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Issue Overview

The Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment & Information was formed in 2010. Since then it has focused on two main themes: industry-related risks and opportunities, and the role of media in promoting social issues and adding value to society.

As the Council heads into its third term, it has distinguished itself by launching a trio of initiatives which have delivered concrete results. One of these was to develop a platform to share self-learning guides on campaign development and evaluation for social issues (for example, health, environment, safety), with short case studies to illustrate how organizations from all over the world have put these processes into practice.

A second initiative took the Council to the Middle East. Here, it acted in a client capacity and used the creative resources of students at The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts to create digital campaigns to promote road safety. The campaign was unveiled at the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World, in Jordan, during October 2011. The campaign not only showcased the creative power of the local students, but connected international media companies with a pool of talent thirsty for work.

The third initiative was developed during 2011-2012. Acknowledging that a paradigm shift is taking place in education, and believing that the media, entertainment and information (MEI) industry can play a critical role in transforming learning in the classroom and beyond, the Council proposes to launch a global competition which will highlight and reward the use of rich media to drive the transformation of learning and education. It plans to launch the pilot competition in Indonesia

Council Focus

The Council identified three key issues to focus on during its 2011-2012 term. Recognizing that issues on privacy and content forms already have existing workstreams headed by Forum industry teams, the Council sought to collaborate and contribute to these rather than launch parallel projects or initiatives. At the same time, it is preparing to launch a new initiative to highlight media’s role in transforming learning.

The Ramifications of Privacy in Media

Increasingly, personal data is generated by new technology drivers in the sector (for example, location data and social profiles). This data is being collected online – sometimes as a “payment” for “free” content. How can uncertainties in trust and transparency be monitored? How will granular and targeted advertising interplay with privacy concerns? Is it possible to boost individuals’ capacity to exercise control, build systematic feedback loops between data owners and users, and head off distrust? How do you balance rights to privacy with rights to freedom of expression, or deal with the fact that cybercrime goes unreported because privacy concerns prevent reporting?

There is a consensus that digital hyperconnectivity is transforming the socio-economic landscape, creating new risks and opportunities. High levels of connectivity are redefining relationships and increasing complex interdependencies. The digital nature of the environment is forcing us to re-think concepts of ownership and control. The result is a highly dynamic – and frequently paradoxical – environment.

To collectively manage the challenges and leverage the full value of digital hyperconnectivity, two things need to happen. First, mental models must shift – from a mechanistic, reductionist world to one of interdependent complex systems. Second, trust must be fostered and strengthened to normalize digital interactions.

Finally, the source of the complexity may also act as the source of the solution and simple, local incentives play a critical role for effectiveness and in achieving scale at speed.

Council Action: Members, led by Chair Robert Madelin, Information Society and Media (INFSO), European Commission, contributed to the Forum’s MEI industry project “Rethinking Personal Data” through white paper collaboration (Annual Meeting 2012, Governors Meeting background paper) and participation in project-related workshops (Mobile World Congress 2012, Barcelona).

Changing Content Forms and Business Models

Content creation remains a costly activity. How are the economics of content creation shifting? What emerging business models best meet the needs of critical segments, capture the explosion in devices and platforms, and maximize economic returns?

Over the past decade, the rate of innovation in the MEI space has accelerated to a blistering pace. Digital products and services have become integral components of daily life, and, as a result, the way content is consumed has fundamentally – and forever – changed.

Key Council members contributed to the MEI Industry Partners project titled, “The Future of Content”, which explores the future of multiplatform content creation as storytelling increasingly moves from a singular, linear narrative delivered across “one-way media” such as print and broadcast, to content that can be delivered across platforms and devices such as tablets, social media sites and gaming platforms.

Through its involvement with the project’s Steering Committee, Council members helped to identify six principal disruptive forces and their impact on the future of content:

  • The rise of new digital aggregators
  • Technologies that leverage data and context are taking personalization to the next level
  • Emerging economies are bypassing a large investment in fixed infrastructure in favour of mobile Internet
  • Digital convergence is disrupting traditional TV and video distributors within a multiplatform world
  • Social media is driving new forms of curation and disrupting traditional discovery of content and products
  • Inexpensive mobile hardware, software, collaboration and infrastructure technologies are driving democratization of the content creation process

Council Action: Council members Madelin and Arnaud Robert, Distribution Technology, Walt Disney Company, advised on “The Future of Content” project by serving on the Steering Board. Council member Tony Orsten, TwoFour54, contributed to the project by penning a thought piece for the project microsite. His piece can be found here: – chapter-content-creation-in-the-arab-region

The output of the project is available here:

Transforming Education

What is the role and credibility of media and entertainment from a values and education standpoint? With education going online, with video gaming and reality entertainment booming, what will be the role of media companies in shaping young people’s perception of themselves and their world? How can entertainment and education be effectively combined and leverage rapidly-growing platforms such as social media for learning? Can education activity be a new growth frontier for media companies?

