Cautious optimism returns to the industry

By Robert Briel
November 18, 2009 10.14 UK

Suppliers to the broadcast and media technology industry start to regain some confidence in the market going forward, as the global economic situation starts to ease, according to the industry trends survey undertaken by Ernst & Young LLP in association with IABM, who represent broadcast and media technology suppliers worldwide.

In this survey, undertaken in October 2009, 50% of respondents felt that the last quarter of 2009 would be better than the quarter just ended and only 7% felt it would be worse. Going one step further, the growth in confidence for the year ahead shows 65% of respondents expecting an improvement and just 6% predicting a worse situation than now. Looking forward six months to the spring of 2010, there is certainly more optimism apparent, with 62% of respondents believing that things are going to improve and 35% expecting the situation to remain the same. This reflects a marked growth in confidence compared to the previous survey in May 2009.

Order volumes showed some improvement in the third quarter of 2009 but order values showed less of an increase, suggesting a likely increase in prices and competition and a consequent downward pressure on order values. Customer deferrals are still commonplace and this continues to be the single largest inhibiting factor to order growth with 48% of respondents citing this as a major barrier to growth. As with the last survey in May 2009, the availability of credit or finance continues to the biggest constraint on the fulfillment of orders. Although apparently slightly less of an issue than in the last survey, 26% of respondents still pointed to this as an inhibiting factor.

On an encouraging note, the survey suggested that the headcount situation may be stabilising with shrinkage having appeared to stop. In fact the survey points to the availability of skills and staff as an inhibitor to growth becoming more of an issue.

The IABM Industry Trends Survey analysis is based on a confidential survey of IABM member companies