Written by Alberto Messina

The digital transformation in the TV world

The Televisione 4.0 event, held on November 23rd at the University of Salerno (Campus in Fisciano), brought together leading Italian media players (RAI, Sky, Mediaset, Publitalia, RTL 102.5) to better understand the future of television.

The way people like to use content is changing and future media players will have to systematically deal with user interaction data analysis to create new experiences and take full advantage of new platforms and standards. In this context, the conference identified and focused on the real protagonist of this future: the user. The discussion highlighted some of key topics that will be crucial for the future developments of television. 




How new standards and platforms can enhance customer interactivity with our content? The discussion on the new capabilities provided by HbbTV 2.0 clearly showed that we cannot foresee a future for television without a close collaboration between the broadcast and broadband domain. This is particularly evident in the advertisement workflows, which can now benefit from new toolkits allowing the seamless presentation and interaction of ad content.




Best knowing our customers is another key element for ensuring a sustainable future for television. People did not only change the interface to watch our content, they also radically changed their habits and attitude towards media, creating completely new content consumption paradigms that should be embraced by future media companies. Interaction data created by consumers interacting with content are a gold mine since they help us better understand usage paradigms and model them objectively.




Efficient content recommendation systems strive to provide customers with appealing and enjoyable content in a specific context (be it spatio-temporal – in a certain place or time – or semantic – in a certain usage condition – or emotional). Content-related metadata and the ability to extract them in an automatic way are the two facets of the same challenge. All main cloud service providers are involved in a super-fast arms race to offer accessible and easy-to-integrate solutions in content processing workflows. However, the decision about the reliability, robustness, and relevance of these services is still to be fully proven.

Data themselves are key for enhanced user experiences, to the extent that they can be considered as additional content streams complementing traditional video and audio objects. For example, open data repositories and linked semantic data can be exploited to enrich the user experience with additional content and allow exploration of the knowledge network related to the main programme.




RAI R&D gave its contribution on how media players could use Artificial Intelligence technologies to understand and organize content, with particular reference to the application of these techniques to online services. The interaction with the technology and solution providers attending the conference showed that RAI R&D is one of the most avant-garde exponents on this topic among Public Service Broadcasters.


Alberto Messina (Ph.D.) is an R&D Coordinator at RAI where he leads the research area concerned with advanced content management systems and innovation in television production. He has a long-time record of active participation in European projects and counts more than 80 technical and scientific contributions in conferences and journals in his subject area. He has been contract professor at Politecnico di Torino and currently leads the EBU T&I Strategic Programme on Media Information Management (SP/MIM).

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