Council Action: At the Summit on the Global Agenda 2011, in Abu Dhabi, the Council decided to dedicate its term to focus on media’s role in transforming learning. It identified the “new model” of learning which is about “collaborative learning” and using multisensory interaction and participation to nurture creativity and thinking; while the old model is about “disseminating information”. The new model also calls for a coalition of teachers, students, multimedia trainers, start-ups, thought leaders, and global MEI companies to deploy rich-media solutions to transform learning.

As a result of brainstorming sessions and cross-Council consultations in Abu Dhabi, and subsequent follow-up meetings, the Council decided to create, develop and execute a global competition which will highlight and reward the use of rich media to drive the transformation of learning and education.

Council Impact


At the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2012, in Davos, there was keen interest from members of other Global Agenda Councils and participants from the private sector on the topic of media-enhanced learning. The Council shared and received feedback on its proposed initiative, and explored cross-Council collaboration.

Cross-Council Breakfast at the Annual Meeting 2012: This roundtable discussion included members from the Global Agenda Councils on Social Networks, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Education Systems, Internet Security and on the Future of Government, in addition to guests from the private sector. Participants agreed that learning needs to move from a “student as consumer and teacher as producer” model, to student becoming both a consumer and producer, with teacher playing the role of a knowledgeable and skilled facilitator.

Media’s storytelling and multisensory content convergence capabilities can play a critical role in enabling this transformation. While expressing enthusiasm and support for the Council’s media-enhanced learning initiative and competition, participants also raised questions on the criteria for entering, for example, whether the jury should focus on scalability and whether the entries should be global or local. In addition, participants emphasized the need to refine the metrics by which the effectiveness of the entries will be measured.


The Council has two impact-driven initiatives which aim to inspire and enable MEI companies to add social value through the core skills of the sector:

Public Service Announcement Platform

This project was launched in the previous Council term and has made significant progress, thanks to the leadership of Council member Peggy Conlon, Advertising Council, USA, and collaboration between the Forum’s web team and the Ad Council.

In 2010, the Council set itself the objective to provide a resource to all organizations developing public service communication campaigns. To deliver this, the Council aims to complete an online repository of best-practices on the Forum’s website by June 2012. The site will consist of two components: self-learning guides that are simply presented on all steps of campaign development and evaluation; and short case studies demonstrating how organizations from all over the world have put these processes into practice. It will also include links to video and other graphic elements necessary to make it a valuable resource.

Media-Enhanced Learning

As previously mentioned, this new initiative was conceptualized at the Summit on the Global Agenda 2011, in Abu Dhabi. The Council believes that there is a paradigm shift happening in education and the MEI industry can play a critical role in transforming learning environments both in the classroom (K-12, school grades prior to college) as well as professional and lifelong learning. The Council points out that some of the key MEI competencies and capabilities will position MEI companies to play that role, particularly their collective strength in storytelling, content convergence and distribution.

In the United States, for example, the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Education recently announced an initiative in partnership with the private sector (including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Apple, and others) to have all textbooks digitally available within five years. Recognizing initiatives such as this will drive rapid digital adoption of learning media, and the Council aims to play a role in ensuring that all actors who can contribute to better learning in a digital environment are inspired to do so.

Some of the potential challenges to this initiative include the MEI industry’s lack of credibility among those in the education establishment, including resistance from teachers. The Council has debated several different approaches. For example, a “confrontational approach” taking the establishment head-on, or a “circumvention approach” sidestepping the education system and going straight to users (students and parents). It finally agreed to adopt the “conversion approach” which calls for a coalition of teachers, students, the private sector and others. The Council proposes to launch a global prize – a la the Oscars for “media-enhanced learning” – to honour the new “bands of heroes” who offer innovative solutions. These projects can be new or based on existing pilot work. Winners will be selected from regional competitions by an interdisciplinary panel of judges assembled by the Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment & Information and its partners.

Next Steps

In order to bring the media-enhanced learning initiative to life, the Council is seeking to collaborate and forge partnerships with the Network of Global Agenda Councils, the private sector, schools and universities, foundations and international organizations.

The competition will first run in Indonesia as a pilot and has received the personal support and endorsement of Mari Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia. It is hoped the prize will be unveiled either independently, or in conjunction with a major World Economic Forum event in the first half of 2013. The Council has already received verbal commitment from Pearson, Lippo Group and Marvell Technology Group for potential partnerships and endorsements.


The opinions expressed here are those of the individual members of the Council, and not of the World Economic Forum or any institutions to which they are affiliated.