Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation
The recent EBU General Assembly included an inspiring interview with Tim Davie, Director-General of BBC, which celebrates 100 years of existence this year. Despite all the challenges facing public service media (PSM) today, he struck an upbeat and bullish note. “We can’t just be sitting, as public services, managing decline. We’re too good for this. I really believe that we’re a growth engine.”
So, where will we find this growth? How can we build greater resilience into our organizations? How do we become an ‘Entrepreneurial Broadcasting Union’?
Resources and revenues
As discussed in another interesting session at the General Assembly, resilience will come from making creativity and innovation a strategic objective for each PSM organization. Collaboration and committing resources to developing ideas into concrete projects are together a strong weapon against purely profit-oriented industries. We also need to be creative in mobilizing the resources needed for public good, through applying to European and national funds, as well as partnerships and private funds.
By collaborating across the EBU we can build scale to ensure we continuously reinvent our future. We must seek imaginative ways to be a recognized and leading player in modern, digital societies, including the emerging web 3.0 environments, where we offer citizens a much more active, personalized, and immersive participation in media compared to the past. By wisely choosing our partners in such ventures, we can generate the kind of positive disruption that accelerates innovative solutions.
We must not, as PSM, be afraid to talk about net-positive revenues to support innovation and the evolution of our organizations. Such revenues can also help to trigger new sources of revenue for EBU Members, coming from initiatives that are recent and innovative as well as being in the public interest. If the bulk of our revenues are generated only from legacy sources, then there is a much greater risk of obsolescence.
The growth that Tim Davie talked about will come from having innovation constantly nurturing evolution. This means always having multiple innovation initiatives ongoing, multiplying the options for progress and growth. An important element is finding new opportunities to out-scale competitors, avoiding systematic structural dependencies on big players and with ambitious goals that are not constrained by historical limits.
Continuous innovation and evolution also rely on continuous feedback in the form of data. This is fundamental to anticipate the risk of failure and build continuous evolution.
This continuous evolution and the future of PSM will rely heavily on the talent that we can attract and motivate. In this we are competing with many other potential employers, and not just in the media sector. Talent represents the key value of a company and so we must protect our best people. We need them to imagine and promote the future, combining the forces of creatives and technologists. Here, too, joining forces is one way of being able to attract more talent, creating a stimulating environment where they can imagine and develop new ways to inform, educate and entertain European citizens.
Talents are not only your workforce. They are the agents of change. When you share with them a passion for creating new user experiences that enable citizens to relate and connect with each other’s stories, you provide the context where new ideas can be born. When people of diverse horizons, skills and genders join forces, those ideas can become innovations and deliver valuable growth, creating the conditions to build our next 100 years of innovation.
This article was first published in issue 53 of tech-i magazine.