Media Honeypot and YLE introduce us to the cold north

A visit to Media Honeypot ( ) and YLE, the public broadcaster, brought me to Helsinki.

Media Honeypot started on Wednesday with an opening night. Colleague Judy from BBC was there too and that made the entrance a little easier. I spoke with many people, including the EBU technical committee who went to Helsiki to attend Media Honeypot and for their meeting Friday at YLE. They all turned out to be friendly, interesting people from across Europe. I could not resist and took the opportunity to ask if I could pitch my project to their group that Friday. Check! It was late when we arrived at the hotel again and I could start preparing this unexpected presentation.


The next day the conference started with quite some interesting sessions. In between, I had also scheduled several meetings with startups and fellow broadcasters. Some highlights:

I was very impressed by the inspiring keynote of moderator Ralph Simon from Mobilium Global. He told amongst other things about the world record robot dancing ( ) and the successful live streaming of basketball competitions on Twitch to connect easier with a younger audience ( ).

Tomas Franzén, CEO of Bonnier ( ), presented how Bonnier developed into a strong brand being active in 15 countries. To put it in his words: "Content is where we can differentiate if we have the technology right."

Anders Schäffner from TV2 Danmark was the second keynote speaker. He told more about their commercial bingo. Instead of a traditional bingo format, the game board consists of logos from TV 2 advertisers. The users change the logos when advertisers' ads appear in the promotional blocks on the main channel. As a broadcaster they reach 85% of the Danish public every week: reason enough for a conversation about the Sandbox Hub. We decided to continue this soon via Skype.

With startup Utelly I was talking about content discovery solutions ( ), Bibb!io ( ) inspired with their recommendation engine and EzyInisghts, with whom we already collaborate, told about fake news detection ( ).

Spott, with whom we have collaborated in the past on a VRT Sandbox project, was also present and presented how they have now become scale-up. Spott told how, as a brand, you take your consumers from inspiration to action. Their interactive web player has a 2x longer engagement, a 67% interaction rate and a 10% click through rate. Strong! ( )

Trygve Refvem from MTG Norway explained that there is no ROI without WHY. He claimed that too many people know what they do and how they do so, but they don’t know why. He ended his interesting talk with: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Tero Ojanperä, from ( ) gave a very interesting keynote on how media companies should approach AI. Some of the most interesting slides:

After the closing speech and the start-up contest we enjoyed a small reception, followed by an extra network evening. In the meantime my colleague Karim had also arrived and together we discovered how the Finns experience such a networking evening: at the campfire, in the sauna and by jumping into a hole together in the ice-cold sea. A unique experience, but it worked!


After a cold morning walk of 40 minutes through the snowy forests of Helsinki Karim and I arrived at YLE. There’s more info on YLE at

During our first meeting we met the people involved in innovation. Anssi, our contact person, also introduced us to Vappu, who will lead the Finnish Sandbox project. Yes, they confirmed their participation! We discussed the various Sandbox (Hub) guidelines and presented a number of interesting VRT Sandbox projects.

Before lunch I briefly presented VRT Sandbox and the Sandbox Hub during the busy program of the EBU Technical Committee that also happened to be meeting at YLE. The presentation generated interesting questions and was hopefully inspiring for the members.

After a healthy lunch we met some ladies who work on co-creation. Two highlights of the examples that were mentioned are Oi Maamme! and #titanicilla.

Oi Maamme! ( is a format set up by the culture TV channel that celebrated Finland's 100 years of independence in 2017. The aim was to find value in the archived video material by giving it for free to the public. During a specific period of time, each month a theme (nature, technology, ...) was chosen on which YLE shared thousands of archived video clips with the audience. People could use their creativity to recreate new short video clips with the footage delivered by YLE. These clips could be uploaded to the broadcaster's own on demand platform Areena. Interesting clips were discussed by well known Finnish people on a television show. A selection of clips have also been showed during an exhibition at the National History museum in Helsinki. In order to promote this project, various workshops were organised in museums and schools around the country.

The Titanic project ( used Twitter to tell the story of Finnish passengers on board of the Titanic. Each character had its own Twitter handle. During a period of 20 days, it was possible to relive the journeys in real time by following the characters on Twitter. You can still read the translated stories at the account @titanicfi. The project has won an online community award in 2016.

After some extra examples, Anssi told us more about YLE's innovation structures and YLE Beta ('s blog). More info via the following video and

Rami, TV director at YLE, joined and we told him more about our project and presented start-ups that might be interesting for his needs. He introduced Cue pilot, a dedicated software for live TV shows and events, a start-up of which he’s really found:


Shortly afterwards he took us to YLE's studios, where we spoke with various people from TV and radio and we experienced the live broadcast of the Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics are hot in Finland, so there’s a lot being broadcast and spoken about. Surprisingly: in addition to the presenter and his guests, we could see several boxes in the studio, in which the editors were preparing the next broadcast.

Lastly we spoke with people from the news department on how they organize their teams and production. YLE still invests a lot in local reporters to gather relevant news. To manage the teams and reporters, YLEbuilt a management system in-house which is integrated with several other software solutions.

We returned to our hotel to immediately put the various “to do's” into practice. It was very late when we finally decided to leave our lobby and have something to eat. Unfortunately, we learnt that many restaurants are full on Friday night. Luckily, we still found one that wanted to receive us ( ), an old prison on the other side of the city center. An absolute must-do!

On Saturday we finally took the time to explore Helsinki and take a trip to . A beautiful, authentic island -Unesco World Heritage- at a fifteen minute cruise from Helsinki.

Tired, but satisfied we returned home. Secretly happy to leave the cold and the snow behind us.