Internships at RTL / Videoland

Daan Odijk, a PhD graduate from the University of Amsterdam’s IR group, is RTL’s data science lead.

As the largest commercial broadcaster in a declining Dutch TV market, RTL is making a transition from a traditional TV company to a consumer-focused media company. RTL is embracing a closer relationship and more direct interaction with its viewers, followers and visitors. They use AI, recommender systems and search technology to help our users find the right content for them, ranging from the 1 million daily visitors on our news website to the over 2 billion video plays we had in 2017, most of these on our rapidly growing video-on-demand platform Videoland.

When you intern with RTL, you get to work with real data and experiment on the millions of real users they reach daily. You are part of the data intelligence team with a dozen data scientists and engineers. To make that work, you have to work independently and ask for help when you need it.

Below is a list of project ideas for student internships. These serve primarily as inspiration to showcase some of the things you could be doing at RTL. Naturally, other projects are possible as well. We are mainly interested in bachelor or master level graduation projects, with a duration of >5 months (if the internship doesn’t involve a thesis, shorter projects might work for us as well). If you are interested please send an email to Daan Odijk.

Most of the suggested projects are especially suitable for a research internship, but MSc thesis projects can be formulated with the suggested use case as starting point. After acceptance at RTL, contact Arjen P. de Vries to arrange the internal supervision at Radboud University.

Videoland: Bingewatch-mode

RTL is placing more and more of their TV content on Videoland. These TV programs, but also popular series such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Temptation Island contain of recaps, closing credits, previews to lift viewers over the commercial break. For a Videoland viewer, and in particular a bingewatcher, these interruptions are only distracting from the real content. We would like to automatically learn to remove these interruption from the content to improve the bingewatch experience.

RTL Nieuws: Generating local news articles using data and AI

RTL Nieuws aims to touch people in heart and mind. RTL believes that local news is key to this, but a nationwide journalistic organization does not scale easily to local news coverage. Using data and AI technologies we can generate more local stories, making the coverage more engaging and personal. By combining automatically generated news articles with data journalism, we maintain a high journalistic standard, tone of voice, and visual style.

Videoland: Second screen

We know users are often watching TV & Videoland with a second screen nearby. This project is about envisioning a multi-screen Videoland experience. What would you show a user on an iPad when they are watching Videoland on their TV? Trivia from IMDB on a playing movie? What can we extract from social media, audio, subtitles or video content that would be of interest?

See also: 2nd screen experience

TV: Automated closed-captioning

RTL spents quite some effort on creating subtitles for their content. How close can we get to replace this with state-of-the-art speech recognition and limited human intervention?

See also: ondertiteling

RTL Nieuws: Predict viral content

What makes a story on RTL Nieuws go viral? Can we develop an approach to detect this early on so we can ride the wave on social media to even bigger success? Can we understand the network effects in play and intervene in this?

Videoland: Press play

We see on Videoland a new way of spending a traditional Saturday TV night that we like to streamline with a personalized playlist. Just lean back and press play for your 4 min update from RTL Nieuws, your personal highlights from The Voice and a short catchup on soap opera GTST, with some clips from StukTV in between and ending with the fresh episode of Temptation Island.