As part of MediaRoad, we made contact with NMA. NMA, full Next Media Accelerator, is one of the largest hubs for media innovation in Europe. As the NMA invited us to their half-yearly demo day in Hamburg, we chose to combine our trip with some other potential partners. Due to NMA's strong (inter)national community, we easily got access to the right media organizations.
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.
In the end of October, the European Commission has published the new Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The document provides information on future Commission priorities for research and innovation in the media sector.
The Work Programme includes several calls for proposals of interest for media organizations, especially within the framework of the Big Data and 5G PPPs, as well as in the Next Generation Internet (NGI) section. Over the course of the next two years, media organizations will have an opportunity to develop proposals on big data applications, interactive technologies, artificial intelligence, and hyper-connected media systems in reply to the ICT calls (list of preselected proposals available in the table below).
The European Commission will invest 30€ billion in research and innovation for the next three years in order to boost the impact of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme. The funds will go more towards market-creating innovations with specific focus on topics such as migration, cyber security, climate, clean energy and digital technologies.
“Open Europe, open programme, new type of funding for innovation“: this is how Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation described the recently published 2018-2020 work programme for Horizon 2020 and the EU’s plans for the future of innovation funding.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE MEDIA SECTOR?
Over the next three years, roughly 2.7 billion €  will be invested in information and communication technologies (ICT). While the media sector is included within this category, access to H2020 funding for media organisation is still limited compared to other industries.
There are nevertheless some positive developments, notably the inclusion of media as one of the vertical industries in the 5G PPP on “Advanced 5G Network Infrastructure”, which will be geared towards setting up fixed, mobile and satellite networks, together with computing and storage resources, into a unified, programmable and universally available infrastructure.
The EBU has hosted the MediaRoad Project Launch, in collaboration with the VRT SandBox Creative Circle VI event. This represents the first step on a journey which aims to reawaken a ‘start-up mentality’ in the media sector and bridge the gap between technological innovation and the creative and media sector.
The event gave participants a chance to learn about the MediaRoad project, which will be coordinated by the EBU, and the VRT Sandbox, which matches startups to the public broadcaster VRT for a short-term collaboration on projects geared towards innovation and market deployment.
The EBU’s new Director General Noel Curran opened the event by reflecting on the increasingly important role of public service media as a standard bearer for reliable news and in promoting common values. He highlighted the MediaRoad project as an important step along this path as it enhances cross-sectorial collaboration, allowing PSM to work hand-in-hand with commercial players, tech startups, academia and content producers.
Curran said: “In a rapidly changing world of digital transformation and increased media consumption, the role of public broadcasters is more important than ever. By embracing innovation and committing to producing quality content and news, public service media can be the leaders of a new media ecosystem.”
During the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) held in Amsterdam in September 2017, the MediaRoad team organized an information session at the EBU booth. Being a world-wide leading media event, IBC attracts a broad audience and experts engaged in the creation and delivery of electronic media.
IBC visitors were cordially invited to attend a presentation of the MediaRoad project and its goals.
During the presentations and Q&A session, the attendees were able to find out more about the project and how to get involved in the MediaRoad network. They also learned more about the concept behind the VRT Sandbox and on how MediaRoad will translate this approach into a replicable model, enabling other European media organizations to launch their own Sandboxes.