Watch out NAB Show 2022 – the top five media technology buying trends from Caretta Research

Guest blog by Robert Ambrose at Caretta Research

The way media technology is being bought and sold is changing radically as the media industry shifts to streaming and super-aggregation, reacts to the pandemic and exploits cloud and SaaS. Media tech vendors need to respond rapidly to this changing market if they’re to stay competitive and relevant.

At Caretta Research, we’ve spent the last eighteen months talking with media technology professionals across the industry about exactly how their approach to buying and selling has changed.

We’ve seen recurring themes rising to the top of most of our discussions with technology buyers. Yet these aren’t always part of vendor strategies when they go-to-market with their products and services. Over the coming years we expect these themes to drive even more substantial changes in the way technology is offered to the media and entertainment industry.

Here are the five key trends we’ve identified: 

  1. Problem solving drives media tech spend: the need to solve specific problems is now the main driver of spending. Technology buyers are no longer planning big cyclical, annual budgets for long-term projects. Investment has shifted towards solving specific problems at the time when the need arises and in a very targeted manner. Smaller, more frequent projects, avoiding overspending before there is a need.
  2. Buyers want modular, independent technologies: the end is nigh for end-to-end solutions. Technology buyers are moving away fast from monolithic solutions and are fully embracing the flexibility of modular architectures, microservices and integrating their own solutions—while avoiding over-dependency on any one vendor. This has been accelerated by faster project cycles and the rise of  software and SaaS over hardware and managed services.
  3. Cloud-native architecture enables better products: most buyers are now cloud-first in their approach. But it really matters how vendors put products into the cloud. Cloud-native architectures are exploiting serverless tools and services available from public cloud providers. These are delivering multi-tenancy and offering efficient, scalable and cheaper solutions compared with lift-and-shift of an on-prem product into a cloud-based container.
  4. Customers love self-service SaaS: in a relatively short space of time software-as-a-service has become the go-to option for technology buyers—typified by cloud-based multi-tenanted software where costs are based on usage rather than access. Aside from the benefits of flexible contract terms, there is another reason this commercial strategy is winning. Buyers can start small, often with a free trial, and build up. End-users are directly choosing, implementing and scaling services. By the time procurement teams find out these technologies are already embedded as a core part of the workflow.
  5. Buyers evaluate vendors as much as products: the upshot of modular cloud SaaS products is that they are never finished. Development and roadmaps are a continuous process, long gone is the ‘set-and-forget’ attitude to buying hardware or traditional software. Buyers are relying on the promise of the product and the execution by the team rather than whatever is shipped and working on day one. Vendors don’t just need to make friends with their buyers, they need to build trust in their product competence, processes and their ability to follow through

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