BBC Research & Development is the national technical research department of the BBC.

It has responsibility for researching and developing advanced and emerging media technologies for the benefit of the corporation, and wider UK and European media industries, and is also the technical design authority for a number of major technical infrastructure transformation projects for the UK broadcasting industry.

Cenatus have worked on a number of projects within R&D:

Editorial Algorithms

At the heart of the experimental system created through this project is a scalable pipeline for the ingestion and analysis of online textual content.

Cenatus worked on an API to allow the creation and storage of arbitrary streams of data ingested by the system. We also built separate UI component allowing end users to configure streams of data based upon a subset of data sources ingested by the system, filtered by entities from DBpedia. [more info].


CODAM is a collaborative project funded by Innovate UK in the area of video fingerprinting and visual search. The partners in the project are the University of Surrey and Visual Atoms. The project aims to deliver a toolkit to track and identify footage in very large video archives. This could be of significant help to broadcasters who quickly need to find a piece of footage for legal reasons, or for programme makers who want to find shots of a particular object or scene.

Cenatus worked on developing and enhancing the existing web front end that allowed video ingestion and users to search for frames or video clips ingested by the system as well as searching for ‘similar’ objects within a particular frame. [more info].

Quote Attribution

Citron is a BBC R&D exploration into understanding how a machines might help judge the veracity of a news article. In order to understand the veracity of a claim, it is helpful to know who is making it and what their interests are, and this is something a machine can assist with.

Cenatus worked on an prototype API / UI to expose a searchable database of all quotations cited in BBC news articles over the past few years. This was used to demonstrate the value of the underlying data to journalists and audiences - creating tools that allow people to understand the types of claims made in the news media and their provenance.


The Data Science Research Partnership is a five-year research partnership with eight UK Universities to unlock the potential of data in the media, commencing October 2017. The Data Science Research Partnership aims to be at the forefront of machine learning in the media industry, helping create a more personal BBC that can inform, educate and entertain in new ways.

Cenatus built a survey application that will be used to evaluate participants viewing / reading habits within the BBC platform against their perceived behaviour, in a collaborative project with the University of Manchester.

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Published on 26 Sep 2018