A key concern of TV providers is to exploit the rapidly expanding digital possibilities for networking and publishing quickly and accurately. Now international experts, with significant contributions from Austrian partners MODUL Technology and webLyzard, are beginning to address this problem. The EU project ReTV, funded to the tune of 3.5 million euros, will provide TV providers with a basis for decision-making with a view to adapting existing content to today’s enormous range of digital networks quickly and efficiently.
Leading media technology experts across Europe have joined forces to enable TV providers to be more agile and responsive to increasing competition from new digital media. Their declared goal is to develop a “trans-vector platform” that provides TV providers with fast, reliable information on who consumes their content as well as when, where and how they do so. It will enable providers to make sound decision-making about future publication of content on those social networks and digital distribution channels as well as where content adaptation is likely to pay off.
Dr. Lyndon Nixon, CTO of MODUL Technology and assistant professor at the Institute for New Media Technology at MODUL University Vienna comments: “TV providers have to distribute their content through multiple channels such as social media, mobile apps, hybrid TV and digital archives. But compared to print media – which face similar pressures – their content is technically much more complex. Deciding which content should be adapted and in what way is therefore essential for meeting the demands of consumers in a cost-effective manner.”
This is where the ReTV project comes in. The project is coordinated by Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, which brings together MODUL Technology and webLyzard as well as other partners from Germany, Switzerland, Greece and the Netherlands. The cooperative project is divided into three clearly defined sections, the results of which will be of enormous value to TV providers. In addition to “aggregation”, i.e. the establishment of a steadily growing directory of TV content, “analysis” and “adaptation” of such content are key elements of the project.
Aggregation & Annotation
More than 10,000 hours of video content and over 50 million documents will be collected and processed from news sources, social media and TV station websites every month. This huge volume of data will then be automatically analysed, and relevant metadata will be appended to every document. Besides “hard” facts, such as links, names and salient visual features, the metadata contain an automatic evaluation of online mood regarding the topics, persons or organizations mentioned in the content.
Analysis & Adaptation
Professor Arno Scharl, Managing Director of collaborating partner webLyzard, describes how ReTV works: “In the analytical stage, the webLyzard platform is used to capture content trends in social media. This allows intelligent recommendations to be made regarding the adaptation of existing content and the focus for new productions. In this way ReTV will help to optimise advertising strategies, for example by referencing socially relevant topics that are currently being actively discussed by consumers.”
In addition, ReTV will make forecasts about the optimal timing of the release and expected success of original and adapted content. Thanks to the continuous collection and processing of relevant data from a wide range of different sources, the system is also able to learn. If the actual success achieved deviates from predictions, the system will automatically be optimised. In the coming years, ReTV will thus strengthen the competitive situation of European media companies in today’s networked, global market for video content.