Image capture and content creation is a dynamic market that has transformed over the past decade and is continuing to change. Technology innovation and social media have driven the "democratisation" of content creation and consumption, and a sustained demand for new and replacement products.
Multiple new image capture devices plus
Imaging technology has continued to improve. Many different devices now enable customers to capture the moment.
In the cine and broadcast markets, most cameras now film in 4K and have high quality recording capabilities. In the professional photography market, many cameras can shoot video as well as stills. There has also been the emergence of small, lighter interchangeable cameras, known as compact system or mirrorless cameras.
Continued technological enhancements mean that premium mirrorless cameras, drones, action cameras and smartphones have been adopted by customers as complementary equipment to traditional DSLR cameras. However, the built-in viewfinders and audio in drones, action cameras and smartphones are not high quality. Using small viewfinders makes it difficult to monitor the shot and poor audio deteriorates the video.
This has opened up further opportunities for Vitec to develop and commercialise innovative products that enable a creative to obtain the best results. Technology has enabled streaming of content to mobile devices and for viewfinders to be Organic Light-Emitting Diode (“OLED”) to enable monitoring on high quality screens. Creative Solutions has led the market with OLED and daylight viewable monitors. Imaging Solutions has developed a comprehensive range of products designed for use with mirrorless cameras such as Manfrotto Befree and Gitzo tripods, and JOBY compact tripods, lights and microphones for smartphones.
Proliferation of new media platformsplus
Proliferation of new media and growth of third party streaming applications has resulted in a significant increase in video consumption, and thus video creation.
Creatives must deliver content to more platforms and devices than ever before to build brand awareness and retain their audience. Free streaming platforms such as YouTube Live allow content creators to stream live to mobile devices.
In addition, online platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as new players like Apple, continue to increase spending on original content. To encourage subscriptions, these platforms have invested in high production values akin to traditional films.
This has driven the growth of independent and owner/operator producers and of traditional production companies that typically purchase or rent equipment. These smaller production companies and ICCs require more affordable products.
Our products are designed to meet the needs of these ICCs and companies producing premium content for streaming productions.
Vitec provides a wide range of mobile equipment such as Manfrotto and JOBY compact tripods and monopods, Litepanels portable lights and Manfrotto and Lowepro carrying solutions, while Teradek’s wireless video transmission systems are used to monitor video on set.
Wireless video transmissionplus
Growth in the use of wireless devices to transmit data and images on “connected devices”, whether through WiFi, cellular networks or proprietary video networks.
The cost-effectiveness, flexibility, range and quality of video data encoders, decoders and related components allows users to monitor and transmit at increasingly lower cost and improved workflow. The flexibility that wireless video gives in creating interesting content from new angles, together with the cost savings from reduced labour will encourage the wider adoption of wireless cameras.
Our acquisition of Amimon secured the underlying technology that is used in our existing Teradek encoders and decoders for the cine market. We are also transferring the Amimon technology to other areas of the "image capture and content creation" market to stimulate the wider adoption of wireless - for example, in live production and broadcast sports.
Changes in distribution channelsplus
Continued growth in digital distribution channels and online retailers for products for photographers, videographers and independent content creators.
This has stimulated increased 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.
As well as pure e-tailers such as Amazon and JD.com, established outlets such as B&H Photo and Video also have a strong online presence.
As a result, there has been a decline in the number of photo speciality stores and consolidation among consumer electronics stores as they seek to reduce costs to compete with pure e-tailers.
Imaging Solutions has adapted to the change in distribution channels by transforming our digital and e-commerce capabilities. In 2019, over one-third of its revenue came from online platforms.
Further technology innovationplus
4K resolution adoption has increased rapidly, with Netflix, Amazon, Sky and Apple all offering 4K Ultra HD streaming services, and advances in 5G, Artificial Intelligence ("AI") and Virtual Reality ("VR") are revolutionising amateur photography.
As adoption grows around the globe, studios and video cameras are being upgraded with new technology resulting in increased demand for our high end products and software to accommodate the new formats.
The adoption of 4K video technology to both DSLR and compact system cameras is attracting a growing number of creatives 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.
Vitec recently launched the world's first 4K zero delay wireless video transmission system for the cine market and will launch a complete 4K eco-system including SmallHD monitors later this year. We have launched multiple new smartphonography accessories under the JOBY brand to enhance photo/video capabilities.
Exciting and unusual contentplus
Content creators are increasingly keen on novel viewing angles to capture innovative and differentiated content.
Traditional broadcasters and rights holders, such as the Olympic Broadcasting Services, welcome the opportunity to feature original shots. This can enable them to differentiate their content from other broadcasters and to increase viewing figures.
News crews need to be able to capture the moment by deploying their equipment quickly and efficiently. Independent content creators are keen to deploy new tools such as sliders, gimbals and drones to make their content more interesting by using, for example, time-lapses and hyper-lapses.
Vitec has pioneered the use of specialist high motion cameras in sports events like the Olympics Games and we are capitalising on Rycote's audio expertise to develop innovative audio products.
Vitec's carbon fibre flowtec tripod is popular for electronic new gathering and with independent content creators. It allows much faster and easier camera deployment to capture the moment.
Vitec's acquisition of Syrp adds sliders and motion control capabilities to the Group. This will enable us to develop products that offer "stabilisation" such as gimbals.