The Digital Transformation Initiative took a significant step forward with a workshop in Brussels on 5th February. Following up on a similar gathering that took place last September, the aim was to road test the digital transformation framework and tools that had been developed in the interim period.
Among the Members participating at the workshop was Iceland’s RÚV, which has begun to implement a new transformation strategy. Steinunn Thorhallsdottir, director of production and processes, explained how the organization’s new mission – Inspire, Engage, Empower – is an evolution of the classic public service broadcaster mission to inform, educate and entertain. The mission is complemented by a new vision, against which all decisions can be measured: “Wide awake broad-minded nation”.
RÚV’s new organizational structure was unveiled at the start of January. It sees four content divisions – TV, Culture & Radio, News, and one that brings together web platforms, social media and third party distribution alongside Channel 2 Radio – served by three cross-cutting support divisions. It is a structure that they hope will serve well the transformation process in the years ahead.
Iceland is one of the smallest media markets served by an EBU Member. Towards the other end of the scale is Italy, where Rai has made a relatively late start to its digital transformation journey, albeit with some notable early successes. Nicola Caligiore, working in Rai International Relations, explained that, in 2016, a major shift from being channel-oriented to being content-centred began, with the newly launched RaiPlay service quickly becoming popular with audiences. This coincided with the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer, distinct from the Chief Technology Officer, and with team members spread throughout the organization.
While others who presented at the two DTI Brussels workshops mentioned regulatory frameworks that acted as a brake on digital transformation, in Italy the regulatory situation has been more positive. Rai’s renewed license agreement with the state, currently being finalized, for the first time addresses the organization as serving “TV, radio and multimedia”. With almost every article of the agreement including a reference to digital needs, the transformation becomes a legal requirement, which has the potential to add valuable momentum to the effort.
Providing a valuable external perspective on the challenges faced by Members, Lucy Kung of the Reuters Institute presented research she has undertaken on how legacy media organizations are approaching transformation. For media organizations, she identified two characteristics that were common to organizations that had successfully transformed: achieving a synthesis of journalism, technology and business; and fostering a pro-digital culture that isn’t dominated by a nostalgia for the pre-digital age.
Representatives of nine EBU Members participated in the workshop, among them just two who had attended the September gathering. This meant that a whole new set of transformation experiences were shared and will be fed into further refinement of the framework, along with valuable feedback on the first iteration of the mapping tools.