“This is about creatives connecting through great content and using brands and platforms to do so. For public service media (PSM) it’s about connecting with all audiences with distinctive, innovative content and in doing so inspiring everyone who is in a similar industry”
EBU Media Director Jean Philip De Tender set the scene for the very first Digital Media Days event in Lisbon (22 – 24 January). 240 delegates from across the EBU Membership have gathered together to explore new ideas, focus on understanding the real and updated needs of audiences and to develop more relevant solutions enabling PSM to thrive in the digital era.
“Digital is touching on everything we produce,” De Tender continued in his opening address. “The EBU wants to inspire you and guide you through these changes.” (Watch more in the video above)
Senior Media Development Manager Madiana Asseraf, the project lead for Digital Media Days, added: “This is the only digital conference where those working in different areas of PSM from around Europe can get together to discuss the challenges and opportunities digital offers us.”
In her keynote on redefining PSM’s role in the digital era Cilla Benko, DG of Sveriges Radio (SR) and EBU Executive Board Member told delegates “We don’t need a digital strategy we need a strategy for a world that is also digital and social. The audience can’t come to us – we must bring our content to audiences – work on marketing and visibility so they realise what they are consuming is coming from PSM.”
She went on to highlight some of SR’s digital innovation including portable radio studio software to allow journalists to report from anywhere live and using push notifications on smartphones to allow audiences to be taken straight into live programmes.
“100,000 listeners clicked a push notification to tune in during the US election,” she added. “Combining technology and content is the future. Our strategy is working - 79 percent of listeners say SR is a significant benefit to society. 67 percent say SR is worth the license fee.”
Maike Olij, strategic advisor for Dutch Member NOS, underlined the need for PSM to look closely at audience’s needs in order to stay relevant and provide opportunities and customised services.
NOS Nieuws has created new apps to allow audiences to delve deeper, created websites dedicated to specific topics with different layers and provided 360 immersive experiences such as taking viewers to Aleppo. “Disruptive innovators,” Olij said, “understand their audiences and we need to do that too.”
In a session on “PSM in Digital Transformation” Members highlighted more digital initiatives.
Antonella Di Lazzaro, Chief Social Media and Digital Marketing at Italian Member Rai said “we are convinced that Rai can reach everyone by reaching out individually.” She explained how they have created a special digital inclusion team dedicated to studying products and innovation to break down the digital divide and “turning Italian citizens into digital citizens.”
Robert Amlung, Head of Digital Strategy at Germany’s ZDF explained that “society needs sense-making common experiences,” and detailed new services offered by the broadcaster for young audiences including Funk for 14 to 29 year olds, Heute plus, a mobile first news source, and also explained how VR would be incorporated into their apps throughout 2017.
Sidse Stausholm, Danish Member DR’s Digital Development Consultant also discussed how to reach younger audiences - developing new apps and moving one channel, Ultra, for 7 to 12 years old entirely online by 2020 or sooner. “We are also making DR.dk to be a more visual website with different types of storytelling.”
Later in the day, Ezra Eeman, Head of VRT Start-Up in Belgium and the EBU’s newly appointed Head of Digital joined speakers from the BBC and YLE. They discussed new digital approaches and how their organisations have managed to transform their cultures and embrace creativity and innovation.
“It’s about opening up boundaries and finding connections between radio and television .VRT is still very much trying to translate legacy towards digital – look at everything as media and the best ways to fulfil our public mission and the best channels to reach our audiences,” he said.
Roberto Suárez Candel, Head of the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service also threw into focus the importance of innovation for Members to highlight how important PSM is in contributing to society.
“The EBU’s Contribution to Society project has been looking at developing a new mind-set for PSM. Value is a key concept and is based on stakeholders needs. PSM can only be valuable if its’ content and services bring solutions to stake-holders' problems," he argued.
"Know your audiences. To remain valuable and relevant – understand your stake-holders needs and assess your impact.”
The second day of the Digital Media Days event will focus on how to redefine storytelling for the digital era, looking at in particular how stories travel in the digital era, using social media to cover serious stories and developing digital tools to stimulate memories.