Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation
For most of the history of electronic media, there was a clear separation between technology and content, between the engineers and the people who make the television and radio shows. Those boundaries have now blurred or even entirely disappeared in many cases. This change happened gradually with the development of innovative apps, platforms and digital tools that give editorial staff and creatives the power to do things that previously required direct support from technology and engineering teams. Indeed, even audience members can today quite easily produce high-quality content using devices and tools available to everyone.
At the same time, the democratization of media technology tools and the rapid evolution of AI technologies are opening many new opportunities for the technology departments of EBU Members.
My vision is to develop together a new media space that leverages AI technologies and resilient IP and cloud-based networks, from production to distribution, applying automation wherever possible.
In this media landscape, where technology is ubiquitous and changes are increasingly driven by the global tech companies, the EBU Technology & Innovation (T&I) department creates a collaborative environment to empower media engineers, drive industry standards, develop reference designs, and propel the media sector into the future.
As the technology community of public service media (PSM), this is our raison d’être: we must continue to collaborate, combining our resources to work and build together. With technology now woven into every action and interaction, it is ever more urgent that we have the means to master technology as a key enabler to increase value for audiences.
Challenges facing PSM
Our Technical Assembly brought technology leaders from 41 EBU Members together in Austria last June – kindly hosted by ORF – to discuss technical challenges facing PSM. While the situation differs from country to country, there are common goals: to transform operations, develop digital platforms, reduce costs, and enhance the quality, prominence and engagement of PSM with all audiences.
EBU T&I, collaborating closely with the Technical Committee and its working groups, is striving to support Members in addressing these challenges and transitions across the full media value chain, from planning and creation to publishing, distribution and audience engagement.
In response to recent crises, Members are focusing on resilience and business continuity strategies. They are developing integrated digital organizations that combine various platforms, such as linear, online, in-car, and satellite, and involve audiences in a continuous dialogue through both human and AI-driven interactions. To support these endeavours, EBU T&I is aiming to accelerate media automation and content creation and exchange through the development, integration and management of new instruments.
We are also continuing our work on using AI technologies to increase efficiency, automation and speed. Our suite of products and services includes EuroVOX for translation and transcription, along with PEACH for personalization and recommendation; we are also leveraging the News Pilot experience, exploring the combination of EBU Members’ content with generative AI technologies, or the use of AI to extract metadata from Members’ archives.
The new Technical Committee Strategy Roadmap details the work foreseen in the next two years. This roadmap, along with the suite of products described above, encapsulates the concrete value proposition brought by EBU T&I to EBU Members.
The Strategy Roadmap includes a framework for guiding activities that shows PSM values and business priorities at the core of all operational and transformative activities, and end-user touchpoints with the audience as the ultimate delivery point for added value generated by an EBU Member. Technology is the essential glue that connects a PSM organization’s goals, its value chain, and its users.
By replacing the previous workplans with this new Strategy Roadmap, we will be better able to support technology teams at EBU Members as they, in turn, underpin the transformation of their own organizations.
This article first appeared in issue 57 of EBU tech-i magazine.