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The media industry needs more collaboration

Photo: Eddie Kopp
Accelerate collaboration with other industries and research. This was one of the future messages for media leaders during the NxtMedia Conference in Trondheim. Media & Democracy was on location to listen and talk.

This year, the Norwegian development network NxtMedia’s conference attracted more people than ever: 300 visitors, the majority of whom came from Norway. But there were also participants from their Nordic neighbors Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, as well as from France, the Netherlands, and Germany.

NxtMedia stimulates innovation and collaboration, above all among media entities and research. The focus is the industry’s crucial need to keep up with technology; the academic engine is the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

This year’s theme was smarter media; the program consisted of three main tracks:

  • What will make local journalism of the future relevant?
  • How can journalism offer new experiences with virtual reality (VR)?
  • How can media houses work with artificial intelligence (AI)?


Over 30 global projects
From here on, Media & Democracy will talk more explicitly about the new knowledge and discoveries that were presented. For example, in the WAN-Ifra industry organization GAMI (Global Alliance Media for Innovation) represents the ‘glue’ holding together more than 30 projects currently being carried out at different media labs around the world, including projects concerning methods and tools for developing the local journalism of the future.

In Norway in particular, they are concentrating hard on virtual reality. VR Norge, an umbrella organization, has been established to put collaboration and exchange of experiences into high gear. Many media – smaller and local, as well – are now using VR technology, primarily 360 and 3D, to create new journalistic dimensions. 

Erik Helland Urke, VR journalist at Teknisk Ukeblad:
“Text narrates, images show – VR lets the user share the experience.”

Challenging tech giants in the East and the West
Helmut Krasner, Director of Technology at the Axel Springer Media Group, was one of many who emphasized the importance of collaborating more. Even heavy hitters in the media are too small to manage the demands on innovation and the ability to get things done.

This is why Axel Springer has taken the lead in a multi-industry initiative together with Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa. Logins and data management are in the limelight, but the core of the venture is bringing about a European counterweight to the dominant tech giants in the US and Asia.
“We can’t manage without collaboration.”

Media development and democracyimg_4746_kopia.jpg
Media development and democracy
Collaboration is Lindholmen Science Park’s hallmark. Martin Holmberg, Head of Media & Democracy, was also invited to present the background to the national venture and the current work of the program.

Simply put, the agenda can be divided into two categories:

  • Start distinct research and innovation projects.
  • Disseminate new knowledge in the interface between media development and democracy.

“The response was positive; many people expressed curiosity in both following and contributing to the program’s development.”


Background to the NxtMedia Conference
Started: 2013.
This year’s date: November 15.
Where: Trondheim.
Attendees: 300 (sold out).
Among those attending: Media representatives, researchers, start-ups, investors.