SPEECH published on 02 Feb 2018 • Department / Unit Communications Technology & Innovation

Noel Curran Keynote at Production Technology Seminar 2018

I'm delighted to be here today and I also want to commend Simon Fell and wish him well on his future ventures and thank him sincerely for everything he is delivered to the EBU. I'm also delighted in terms I had a look at the kind of topics that we are looking at. Hans Hoffman mentioned it I would consider myself a content person and ten or fifteen years ago that was quite simple I was a journalist writing stories, I was a producer producing stories, I was an editor editing stories. Being a content person has become an awful lot more complicated. As you become a senior manager you move a little bit further away from content.

I would often when I talk about this get people how said to me an international organisation like the EBU how can that be a content organisation and yet it absolutely is for me a content organisation.

Now it's very important that we start to define ourselves much more as a content organisation. We have 76 Members in 53 countries; we invest 18 billion a year, our members in European content.

15 billion of that goes into original content. That dwarfs everybody else 87% of what we broadcast is original European content so content is at the heart of what we do and even if you look at the EBU and sometimes I'm dealing now sometimes with perceptions of the EBU.

You will have a particular perception others will see it as a lobbying organisation a representative body.

For me the EBU is about content and it's about providing content and sharing content be that in news as we do, be it in news exchange be it in event like Eurovision it's about training educating going out there to broadcasters and media organisations and showing them or bringing together groups who can show them how to restructure themselves digitally to provide better content.

It's about going to Brussels and defending the rights of public service media to exploit its content and increasingly important the rights of public service media to be in the digital space.

This is a really key issue for us and something that I think impact on all of you, as well is that there are attempts to limits what public service media can do in the digital space, and that effectively for me is cutting off our future, and we are out there working with our members trying to make our case against those kind of restrictions.

It is also hugely about that we take a leadership role in innovation and technology that s content, again it is coming back to content and how we deliver and how we help our members deliver the best content possible.

This is becoming increasingly difficult. There is less money. There are political movements particularly populist movements growing around Europe that are less sympathetic towards Public service generally but towards public service media in particular and there is technological innovation which is fantastic, offers such opportunities but also challengers.

There is the rise of OTT platforms, there is the dominance of social media platform and also this is something we need to recognize as well our growing dependence on them.

There was a lot of criticism on around the latest moves by Facebook in terms of how it's going to prioritise community interaction and downgrade some of the presences on the news feeds.

For me that is going to be a jolt for a lot of our media organisations it's going to mean a change because they have been investing in that.

They've teams together seeing how can they increase their presence on Facebook. For me it's actually going to be a positive in the long term. You know this is a world where we, as media organisations, increasingly need partnership, we need to work together but we also need to stand on our own two feed.

Change is an algorithm that we have absolutely no control over and that we want to get more transparency on.

I'm involve in the European commission fake news expert group and this is one of the areas that I will be putting forward in terms of us looking at its transparency but we can't we need to be able to stand on our long two legs.

There is a danger of getting a dependency and being brought into the drug of social media access but again it shows how a decision somewhere else overnight can fundamentally change our present on social media platform.

So all of those kinds of challengers are out there and for me and important I think that you hear this from me as a new director general of an organisation like the EBU.

It's absolutely important and imperative for me that we stay at the forefront of technological innovation that we stay at forefront of innovation not just in technology and you know we are looking at trying to bring innovation into everything we do.

We are re-examining all of our services from news what we deliver in the news, what we deliver in the news exchange, what we deliver across the board to see what how can we meet and ever changing demand.

How can we approach that more innovatively, how can we respond to what our members need and through them what their audiences need. And that is a big focus for us at the moment.

I think in terms of other things that you may or may not be aware of what the EBU is about and need to increasingly be about is building bridges between creative and technology such as.

The new broadcaster building initiatives where we guide members in terms of digital shift innovation strategies and we have that access and sometimes in the EBU we underestimate that we have access to all of those broadcasters at the highest level.

We know when we go out and we work with their teams in terms of how they're restructuring themselves digitally what's working what isn't and we need to increasingly become that resource and beyond that beyond just an information resource, we need to be able to access best practice for people who are at different levels of development as a lot of our members are.

This is something that I believe in passionately and that I want to see us expand more into.

We also need proof of concepts between EBU and members. We had the DRT EBU LIVE IP STUDIO which I have seen and is fantastic, we've the UHD Montreux jazz festival which I could sit down and watch all night. We've creating industry open standard road Maps guide members in investment decisions IP STUDIO I've mentioned, security and increasingly important concerning area for our members. Co-Development prototyping between us and members, personalisation, recommendation agents, these are all things that we are looking at.

Cloud based news production. We also need to be open to alliances even with those you know that we will sometimes criticize for other reasons.

We are very open for business, in terms of alliances In terms of working with the industry in terms of access and best practice and I think we also need to look ahead and Simon as mentioned it in terms of AI augmented reality practically and also 5G which we will be attending that digital commissioner's new group on that which I think is meeting in the next couple of months.

So all of this we need to do in partnership. We can't do it on our own. We are open to that, we are open to looking at why some partnerships in the past have worked and frankly why others haven't. Try and learn from that experience and we also need to apply that culture of innovation across the board in terms of everything we do and communicate it to staff as an absolute priority for the EBU.

Again I say to you that I'm absolutely committed to that. I think that events like this are fantastic and I commend and thank Hans and his team for putting it together I think it is important that we all learn about trends.

It's important that we share user cases in terms of innovation it's important that we open debate, criticize, criticize each other and ourselves and it's also important that you feel that you are getting a sense of value out the next few days and I think this is a fantastic event I will remain totally committed to it but more importantly,

The EBU will be totally committed to innovation to technology to working with the members but also with the wider industry we can't be too insular and we do have access to some of the biggest media organisations in Europe.

We are a cohesive gel for a lot of those organisation on different project and we want to hear from you and we want to work with you in terms of how we expand that develop that make ourselves better at it and develop think that not just help are members but also help the industry as a hole because we have a responsibility there.

So Hans and his team and everyone will get my full support, I'm totally committed to this and I wish you a really enjoyable and challenging conference.


Author / Speaker

Noel Curran

Source / Event

Production Technology Seminar, Geneva, 30 January 2018