The increased availability of high-speed internet connections, the boom in mobile smartphone usage, and the ubiquity of social networking have all combined to create a wealth of user generated content (UGC). In parallel with this expansion, ultra high definition (UHD) broadcast technology has been developing rapidly since its introduction in 2000’s.

The COGNITUS project aims to combine the advances in UHD broadcasting technologies with the explosion of UGC in order to create new interactive, immersive modes of production. Running from January 2016 to December 2018, COGNITUS is a joint research project comprising eight European participants, led by BBC R&D. The project is intended to optimise how UHD content is produced and distributed, by capitalising upon the knowledge of professional producers, the ubiquity of UGC and the power of interactive networked social creativity.

Watch this project video to learn more about the project.

Professional content producers now have an unprecedented level of access to new audiences and perspectives via UGC shared on social media. The most famous manifestation of UGC is YouTube, a free platform for uploading video which is now so popular that 48 hours of content are uploaded every minute. Twinned with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, YouTube content can reach audiences much faster and more broadly than traditional broadcasting methods. As of June 2014, the average number of video views on Facebook per day was 1 billion. The line between creator and consumer is now increasingly blurred, with almost half of social media users uploading self-produced content.

COGNITUS aims to use this democratisation of content production and distribution as the starting point for creating new and interactive UHD viewing experiences. In particular, COGNITUS aims to investigate how the contribution of UGC can enhance the audience experience of large scale events, while retaining high standards for content quality.

COGNITUS’ ultimate vision is to demonstrate the potential for bringing a new range of dedicated media services into the European broadcasting sector, adding critical value to both media and creativity sectors.


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