Innovation in the newsroom

Enriching the BBC's digital output with Object Based Media

Ben Nuttall

Abstractions Open-Source Public Cloud (AWS/Google/...) python

See in schedule

In BBC News Labs, we're always looking for ways to innovate without requiring production teams to change their workflows. We investigated ways we could enrich our digital output by extracting detailed information about the contents of our TV and radio programmes from their running orders.

Like many traditional broadcasters, the BBC uses the MOS Protocol for communications between newsroom computers and servers where media files such as audio and video are stored.

Production teams create running orders using enterprise broadcasting tools, and every time they add details or make changes, XML messages are emitted by the newsroom computer systems. We've created a way to process these messages to build up a machine-readable version of the running order.

We developed a general solution for dealing with MOS messages - a Python library called mosromgr (MOS running order manager). It's based on open standards and could be useful to other broadcasting organisations, so we've released it under an open source licence.

This library was developed by the BBC News Labs team as part of a series of projects based around extracting information from running orders from the BBC's TV and radio programmes.

This talk aims to share the detail of our innovation projects investigating personalisation, automatic chapterisation and live notifications, and showcases our Python library and AWS pipeline.

Type: Talk (30 mins); Python level: Beginner; Domain level: Beginner


Ben Nuttall

BBC News Labs

Ben is a software engineer at the BBC, working on building prototypes in BBC News Labs. Previously Ben was community manager and technical manager at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He's the creator of the gpiozero library and the piwheels project, as well as maintaining and contributing to other open source projects. He also writes articles about Python, Linux and more for opensource.com.