Increasing automation in the industry may be a difficult topic but Ericsson’s Elisabetta Romano believes it has great potential not just for broadcast but for the media industry as a whole.

In her role as VP and Head of TV & Media at Ericsson, Elisabetta Romano is charged with helping content owners, broadcasters and TV service providers to select the most forward-looking TV and video offerings.

Logically enough, the session that she chaired at IBC2016, ‘New Skills for the Robot-Dominated Future’, addressed one of the thorniest technological issues currently confronting broadcasters and service providers: namely, the prospect of greatly increased automation.

While it is clear that we are in a fairly early stage of the transition, Romano is in no doubt that major change is on the way. “I am a firm believer in the potential of automation in general for industry, and then of course for media in particular,” she remarks.

Machine learning

Romano expects automation to impact on broadcast production and consumption in several primary ways. Firstly, there will be greater adoption of sophisticated “machine learning” that will enable enhanced personalisation of content for viewers. Romano sees this as vital.

“More and more content is being held in the cloud,” she says. “Within the digital world as a whole, what people want is a certain level of interactivity and personalisation. So obtaining the [necessary] analytics and machine learning will be very important.”

“I am a firm believer in the potential of automation to transform media”

The level of awareness about these new technologies remains variable across the industry, suggests Romano, but adds, “more and more people are [realising what it can bring] to their clients and customers.”

In time, she says, automation is something that we can expect to see having an impact all the way up the value chain, although it will require careful decisions to be made about metadata discovery, managed services, bandwidth availability, and much more besides.

Then there is the problematic issue of the effect upon labour and future recruitment – no easy subject, confirms Romano, although as she points out it is hardly limited to media: “It is a society issue, let us be honest.”

Ericsson simplified structure

Ericsson simplified structure

Source: Ericsson Annual Report 2016

There was no shortage of material for Romano and her guests – MUBI’s Alexander McWilliam, Cisco’s Dave Ward, RTL’s Geoffrey van Meer and Adobe’s Laura Williams Argilla – to grapple with, then. But Romano also made a further conference appearance during the ‘Wrap-Up’ session entitled ‘Identifying the Key Trends’ on 12 September.

“We have had a very exciting IBC,” says Romano, whose previous roles during a three-decade career in telecoms, IT and media include VP and Head of OSS & Service Enablement at Ericsson, and President of Pride (an Ericsson company). “We see so much activity around the issue of creating new applications and developing functionality, and that was much in evidence at IBC this year. There is a great interest in finding out how to make a success of the new technologies and to realise their full potential for both improvement of business and the customer experience – and that is certainly a priority for us at Ericsson.”

IBCTV Interview with Elisabetta Romano, Ericsson


Elisabetta romano

Elisabetta Romano

Elisabetta Romano

Vice President and Head of TV & Media, Ericsson

Region: USA

Elisabetta Romano is Vice President and Head of TV & Media at Ericsson. Romano leads a global organization of strategy, engineering, marketing, sales, and customer support teams developing solutions and services that enable content owners, broadcasters and TV service providers to deliver the most cutting-edge consumer TV and video offerings. In this role, she oversees an industry leading product portfolio addressing the entire TV and media value chain from video processing and delivery to the consumer experience.

Romano is a highly experienced business leader, excelling in guiding customers through industry transformations. Her highly passionate, analytical and innovative approach leverages Ericsson’s unique position at the intersection of TV, the Internet and mobility to ensure that industry players successfully capitalize on new opportunities in the Internet era of TV. 

Romano brings nearly three decades of telecoms, IT and media industry experience to her role. Most recently, she was Vice President and Head of OSS & Service Enablement for Ericsson, shaping the telecom industry transformation and responsible for the entire portfolio strategy including several successful acquisitions.

Previously, she served as President of Pride (an Ericsson company), providing ICT systems integration and consulting for industries such as TV, media, telecom, utilities and government. Throughout her Ericsson career, Romano has been in senior roles that range from strategy and product development to customer and partner management. Prior to joining Ericsson in 1997, she held positions at Alcatel and Bell Telephone (Belgium).

This interview was first conducted for IBC2016