Redefining Television through Object-Based Broadcasting

Storytelling is an essential condition of humanity. Stories, whether factual or fictional, help us learn about and assign meaning to the events around us. They entertain, instruct, reveal enigmas, inspire curiosity, and keep us engaged with our culture, from sophisticated to trivial, and with our lives. Television is the dominant medium for storytelling; people in the UK spend on average 3.87 hours per day watching TV. However, online TV distribution, social media, and games signal the public’s appetite for something more than linear broadcast TV.

Digital convergence of media production and distribution has created new possibilities for the future of broadcasting. In this project, working in collaboration with the BBC, we will realise and illustrate these possibilities. We will develop new forms of video-centric storytelling that are responsive to the contexts in which they are experienced and, so, better at expressing multiple voices, arguments and perspectives, better at providing for personal choice of content, time, place and device, and better at supporting personal and community engagement and intervention.

Highlighted by the BBC as their vision for the future, Object-Based Broadcasting (OBB) represents the next logical step in the evolution of TV. OBB refers to media with the ability to reconfigure itself based upon the device, environment and/or context it is being consumed in. This project will illustrate how OBB could engender a fundamental reconsideration of the medium of TV. We will demonstrate the power of OBB as a delivery mechanism for accessible, adaptable, autonomous, conversational, interactive, immersive and personalised televisual experiences.

Leveraging significant prior research, this project will further refine underlying abstract models capable of representing rich narrative spaces and implement a mature OBB architecture, delivering an end-to-end IP-based form of broadcasting which is robust and scalable to public facing levels. This project will also develop production tools and workflows for OBB, working alongside world-leading industrial partners to produce real world examples of the potential applications of OBB.