European policy makers are now discussing the future of the European Research Agenda beyond 2020 in the framework of the upcoming proposal on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and its R&D scheme, the Framework Programme 9 (FP9) running from 2021 to 2027. Amid these discussions, the European Commission has launched a Public Consultation on “EU funds in the area of investment, research & innovation, SMEs and single market“: an occasion to feed into its proposal for the next generation of funding programmes that the MediaRoad consortium did not miss!
Indeed, the European media sector has a vast creative potential for innovative services and it has a strong tradition in investing in R&D. However, this capacity is increasingly dwarfed by powerful global players and the sector is lacking an adequate support scheme that is able to fully capitalize on its strength. While separate programmes exist to support and strengthen technological innovation and creative content production, there is no programme combining these two dimensions in a way that enables real change and fast transition from project ideas to pilots and commercial implementation. Thus, in order to express the voice of the audio-visual and radio sector, in its answer to the Public Consultation MediaRoad addressed the current challenges and priorities for the sector, putting forward the following recommendations to ensure a bright future for media innovation in Europe.
Step-up investment for media research and innovation
There is a clear need to increase dedicated funds under the next FP9 for the media and cultural industries, as the high demand for H2020 ICT calls targeting the sector is not met. Indeed, while separate programmes exist to support and strengthen technological innovation and creative content production, there is no programme combining these two dimensions in a way that enables real change. Strengthening EU funds for R&I in the Media sector is necessary to ensure its competitiveness and to help reaching a critical mass as nowadays media organisations work on a global scale in a convergent market, address international audiences and face global competitors. Thus, while we actively support the “#Double4Culture” campaign to increase the budget of Creative Europe, in parallel we strongly advocate for more dedicated funds for media and cultural industries in the next FP9, which should cater for the demand of this sector to develop research and innovation projects.
Dedicated scheme to bridge media R&D, technological innovation and creative content production
The media sector needs a dedicated scheme to bridge the gaps between technological innovation, creativity and R&D in the media and creative field. The MediaRoad consortium and its network are convinced of the necessity of the creation of an open, agile and transparent scheme, which should lay the foundations for well-resourced and cross-industry R&I activities in Europe. This will ensure that in-depth broadcast media, IP networking, Cloud and new disciplines such as Analytics and Learning (AL) know-how and skills remain in Europe and continue to be nourished. It would also facilitate commercial and employment opportunities, attract young creatives, technology savvies and benefit the users. In turn, such activities will foster a pluralistic and diverse European media landscape built on common technical foundations that supports the European Digital Single Market.
Enable fast track and flexible funding schemes
Future programme must address a number of obstacles in order build on the current advantages of EU funds and foster fast track innovation supported by more adequate and flexible funding scheme. Firstly, fewer, shorter, clearer rules are needed to reduce the time from idea generation to project implementation to allow faster processes, support projects in a more efficient way, foster fast-pace innovation. Secondly, the MediaRoad Consortium and its network call for concrete actions to address the lack of flexibility to react to unforeseen circumstances of the current programmes and the highly complex procedures that often lead to high administrative burden and delays.
Achieve impactful synergies
Finally yet importantly, it is vital to create synergies between the relevant programmes that support media and the creative sector and to enable the possibility of leveraging their creative and innovative potential at EU level. Stronger synergies are necessary especially between the Creative Europe Programme and in particular its Media sub-programme and the dedicated funds for media R&I in the next FP9, which become more compatible and complementary.
This response is feeding into a bigger research and policy project carried by our partner IMEC-SMIT. Indeed, the first MediaRoad Vision document will focus on the future of media innovation in the next European Research Agenda post-2020.
Are you part of the media industry and in particular of the audio-visual or radio sector?
Are you concerned about its developments and do you want to ensure a bright and innovative future for the sector?
Share your ideas and views on how the future European Research & Innovation Agenda for media should look like and contribute to the creation of a joint vision for media innovation!