IBC: a world-leading conference in Amsterdam
Each autumn, almost 60,000 media professionals from more than 170 countries descend on the RAI Amsterdam convention centre. They come for IBC, the international conference and exhibition that encompasses everything from online and mobile media through TV and cinema to entertainment and technology. Held from 13 to 18 September, it is one of the most important events of the industry and has been taking place in Amsterdam since 1992.
IBC visitors can feel right at home in the city. Amsterdam is a haven for companies from the broadcasting and online media sector, with a lively and extensive network featuring big names as well as young disruptors. Netflix is here, and so is Endemol Shine. CBS, Viacom, Warner. TVT Media and BAMTECH. And there’s the nearby Media Park, which routinely breaks down the boundaries between traditional and digital media. They are all part of a bustling ecosystem that includes producers, national and international broadcasters, content creators, app developers, music agencies, pre- and post-production companies… the list goes on.
A reputation for renowned television and film
Amsterdam has always had a talent for TV. It’s produced some of the world’s most-watched programmes. Shows that are now household names all over the world, such as The Voice and Big Brother, were conceived right here in the Dutch capital. But nobody’s resting on any laurels; the city’s already stellar talent pool receives a steady influx from leading institutions such as the Netherlands Film Academy and the New York Film Academy, which offers various workshops in the city.
Talent is an important factor for media companies with offices in Amsterdam. According to David Wells, CFO at Netflix, the company looks for the best talent in the world and Amsterdam tends to attract young people that come from around Europe and have multiple language skills. “It’s a great city to live in, so it’s easy to get people to live here,” said Wells in an interview. “You can attract folk that understand consumers and cultures in all of the territories across Europe.”
Wells’ own two years in Amsterdam won’t be fast forgotten. “My family and I have enjoyed living here,” he said. “We loved the fact that it’s a small metropolis that you can bike around in in half an hour and you can get everywhere. We love the museums, the art, the culture and the shows and the music festivals and all of it.”
Not just a pretty face, then. But of course, Amsterdam’s beauty has served as a backdrop for plenty of film and TV productions. Who’d forget Pitt and Clooney sauntering along the canals in Ocean’s Twelve? And there’s the now-famous bench on the Leidsegracht canal, where a scene in heart-rending drama The Fault in our Stars was filmed. It has become a frequently visited attraction for fans of the movie.
Something else to mull over when considering Amsterdam and media: Amsterdam’s famous canals were built in the city’s Golden Age. And don’t they say we live in the Golden Age of TV? It might just be the perfect match.