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Media innovation feasibility – EU Strategy study on content-sharing European platform(s)

Contracted by the EU Commission‘s DG CONNECT, Europe’s MediaLab as initiator and its consortium leader IDATE DigiWorld – plus three consultants – are carrying out a feasibility study for the European digital distribution of curated content, especially news, information of public interest and quality media content. 

This follows a competitive call for tenders: its official specifications were published here. What follows here is the MediaLab’s own ‘putting into perspective’, non-official. The context for this study will also be addressed at the ‘Media4Europe Summit’, on March 3rd, which is partly public.

1. Policy Context: supporting cooperation to get a critical mass

This content-sharing European platform is in line with a potential industrial strategy for the European news media sector and the EU’s Media Action Plan launched in 2020 by the Commission. There is a strong momentum to support a resilient democracy infrastructure, and a healthier media sector with more capacities to innovate. Rebalancing the media ecosystem is needed. This notably takes a clear vision for the media sector, and more cooperation, notably across borders. For example, exchanging data about quality content may help leverage its values on other platforms, and also increase related advertising revenue.

While this is not the focus of this study, the MediaLab sees it as relevant to an overall industrial strategy, that could emerge by ‘connecting the dots’, between future funding projects, and several policy initiatives (the Digital Services and Market Acts, the Democracy and Media Action Plans), plus the fuller use of existing competition tools,

With the “News bundle initiative”, NEWS finally got its own visible label, like MEDIA. This follows up the request of 42 MEPs (EU leaders must stand up to protect the news media sector) supported by Europe’s MediaLab. Under the same NEWS heading, the governance structure of the European News Media Forum will help better coordination of the sector. Such studies may also provide input into future EU’s innovation and R&D funding.

2. Process of the study: short, initiating further stages

Timeframe for the study is 9 months. It contains four main tasks:

  1. Analysis of available solutions: “Drawing relevant lessons from inspiring experiences“
  2. Defining requirements for a new digital European Platform for Quality Content: “Defining minimum conditions meet expected high-quality requirements“
  3. Analysis of feasibility – cost-benefit analysis: “Identifying the possible options and measuring their pros and cons“
  4. Recommendations regarding a new digital European Platform for Quality Content: “Determining and quantifying the most realistic scenario and disseminating the outcomes“

Methodology     

For each aspect of a possible digital European platform of quality content (journalistic standards, features of the platform, business models, governance, linguistic and cultural specificities), the consortium, with the support of its pool of experts, will analyse: the main issues and lessons identified; the different options likely to meet the needs, and when appropriate, a first quantification of the costs and revenues and/or a first estimate of the potential impacts. Desk research and expert interviews will complement the analysis. Our efforts will be supported by:

  •   3 collective workshops with the main stakeholders’ group, who will be consulted in the design and selection of different scenarios.

We are selecting 12 people (maximum) known for their broad view and large experience in quality content production, distribution and monetization in a cross-border context

  •   4 thematic workshops gathering participants with targeted expertise around specific topics to go deeper in the construction of our specific options.

We are selecting people known for their sharp expertise in their domain so as to organise separate brainstorming sessions. They will help us in the elaboration of the options on which the scenarios will be built.

3. Contacts and partners

Interested to provide your input and insights on what content sharing European platform(s) should look like? Please do not hesitate to contact Marc Sundermann (fondationdirector@euractiv.com) and Christophe Leclercq (fondateur@euractiv.com), who are co-leading this strategic study. 

The Consortium consists of:

  • IDATE DigiWorld: leader of the consortium, in charge of project management, business and technical expertise;
  • Europe’s MediaLab (Fondation EURACTIV): co-contractor, in charge of stakeholder and policymaker relations, business, journalistic; governance expertise.

With the following additional dedicated experts:

  • Francine Cunningham, Senior Public Affairs Manager at Bird&Bird and former executive of a key association of newspapers (ENPA). 
  • Gian-Paolo Accardo, CEO Voxeurop and Ex-Deputy editor-in-chief Presseurop;
  • Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist at IAB Europe and co-founder of vMarketeur.