NEWS9 April 2021

BBC researching personalisation with Lancaster and Surrey universities

Media News UK

UK – The BBC has partnered with Lancaster University and the University of Surrey on research to inform the development of customised content and programming.

BBC House London

The five-year partnership with the universities will trial new ways of creating and distributing object-based media, an approach that allows programme content to be altered based on individual audience members.

The BBC’s aim is to develop a range of personalised media for audiences through multiple platforms and devices and the research will build on the broadcaster’s previous work in this area.

Surrey’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) will develop artificial intelligence-based techniques to separate audio and visual content. This will allow programmes to be customised based on factors including accessibility, screen size or audience interests.

Researchers at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications will develop a network delivery infrastructure to deliver personalised content to audiences by automatically sharing network and device capacity across streams.

The research programme is one of nine ‘prosperity partnerships’ funded with investment from business, academia and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

It builds on previous research projects between the BBC and the institutions.

Professor Adrian Hilton, principal investigator of the BBC prosperity partnership and director of CVSSP at the University of Surrey, said: “Personalisation of media experiences has an enormous potential to increase audience engagement making content more accessible, engaging and tailored to individual interest.

“We hope to some day give audiences a menu of choices that could transform how they consume news, sport and even scripted drama based on their time-availability, language and other personal preferences.”

Professor Nick Race, from Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, added: “We are excited to be working with the BBC, University of Surrey and a range of industry partners to conduct research that will support the delivery of new personalised experiences to millions of people.”