The year included many exciting highlights. The first MCB Pavilion at IBC – Europe’s largest media tech expo in Amsterdam; the inaugural mcb tech conference in June; and the continued membership growth; innovations, research projects and lots and lots of activity in the Media Lab. On average, the Media Lab saw nearly three events each week throughout the year.
The cluster’s companies continue to innovate at an extremely high rate. 80% of the member companies launched new innovations to the market, and half received extra innovation funding. The Media Cluster launched 19 new spinoffs, companies, subsidiaries or new offices. Our members received a total of 30 prestigious awards, including "Gullrutens Fagpris" to Myreze for best graphics/VFX on the game show Lost in Time, and the Internationalization award, "Villsauen", to Dirtybit.
The ecosystem is growing
The media industry in the Bergen, Norway area consistently generates better results than the industry throughout the country. Member companies in the Norwegian Media Cluster are part of a strong and dynamic ecosystem that grows faster, sells more, and contribute more to economic growth and value creation than the Norwegian media industry as a whole, according to a report from Samfunnsøkonomisk Analyse.
This ecosystem received tremendous interest from domestic and foreign companies, from different industries. And, in response to this demand, we introduced two new types of membership in the Media Cluster in 2018, with carefully selected partners.
The Business Associate program is open to companies outside the media industry, such as finance; health care; public utilities; consulting; maritime; offshore and more, and is geared towards companies that recognize the value of participation and networking in the vast number of activities events, and innovation projects driven by the Media Cluster.
The Industry Associates Program is targets companies that can extract and contribute value through active participation. The program provides value through networking opportunities with broadcasters and publishers, profiling and promotion, conferences, seminars and study tours, and joint research & development projects for innovation and integration with other members.
High Activity in MCB and the Media Lab
The cluster organization, NCE Media, has welcomed more than 150 official visits to Media City Bergen this year. We were honored and excited to showcase solutions from the members, to demonstrate how successful collaborations between cluster companies provide world-class innovations. Visitors included international media houses, embassies, corporate boards and a variety of business and political committees and delegations.
In June, we had the honor of welcoming President Andrej Kiska of Slovakia and HRH Crown Prince Haakon in June. The distinguished guests learned about the Media Cluster, NCE Media, and the University of Bergen's (Department of Information and Media Science) programs in Media City Bergen. Media Cluster members Highsoft and Motitech also showcased the media cluster's cutting-edge technology and expertise.
We are currently working with several exciting projects within XR (Extended Reality) in the Media Lab, including a a brand new "holodeck" - with cutting edge VR/AR technology,.. (Her er det bare til å fylle inn om du har noe). Projects - Media Lab Sandbox - Holodeck - VR station..
The number of events in the Media Cluster have skyrocketed this year. Together with our members we have hosted a large number of hackathons, workshops, breakfast seminars, student demos, and presentations. It has also been very pleasing to see that the designated workshop area in the Media Lab has been in especially high demand by our members. With many highlights to choose from, here's the ones that stand out from 2018:
SVG Europe Nordic Summit
On January 15 and 16, SVG Europe joined forces with NCE Media and Media City Bergen for the inaugural Nordic Summit and attracted nearly 100 delegates from across Europe and the U.S. The conference gathered TV, tech and graphics companies from across Europe and the U.S for a half day seminar on hot topics in the industry.
See highlights from the Summit below, or read our summary of the event here:
PS: The SVG Nordic Summit will return to Media City Bergen on March 7, 2019.
Justin Ferrell visit to Media City Bergen
In February, Media City Bergen was all about Design Thinking, as one of the leading experts on innovation, Justin Ferrell, visited the Media Cluster for the fourth year running. This time to hold experiential workshops in advanced design thinking for the Media Cluster and the Fintech Cluster, with a focus on challenges within member's ongoing projects.
