Advanced Television

ITV to build sustainable design into VoD service

February 8, 2021

ITV is using DIMPACT, a web app that helps the digital media industry map and manage its carbon impacts, to embed sustainability into the technological design process.

Following a 12-month pilot phase, where ITV’s technology team worked closely with computer science researchers from the University of Bristol, alongside other leading media companies, the DIMPACT web app is now operational with a clear path for further development.

Recent years have seen a surge in companies setting Net Zero targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, including ITV. DIMPACT was borne out of this movement as the first serious collaboration to create a tool that takes the complexity out of measuring the carbon emissions of digital products and services.

Launched in 2019 and facilitated by sustainability experts Carnstone, DIMPACT is backed by some of the world’s most innovative media companies and the world-class researchers at the University of Bristol.

The tool allows participating companies to understand their ‘downstream’ carbon impacts, right through to the end-user.

To date, the tool has been used for reporting purposes, helping participants understand where the emissions hotspots are in their digital value chains. The next step is to develop the ability to model different scenarios, enabling technology teams to work with companies across the value chain to lower overall emissions. Such is the promise of DIMPACT that it has been awarded a major research commercialisation grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC).

Recognising that the carbon impact of streaming media content is the subject of competing claims and much discussion, DIMPACT has engaged the Carbon Trust for an independent validation of the model underpinning the tool and to establish the carbon impact of media streaming. The findings will be published in a white paper in April.

Tim Davis, Principle Architect EA at ITV, explained: “The DIMPACT tool presents a really clear picture of how our shows get all the way to viewers, and maps out for us the carbon footprint of our content. Not only does it allow us to see hotspots and areas where we can make our services more sustainable right now, but it also allows us to model future states of these services so that we can evolve the way we deliver digital content whilst remaining on track to be Net Zero by 2030.”

“When we started in 2019, there was some uncertainty about whether it would even be possible to create a web tool for the digital media industry. Fast forward to today and not only do we have a working tool, but we also have an engaged group of companies and big plans for the future,” commenteded Christian Toennesen, DIMPACT’s initiator and product manager.

“It is rare to see an initiative that combines cutting-edge academic research with real-world impacts to such a degree as DIMPACT. We have seen our research and modelling skills translated into meaningful results for a whole industry. We expect this technology to go far, as we have only just started. Internationalisation, forecasting, validation and increasing the scope are the focus areas that will drive the next phase of development” added Dr Daniel Schien from Bristol’s Department of Computer Science.

BT, Cambridge University Press, and Netflix join the founding DIMPACT participants BBC, dentsu international, Informa, ITV, Pearson, RELX, Schibsted and Sky.

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