The pollution generated by the development of new digital technologies and the evolution of digital uses now represents 4% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, with a very significant growth rate of 9% per year . This dynamic is mainly driven by the digital transformation of all industries and has been reinforced by the COVID crisis.
The France Televisions Group has undertaken initiatives to keep driving the transformation of the media industry and reduce its environmental impact at the same time.
The digital transformation and the environmental effects for the media industry
The media's contribution to digital pollution is mainly due to the increased consumption of digital content on a wider variety of formats and devices.
For example, in 2018 video streaming already accounted for more than 60% of total internet data flow and at least 1/5 of the world's digital greenhouse gas emissions. In France, the video-on-demand market is currently growing at a rate of 15.6% and already has over 8.3 million subscribers.
With a growing market, the storage and distribution needs of media industry continue to expand in order to fulfill the expectations of more consumers. In line with this growth dynamic, CO2 emissions associated with data centers and infrastructures currently account for 53% of total digital-related CO2 emissions.
In order to contain the increase of polluting emissions, many market players are willing to set up eco-responsible production and distribution strategies. As a result, major media companies such as Netflix are striving to reduce the carbon footprint of their offerings through the efficient use of digital resources.
Digital sobriety & the public mission for France Televisions
As a state-owned enterprise, France Televisions must set an example by adopting a commitment to reduce the ecological impact of its offerings. Several of the group's departments are working in this direction, so as to integrate digital sobriety and eco-responsibility into the entire value chain.
Thus, the Digital Technical Direction is working with Marmelab, a startup identified by the Open Innovation Unit of the Digital Direction at France Televisions.
Marmelab designs and produces digital solutions but also provides innovation and consulting services. The company has a strong commitment to the ecological transition by seeking to improve programming practices.
GreenFrame is a digital solution by Marmelab , which models the carbon impact of any programming code from the server to the browser, based on predefined test scenarios.
The tool makes an initial estimate (in g eq. CO2) and then, the program allows to model the energetic impact of any coding update. The tool is part of the continuous integration chain and runs automatically with each new code delivery.
GreenFrame has been tested for the built up of NowU. NowU is a new editorial offer by France Televisions about the ecological transition and aimed at young audiences from 15 to 25 years
The program provides end-to-end details of the energy impact for each functional modification. It models the impacts from the client workstation (browser) to the product's architecture back-end (database, web servers, network).
The programming teams are thus able to integrate eco-design criteria upstream of the site's developments, measure their impact and contain the offer carbon footprint.
The test of GreenFrame within the NowU project was performed as a PoC (proof of concept). Some improvements are expected in the future to increase the relevance and reliability of the metrics provided by the tool. Its use could be then extended to other products developed by the Digital Direction of France Televisions, as part of an overall policy to limit the group’s energy footprint.
Perspectives for developing digital sobriety at France Televisions
France Televisions' Digital Direction is committed to a policy of controlling energy impact. In 2022, our services were deployed on a new infrastructure with "smart" energy supply points (PDUs) that will make possible to collect and monitor the overall consumption of the equipment hosted in data centers (this equipment provides pages and data to websites and mobile applications).
At the same time, the Digital Technical Department is carrying out research to provide each tech team with an energy consumption model, based on real time data on the operation of the servers (processor time, disk access, memory use). These models will allow to objectively measure the efficiency of eco-design practices implementation within each product.
The extended implementation of this kind of initiative within France Televisions will give us the means to evaluate and improve continuously the effectiveness of our digital sobriety actions