Ferrell also led a workshop for master's students from the University of Bergen and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), as well as an open pop-up talk in the Media City Bergen atrium with a fascinating introduction to the principles of Design Thinking.
Straight from the Labs
The annual Straight from the Labs event was held in the Media Lab in May, where members of the Media Cluster showcase the latest innovations in the cluster. And the innovation is booming. Among the presentations were a joint project involving tech company Beat and the media house Bergens Tidende, which enables newspapers to keep audio content within their own domain. At the time of the presentation the concept was at an early stage, but it has since materialized into the application "BT Lytt", available for all subscribers of Bergens Tidende. Medier 24 have covered the project in this article.
The inaugural Media City Bergen tech conference
2018 was the year we finally arranged the first ever mcb tech conference, a joint initiative between the Norwegian Media Cluster and the Norwegian Fintech Cluster, Finance Innovation. The result was a tremendous turnout, with world-class speakers and amazing sessions inside and around Media City Bergen.
Read our summary of the conference here.
PS: The conference returns to Media City Bergen on June 13, 2019: Check out this year's lineup and get your ticket today!
The very first MCB Pavilion at IBC Amsterdam.
The International Broadcasting Convention, (IBC), is Europe’s largest media, entertainment and technology show, held annually in September at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in Amsterdam. It attracts over 55.000 attendees and 1700 exhibitors from 170+ countries. Several of the media cluster companies already have a strong presence with impressive booths here every year.
For the first time, we set up our very own stand, bringing with us all the key companies in the cluster as co-exhibitors and as partners. A delegation from the City of Bergen along with representatives from Innovation Norway joined us for a study tour at the expo, and took also part in the official opening of the pavilion.
The «Media City Bergen Village» hosted a variety of activities, product demonstrations and quick presentations, and of course included valuable networking events every afternoon.
The MCB pavilion attracted thousands of attendees, all of which experienced first-hand the innovative solutions created within the Media Cluster. Visitors discovered the technology and solutions of the cluster and, most of all, new contracts were signed.
Read our summary here
Study Tour to New York during the US midterm elections
In November, a delegation from the Media Cluster departed for New York City to meet with and learn from the world’s most forward leaning media and tech companies, including Turner, Vice, Adobe, IBM Watson and many others. The purpose of the study tour was to learn how American tech and media companies cope with the industry challenges of tomorrow, as well as meeting the market across the pond. The group was also introduced to new research initiatives, knowledge exchange arenas and schools.
The study tour coincided with the US midterm elections – a grand spectacle that is among the events with the heaviest media coverage worldwide. New York City is the focal point of a colossal showroom for technology from the Media Cluster. In 2008, when President Barack Obama won his first election, Vizrt had its breakthrough as CNN implemented their solutions, and in the following elections the other major broadcasters followed suit.
Read our summary of the study tour here
Christmas Special in the Media Lab
The Christmas Special is NCE Media’s annual gathering for members and partners of the Media Cluster, who were treated to Christmas snacks, entertainment and a recap of an eventful 2018. This event is also a good occasion to give some much deserved praise to some of the cluster’s most enthusiastic and inspirational people, who volunteer countless hours to promote cooperation and innovation in the Cluster. Highsoft CEO, Grethe Hjetland, was awarded the "Media Cluster Ambassador of the Year" for her contribution, enthusiasm, hard work and wisdom, and her efforts to strengthen the Media Cluster community.
2019 - what's in store?
In 2019 the Media Cluster organization will recruit another project developer, taking the total number of employees to six. Together we will do our utmost to create value and opportunities for our members. We will continue to develop the lab into a tech sandbox. Our collaboration with Deloitte Digital, IBM and Sparebanken Vest provides access to expertise and unique technical solutions and opportunities - for the benefit of our members.
Furthermore, we will strengthen our work with research facilities and academic institutions, and also work hard to make our innovation ecosystem to deliver its best to students, global tech companies, editorial organizations, startups and partners. 2019 will be full of new challenges.