Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Smart Media

About this Domain

SMIT aims to advance the understanding of contemporary media in the digital age. It studies media in the broadest sense including legacy and new media, as they continue to converge. We seek to support policy-makers, industry, civil society and individual media users who are grappling with contemporary media’s complexities. Specifically, we address three areas of research: (1) transformation of the media industry, (2) usage and experience of immersive and personalized media, and (3) participation in media usage, production and policy-making.

Media in the broadest sense

At SMIT, we study media in the broadest sense. On the one hand, legacy media, such as TV broadcasters, newspapers and books remain important sectors. New media, on the other hand, which include on-demand services and community formation around media content, have proven to be a growing market. Moreover, both continue to converge and together they play a vital role in people’s everyday personal, professional, and cultural activities, by channeling information access and communication.

A sector in transformation

As a sector in transformation, contemporary media present a variety of complex challenges for policy-makers, industry, civil society and individual media users. Take, for example, the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy set to integrate national markets into one. With regard to this initiative, it is relevant to investigate the impact of this initiative so far on the media industry’s development and on citizen’s use and experience of media services (e.g. in terms of cultural diversity, privacy and trustworthiness), and how the initiative can be made as inclusive as possible to live up to its potential.

Our research areas

  1. Media, content & creative industries: How are digitalization of media services, new user demands and policy initiatives transforming the industry
  2. Immersive & personalized media: How do people (wish to) use and experience media like virtual and augmented reality, and targeted advertising?
  3. Participatory culture & policy: How can we support people’s participation in media usage, production and policy-making?

Key Results

Research Result Photo of camera man by Matthias Blonski on Unsplash
Smart Media
6 Dec 2017
Flemish Media Fund crucial for sustaining TV drama in Flanders
Read More
Research Result Photo of Facebook on smartphone by William Iven on Unsplash
Smart Media
29 Nov 2017
EMSOC partners advise Privacy Commission in Facebook investigation
Read More
Research Result Picture of Bel10 recording in progress
Smart Media
23 Nov 2017
Mind the gap: Valuable audience participation in media production
Read More
Research Result Infographic Media Clusters Brussels
Smart Media
17 Oct 2017
Brussels: The leading location for media activities in Belgium
Read More

Key Publications

  • Roundtable report: personal data protection in the media sector
    The chair on Data Protection On The Ground organized a roundtable on personal data protection in the media sector in February 2019. During the roundtable, media sector experts indicated that the sector struggles with a lack of clarity when it comes to personal data protection. While some of this unclarity may be intentionally created by lobbyists and the use of so-called dark patterns, a major part of it has to do with the novelty of enforced data protection legislation.
    Open publication

  • Obligations on on-demand audiovisual media services providers to financially contribute to the production of European works
    Donders, K., Raats T., Komorowski M., Kostovska I., Tintel S., Iordache C. (2018). Obligations on on-demand audiovisual media services providers to financially contribute to the production of European works.
    Open publication

  • The Palgrave handbook of European media policy
    Donders, K., Pauwels, C., & Loisen, J. (Eds.). (2014). The Palgrave handbook of European media policy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Open publication

  • A novel typology of media Clusters
    Komorowski, M. (2017). A Novel Typology of Media Clusters. European Planning Studies, 25 (8), pp. 1334-1356.
    Open publication

  • Providing trustworthy advice online
    Talboom, S. & Pierson, J. (2014). Providing Trustworthy Advice Online: An Exploratory Study on the Potential of Discursive Psychology in Trust Research, Paper at IFIPTM 2014 - 8th IFIP WG 11.11 International Conference on Trust Management, 7-10 July 2014, Singapore, 15. (Best Paper Award)
    Open publication

  • Changing faces of Facebook
    Heyman, R. & Pierson, J. (2015). Social Media, Delinguistification and Colonization of Lifeworld: Changing Faces of Facebook. Social Media + Society (Special issue ‘Perspectives on Social Media and the Transformation of Public Space’, edited by Thomas Poell & José van Dijck), July-December, 1-11. (ISSN 20563051)
    Open publication

Principal Investigator
Karen Donders
Private: Karen Donders