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How to speed up innovation for the future of European media

An EU initiative helped accelerate media innovation to promote media pluralism and freedom of expression.

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In a rapidly changing world of digital transformation and increased competition, agility, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation have become essential qualities to thrive, for media and other sectors alike. In the new media landscape where convergence has led to the merging of previously distinct media technologies and platforms through digitisation and computer networking, sustainability has also become a major issue. The EU-funded MediaRoad project has addressed these challenges. Coordinated by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the project has made several recommendations in a vision paper. It states: “Innovation is central to ensuring the sustainability and development of Europe’s media and creative industries in an increasingly global and competitive marketplace. European media innovation must be accelerated by putting a stronger focus on the sector in the relevant EU programmes and by creating an adequate regulatory framework.” The recommendations listed in the paper cover the following: increasing prominence of media innovation and research in EU programmes; empowering open innovation; developing cutting-edge technologies for media; fostering European-wide content production and securing cross-border access to content; enhancing digital and media literacy skills; securing a fair online platform environment; delivering the increased responsibility of online platforms; ensuring access to user data to support innovation; and preserving the open internet. Speeding up European media innovation is key to promoting media pluralism and freedom of expression. Quoted in a press release, Nicola Frank, EBU Head of European Affairs, says: “An adequate regulatory framework and the support of relevant EU programmes are simply vital to the acceleration of media innovation in Europe.”

Innovation as key

The MediaRoad (MediaRoad – European Media Ecosystem for Innovation) project ended in October 2019. It focused on helping the European media sector transform itself. Innovation was at the heart of MediaRoad, which reaped the benefits of media convergence. As summarised on the project website, the objectives were to “boost innovation across the European media sector, reawaken a ‘start-up’ mentality in the media sector, bring together a broad network of media stakeholders, bring innovative concepts to fruition and market deployment,” and “shape future media policy and be part of the digital transformation.”

Collaboration through hubs

To realise its vision, MediaRoad used three interconnected hubs. The Sandbox Hub involved interlinked incubators, or Sandboxes, where SMEs can test and scale innovative concepts in operational environments. The Policy Hub focused on the development of a long-term policy vision addressing various topics such as data, cloud, privacy and security, 5G, augmented and virtual reality, and digital platforms. The Network Hub brought together broadcasters, researchers, content creators, production companies, technology-developing SMEs, policy experts and academics. MediaRoad’s Policy Hub also published a vision paper. It analyses the potential impact of six technological trends on the media sector together with their political, social and economic consequences. The trends covered span artificial intelligence, immersive technologies, blockchain, 5G, Internet of things and convergence. For more information, please see: MediaRoad project website



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