Event 'Media-convergence: a dream or reality'


Brussels, November 9th

I participated to a promising event titled ‘Media-convergence: a dream or reality’. This event was organized by MediaNet Vlaanderen, the association of the media industry in Flanders at the IBM Forum. The agenda started with four consecutive speakers, each of them highlighting the media-convergence from their proper perspective. Thereafter, a debate between the speakers was planned, followed by the traditional drink.

Maggy Beyers

Maggy Beyers, host of the event

The first speaker was dr. Ir. Johan Hoffman, manager of the technology architecture at VRT, who give the experiences and perspectives of the DMF digitisation project. It was an excellent overview of a project with a drastic impact. The project included changing the production and consolidation of TV, radio, and on-line. The convergence of the different types of content starts nowadays already during the production, as the different types of content are handled by the central media asset management system. I retained from the pitch that changing the environment to a central media asset management system was an incredible challenge from a technology point of view. However, changing the behavior of the users was probably the greatest challenge.

The second speaker was Erwin Danis, director Premedia at Roularta Media Group, on the introduction of CCI Newsgate. The new environment is used as a way to exchange content between the different departments. Different types of content are now exchanged smoothly through the new layer. A lot of attention was given to the deployment approach. Dedicated training for each future user was given, including the explanation why the new environment makes sense for Roularta. The deployment was in this case probably less intrusive as the previous case, however also here seems changing the behavior of the user a challenge that was given special attention.

The third speaker was Johan Mortelmans, e-media manager at Corelio, on the introduction of new distribution channels, such as e-publishing of content. The interesting reflection was that the editor/journalist has to decide nowadays on the relevance of the timing of publication. Produced materials are catalogued immediately into up to 4 categories. These categories are: 0 for immediate publication (e.g., on-line news), 1 for daily publication (e.g., printed newspaper), 7 for weekly publication (e.g., printed weekly), or 366 for materials worth to archive more then a year. This approach shows that Corelio has profoundly thought about the expectation of the user on the content for the different distribution channels.

Johan Mortelmans

The fourth speaker was Marie Wallace, content analytics solution architect at IBM, on the BBC semantic web case. The BBC case shows how the combination of semantic technologies with advanced natural language processing has the potential to transform how we understand, leverage, and ultimately integrate content into the business processes. A new publishing model allows news pages to be dynamically composed in response to external events. The interesting highlight: the new publishing model was introduced at zero incremental effort to the journalists and reduced overall publishing costs.

Left to right: Johan Mortelmans, Marie Wallace, Jozef Mertens, Johan Hoffman, Erwin Danis

Finally, the scene was set for the debate between the four speakers, moderated by Jozef Mertens. The questions and answers led to a small discussion, on the one side a bit a too kindly and friendly to a real debate, on the other side the discussion was on reality, not a show on fiction … the intention was good, but probably we are missing a bit the debate culture … changing the human behavior seems also a challenge when contributing to a debate.

Excellent event! Congrats to MediaNet Vlaanderen!