Accelerating European Media Innovation: EBU Event in Brussels

On October 8, 2019 we presented findings at the Accelerating European Media Innovation conference run by the European Broadcasting Union in Brussels. The one-day event was the closing conference of the two-year ‘MediaRoad’ project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The audience included media producers, researchers, policy makers, and commissioners from the EU. The aim of ‘MediaRoad’ has been to support ongoing debate and practice-based experimentation of new forms of media and communications in the public good. Participants included public service media, independent producers, creative from the wider creative and cultural industries, and SMEs specialising in high technology. We were invited to present results from ‘Organisational Culture of Public Service Media: People, Values and Processes’ (2015–2019) by Agata Patecka, Project Manager of MediaRoad. 

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The event was opened by Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director Technology & Innovation, and Maryia Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Both speakers noted that innovation in the media sector requires coordinated actions and synergies in policy-making at the European level. Challenges for contemporary media policy were further addressed by Professor Karen Donders, Head of the Media Unit at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. In her keynote speech she underlined the urgency of bridging the gap between technology and content. Professor Donders concluded by stating that media is about culture and social innovation, something that has been a strong finding in our own three-year study. 

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A round-table discussion on the priorities of the media sector was followed by a vision paper ‘Future and Emerging Technologies for the Media Sector’ by Luciano Morganti (imec, Brussels). Sarah Geeroms presented the gestation of the Sandbox Hub, one of the principle development methods used by participants within the Media Road programme. The Sandbox Hub acts as an accelerator supporting collaboration between established media companies with entrepreneurs, startups and high-tech SMEs. In our study we looked at VRT’s Sandbox that was the first to develop the Sandbox model. VRT – public service media in Flanders is one of the most innovative PSM globally. There are now sandboxes across 18 media organisations in Europe including France, Germany, Greece, Sweden and Portugal. Findings from our project were presented during the session on future media research by PSMs, NGOs and the EBU, receiving a highly positive reception from the audience.

Photo credits: MediaRoad.

Watch "Highlights: Accelerating European Media Innovation conference" (source: MediaRoad):