Sustainability, Stability and Reality in 2018:
A Year of Development and Opportunity for the Committed
If you aren’t across the relationship re-alignments currently taking place in our industry you must have just woken from a long coma, and there is every indication the landscape is far from settled.
Maybe the current experience is a natural correction that needed to happen, and as the cliché goes, the cream rises to the top. Many industry participants are impacted, some more than others, therefore fortuitous is the only way to describe the timing of the ACETA inaugural convention, an environment for stimulating development, change and the realisation of abundant opportunity resident in a new landscape.
Whether it is the acoustics applied in an ancient Greek amphitheatre, the stage mechanics of a Shakespearian theatre, the ability to capture and broadcast thanks to the discovery of electricity that also gave us light, and the arrival of the digital age, enabling technology has been with us since the dawn of entertainment.
At its very core, entertainment technology is far from generic or derivative and regardless of intervening factors, our industry remains as unique today as it was at its origins.
By its very nature our industry is a definitive people business, best led by passion, commitment, those interested in the technology and an understanding of its innate culture along with requisite leadership skills that care for others.
History shows that those who target our industry motivated only by high financial returns will inevitably fail, due the fact it is not as big and easy as it may seem to those motivated by unsustainable aspirations.
Three distinct groups are served by ACETA, manufacturers, manufacturer’s representatives (members) and service providers (associate members), whose needs are addressed equally, as realised in the program format at the upcoming convention. The current relationship upheaval is centred on manufacturer’s representatives who confront the challenges of sustainability, borderless trading and satisfying suppliers.
Part of the current re-alignment can be attributed to unrealistic expectations of manufacturers compounded by local representatives with little understanding of market reality in servicing existing responsibilities and seeking new ones.
With the propensity for both sides to over-estimate, it is worth noting that with the new and developing markets in Asia, the Sub-Continent and Middle East, Australia can now be considered somewhere around 1.5% of international entertainment technology consumption.
Whilst the canny industry veteran has an innate sense of market realities, they nonetheless speculate, assume and rely on information provided by vested interest.
The number of market reports are increasing, but are they fact based or self-serving, is there sector crossover and duplication? We are told that the worldwide ‘Virtual Reality’ market will be worth around USD 30 billion in 2020 and what does that mean?
We were recently advised that the international Sound Reinforcement market would soon hit USD 9 billion. We have seen sound reinforcement installations described as AV Integration (where there is no V only A), broadcast rooms described as AV Integration when we use to call it a studio, no need to get to bent out of shape here as long as we maintain relevance, understand and sing from the same page.
In summary, misinformation, no information and vested interest reports create unrealistic expectations, sabotage brands, and place unnecessary pressure on representatives.
The recent ACETA manufacturers survey has been well accepted and put to good and broad use. Why? It was fact based and the vested interest was reality, only really possible conducted by and for the industry by its peak body, but more important it was technology and not market sector based, providing clearer lines of demarcation and accuracy.
Whilst this survey has provided specific information on the creative sector and will be used as an aid to export, it also looks likely to bring about corporate amalgamation and acquisition to increase overall strength and provide international impetus to those creators who wish to succeed overseas.
Interest in this process has already been expressed and will be facilitated at the convention, once again another opportunity of significance.
Following its release many manufacturers representative members put forward the notion of conducting a similar fact-based survey for the import sector, to establish a more realistic understanding of the nature and size of our domestic market.
No doubt a successful survey outcome would provide a valuable resource to assist budgeting, reduce poor decision making, alleviate stress and the need for distributors to defend their position, often an exercise in futility.
ACETA will indeed investigate the potential for a domestic market survey to benefit our distributor members, providing we can guarantee a fact and not opinion-based process. In addition, it will most likely need to be technology and not market sector based to ensure clear boundaries are established and all entertainment technology sectors are accurately portrayed.
Import statistics are not comprehensive enough for such an initiative, therefore we will need to explore other processes, however it will be addressed at, and leading up to the convention.
Finally, the needs of the service provider sector are now extremely well covered at the convention, where relevant health, safety and rigging codes (including ICOPER) will be presented with the aim of increasing compliance and standards, adopting codes and maybe, just maybe realising the format for an accreditation / certification system that will elevate those who care and marginalise those who don’t.
That’s it for now and All the best.
Frank Hinton, President ACETA