broadcasters) to stream live and publish content on mobile devices. Vitec provides a wide range of mobile production equipment (e.g. Manfrotto monopods and Litepanels portable lights) while Teradek’s Live:Air production suite offers a comprehensive video mixer for iOS devices.
2. High definition transition, Virtual Reality and 360-degree video
4K resolution adoption has increased rapidly with the Rio 2016 Olympics and other sporting events mostly shot and broadcast in 4K Ultra HD, and Netflix and Amazon Prime offering 4K Ultra HD streaming services.
While adoption is growing, with most major television and monitor manufacturers creating products with HDR and 4K support at affordable prices, it is still not yet mainstream. However, this has resulted in studios being upgraded, camera replacement cycles shortening and increased demand for our products. Worldwide, even higher resolutions have been launched, for example, Japan’s pioneering public broadcaster NHK’s world first 8K broadcast.
360-degree video streaming and Virtual Reality (“VR”) applications are expanding rapidly, with many television shows offering “second screen” content online. The industry is supported by investments from companies like Facebook (Oculus), HTC (Vive), Samsung (Gear VR), Sony (PlayStation VR) as well as platforms such as YouTube 360. Vitec has developed ground breaking products in this area, with, for example, Teradek’s award winning Sphere VR which converts the flat, rectangular views from multiple cameras into an immersive, virtual, 360-degree world, and streams that wirelessly to tablets, phones and the web.
3. Broadcasters’ capital expenditure
Broadcasters’ ability and willingness to incur capital expenditure on the construction or refurbishment of studios depends partly on their financial performance.
Those broadcasters funded by subscription income have performed well and expanded with new operations globally. Those broadcasters reliant on advertising expenditure continue to invest in their capabilities but tend to be more susceptible to macroeconomic conditions.
Vitec’s ability to offer products that reduce the capital expenditure requirements of broadcasters and in turn reduce their investment risk, is increasingly attractive, notably through savings offered by our lower cost robotic heads (e.g. Vinten Vantage) and Litepanels LED lighting solutions. The savings and efficiencies offered by LED lighting compared with traditional lighting are significant. There is also a focus on mobile journalism and portable solutions with more bonded cellular broadcasts using products such as Teradek’s Bond. It is not enough to simply create content for broadcast; content must also be made for online audiences, whether that is live streamed or uploaded as “second screen” content.
4. Wireless transmission of data
We see accelerating growth in the use of wireless devices to transmit data and images on “connected devices”, especially through WiFi.
The cost-effectiveness, range and quality of video data encoders, decoders and related components allows users to monitor and transmit at increasingly lower costs. Vitec products, including Litepanels’ use of Bluetooth for remote lighting management, Teradek’s wireless decoders and Manfrotto’s Digital Director, are all evidence of our innovation in new markets and technologies.
5. Video for enterprises
There is a growing demand for high quality video being produced by a variety of non-broadcast enterprises.
- Fortune 1000 businesses wanting to capture and disseminate corporate messages internally, as well as training videos and new product introductions
- Large religious institutions increasingly using video to connect with congregations
- Public addresses and streaming of official meetings, court proceedings and government sessions
- Medical institutions wanting to record healthcare procedures with high quality video
These customers need to light their content, use teleprompters to better tell their story, deploy stable supports to hold and use their cameras, equipment to hold their lights and even backgrounds for their videos. Vitec has built a dedicated team (“VitecEV”) to focus on this market segment, bringing innovative solutions and services to help customers adopt, deploy and increase their use of video.
1. Adoption of new image capture devices
The growing adoption of new image capturing devices by professionals and advanced consumers is an important growth driver for Vitec’s Photographic Division.
Continued technological enhancements, premium mirrorless cameras, drones, VR/360-degree cameras and smartphones have drastically improved image capturing performance and are rapidly being adopted by professionals and advanced consumers as complementary equipment to traditional DSLRs. This has opened up a new opportunity for Vitec to develop and commercialise innovative, high end accessories that enable a competent creative public to obtain the best results from new image capturing technologies.
2. The democratisation of film making
The availability of highly portable hybrid cameras, coupled with the application of dependable WiFi technology, enables an interchangeable lens camera (“ILC”) to support instant content sharing and post-production, responding to the growing need for instant content both at professional and end user level.
We call this the democratisation of content production, a positive trend that is rapidly expanding the addressable market for Vitec and particularly the Manfrotto brand which offers a wide range of hybrid accessories across supports, lighting and carrying equipment.
3. Online distribution channels
The continued growth in online distribution channels for photographic products has continued to stimulate demand from new customers, particularly in emerging economies where e-commerce provides easier and faster access to a wider range of products and tutorial information.
4. Sales of cameras with interchangeable lenses
We are seeing more stability in the ILC market. Towards the end of 2016, production in Japan recovered from the earthquake earlier that year and we are seeing the continued upgrade in sensors and overall specifications of latest generation compact system cameras. This is driving a growing adoption of this format by advanced consumers and professionals alike.
In addition, the application of 4K video technology to both DSLRs and CSCs is attracting a growing number of content creators who can now produce high quality visual content in either still or motion picture formats with highly dependable, portable and affordable equipment. This positive trend is expected to further consolidate with the evolution of 4K into 8K technology which will enable the extraction of high resolution still images from video assets.