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Written by Liana Digka

CEPI’s 2017 General Assembly took place in Paris on 9-10 November 2017 and offered a fantastic opportunity for independent producers and small and medium enterprises to foster potential future synergies with broadcasters and to present the MediaRoad Project to CEPI’s members.

At this meeting, Nicola Frank, Head of European Affairs of the European Broadcasting Union (leader of the MediaRoad project), presented the main structure of the project and explained the use of the MediaRoad tools like the VRT Sandbox, an important environment for collaboration where both producers and broadcasters meet.

We have interviewed Mr Jerome Dechesne, Chairman of CEPI and representative for USPA (FR), and asked him to share his ideas about the project, its role on the promotion of research and innovation within the creative sector and the way such a project could be effectively used in the future by independent producers.

Q: Why is the MediaRoad project important for European independent producers?

JD: It is commonly known that technology is influencing our everyday lives and the audiovisual sector is certainly part of this transformation. MediaRoad is a major Horizon 2020 project which can help us to understand much more about this evolution in our sectors by combining the research and the innovation aspects, which will certainly facilitate our work and strengthen the quality of the audiovisual content produced in Europe.

Q: After the overview of MediaRoad that Ms Frank gave to CEPI members, what are your next steps as a partner of the project?

JD: As Ms Frank has said, the project is very important because brings together broadcasters, producers, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and technology experts and can introduce the technology and innovation in the sector, ensuring that all the creative industry actors are following the technological developments. As representatives of producers and a vital part of the creative value chain, we are looking forward to offering our expertise and our reality check for some of the Sandboxes which have been envisaged in the project itself. We are at the early stage, the project has just started, so we will have two years to see how this cooperation with broadcasters can bring an added value to our small and medium enterprises.

Q: How does media convergence affect the independent producers and how will this project be used to support all the partners of the Media Road consortium?

JD: Convergence changes the dynamics among the technologies, markets, genres, and audiences. CEPI is organizing a workshop which will be held at Monte Carlo TV Festival in June 2018. In this workshop, we will have the opportunity to discuss the media convergence and our industry’s future, which cannot underestimate the role research and innovation will play in the forthcoming years. MediaRoad is the platform where actor from all stages of the value chain can build new and efficient codes of communication and this sort of interaction can be difficult at times when lab conditions are not always favourable to SMEs. 

Q: One of the main Hubs of the Project is the Sandbox Hub, built by VRT, the Belgian Public Service Broadcaster. How can this innovative technology be used and how much can it facilitate the procedure of the European production?

JD: Broadcasters, producers, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and technology experts, are all players in the same field and Sandbox is a good example of a safe environment which promotes and shares new and valuable ideas among partners of the industry. Our goal is to achieve the maximum involvement of the industry actors which will lead to a successful outcome.

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