SPEECH published on 08 Mar 2018 • Department / Unit Communications

Noel Curran Welcome Speech - Digital Media Days 2018

Hello everyone.

I’m delighted to be here in Prague.

I want to thank Czech TV for their support and I want to thank Petr not just for today but also for the very significant role he plays in the EBU.

This is an important event.

The Digital revoution that has affected all of us so profoundly it can’t be reasonably described as anything else other than important.

But that revolution is also complicated.

Complicated not just in the issues we face around the technology of digital or the challenges of competition or finding digital audiences. But also in its reach, its power.

In recent months I’ve been a member of the European Commission High Level Group on Fake News. I think a lot of people came into that group with a view towards bashing the platforms, hitting them with lots of legislation and regulation and getting them in line. I was probaby one of them.

Then you realise how interconnected we all are. You realise that while you want to hold them to account, legislation and regulation aimed at the platforms can also lead to censorship of professional journalism. Governments can become addicted to the control such legislation gives them over the media - whether its aimed at the digital world or everywhere else

Its complicated.

Digital Transformation is complicated too. Organisations in this room are at very different stages of transformation but we are all transforming.

But we are also experimenting and we need to realise that. Organisations are breaking down content barriers, merging the old silos of radio and tv into new content hubs.

We all belieive this is the way forward but we should be realistic enough to also realise that it is one of the changes and also one of the biggest experiments we’ve undertaken in decades of TV and Radio. The bible has yet to be written. There is no one size fits all organisations and those who just blindly follow others risk finding themselves on the wrong path.

Thats complicated. Media organisations are complicated and different.

And thats why we need events like this and groups like you.

I genuinely believe that you are a large part of the future of public service media.

I also believe that pubic service media does have a future. We saw that in Switzerland last weekend when people voted on whether to abolish the licence fee. A vote that seemed close a few months ago ended in a 71 per cent rejection of the proposal because it was debated properly and people saw the value of what public service media offers them.

That leaves me positive about the future.

Now we must shape that future.

To do that there are a few fundamentals we must recognise.

We have to realise that targeting young audiences means fully embracing digital – not partially. The two goals are now inseparable.

We must realise that we all have to transform and that tranformation involves risk and experimentation.

We must define Digital in public service media not as a medium but as a two way engagement process between us and the pubic, where personalisation, response and other tools will increasingly matter.

We must learn to work with the Platforms but we must also learn to stand on our own digital legs otherwise our strategies become irrelevant and we become slaves to algorithmic changes like we’ve seen on Facebook recently.

We must make the case to Governments that to restrict public service media in the digital space is to force it into extinction as that space is its future. We must make that case strongly and passionately.

Finally, we must realise that for all the change, for all the new technologies, for all the innovation – what defines public service media in the digital age is for me exactly the same two pillars that has always defined us – our content and our values.

They are what really count and both must be unique.

So with that in mind, forget about the challenges. Remember we live in wonderful, wonderful exciting times. And we look to you to help us make the most of them.

Enjoy Digital Days.

Thank you.


Author / Speaker

Noel Curran

Source / Event

Digital Media Days 2018