Unlocking the value of news
News remains at the very heart of EBU Members fulfilling their public service remit, with more than 40,000 journalists collectively making up Europe’s largest newsroom. The EBU News Pilot has, over the last few years, created new tools to help unlock the value of this unparalleled asset, taking advantage of EBU technologies co-developed with Members – the PEACH recommendation platform and the EuroVOX transcription and translation tools.
For journalists and editors, 2023 saw the launch of NewsDeck, a real-time news-gathering platform that aggregates, translates, and indexes content from participating Members. Tests are under way to see how the application of generative AI technology could further enhance the value of this tool, always in a way that respects fundamental rights.
Reliable advice on operational essentials
From procurement of new digital services to the purchase and configuration of equipment, for EBU Members, making the right choices can save time and money.
Pooling expertise in EBU working groups enables the development of recommendations and reports that benefit the entire community. Publications in 2023 have included:
- Cybersecurity vulnerability management for media companies
- Personalized sound experience workflows
- Procurement of interoperable CDNs
- Tests of dynamic HDR converters
- LED-wall-based virtual production
- Evolution towards Dynamic Media Facilities
A hands-on workshop on LED-wall-based production led to a practical report on the topic
Coordinating a broad spectrum of positions on UHF
Every four years, the World Radiocommunication Conference makes decisions that can have major implications for broadcasters. At WRC-23, delegates in Dubai are discussing, among other things, how the UHF band below 700 MHz should be used in future. This is spectrum that EBU Members rely on for both terrestrial television distribution and wireless audio devices for production.
The EBU has ensured a coordinated approach across the membership, conducting influential studies, assessing different positions and assembling a team to ensure the voice of PSM has been heard both in the many preparatory meetings and at WRC-23.
Building with the benefit of each other’s experience
For many Members, transformation also means either refurbishment of existing facilities or the construction of entirely new buildings. Learning from each other is invaluable for these high-profile projects.
During 2023, the EBU New Builders community continued to share best practices, most notably through the popular site visits to new facilities. In May, the ARD news centre in Hamburg was the destination, while November saw a visit to ORF’s new studios in Vienna.
Our year in numbers
35 new publications
5,000 event/meeting participants
450,000 total publication downloads
250 new presentations
40,000 total presentation downloads
10,000 video plays
1,400 Member professionals engaged in T&I working groups
Source: tech.ebu.ch, Oct ‘22 to Oct ‘23
Making 5G technology work better for EBU Members
EBU Members increasingly use mobile phone technology for news coverage, but public networks are not optimized for broadcaster needs. Private 5G networks showed early promise but required considerable work over and above what 3GPP delivered with the specifications.
Several EBU Members have been active in testing 5G for production use cases, both on their own premises and for remote productions. EBU working groups provide essential forums for exchange and collaboration helping Members to push the boundaries on media technology to the benefit of the wider industry and, ultimately, PSM audiences.
A bridge from the broadcast present to the broadband future
An IP-centric world brings distribution challenges for EBU Members, needing to fight for prominence in a sea of media apps and on devices like smart TVs, smartphones, in connected cars and more.
The EBU helped to foster the German DVB-I Pilot, which was recognized by a special innovation award at IBC2023. The project is showing how PSM can deploy the DVB-I specification for service discovery in partnership with commercial broadcasters. It provides a potentially powerful way for EBU Members to ensure their services remain universally available.
Members of the German DVB-I Pilot team, pictured on the EBU booth at IBC2023: Motoshi Bito (Vestel), Bram Tullemans (EBU), Frank Heineberg (RTL), Christian Klöckner (WDR), Rainer Biehn (bmt), Remo Vogel (rbb), Marc Hoffrichter (ZDF), Frank Strässle (bmt), Thomas Schierbaum (bmt), Ilona Kachel (ZDF), Rainer Kirchknopf (ZDF)
Helping Members leverage European funding
The European Union and other supranational public bodies are important enablers of technology innovation. Funding is available to EBU Members but accessing it can be complex and time consuming.
The EBU has a strong track record in helping Members to benefit from participation in funded collaborative projects. Over the past year, the EBU has played a leading role in several publicly funded projects, selected where there is clear added value for PSM and where at least two EBU Members are involved in the consortium.
- STADIEM – tapping into startup-driven innovation
- vera.ai – using AI to tackle disinformation
- 5G-EMERGE – enhancing online media delivery
- TEMS – building a trusted media data space
- TRANSMIXR – pushing the boundaries of social XR experiences
Getting to grips with the rise of generative AI
While EBU Members have been exploring and using AI and machine learning for several years, the recent acceleration in the capabilities and accessibility of generative AI tools has raised many questions as to how best to apply this technology.
The EBU, especially through the AI & Data Initiative, has taken a lead on pooling knowledge and connecting experts in this field. Priorities in 2023 have included investigating, on behalf of Members, things like open-source AI as a means of unshackling from the big technology companies and work on benchmarking alternative AI solutions.
This article first appeared in issue 58 of EBU tech-i magazine.