Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Course 3: The interplay of Media Economics And Europan policy in a digital age (25/11 – 27/11)

How do policy-makers and EU rule-making impact the business of media? In this course, we not only discuss existing regulations but also how they have impacted advertising, video-on-demand, European content, etc. through the years.

Course 3: The interplay of Media Economics And Europan policy in a digital age 

For those that are following the full program course, 2 is elective.

If you want to register for this course only, you have the option between a 1, 2 or 3-day program.

Click here for more details on designing your own program.

We often underestimate the impact of regulation in a supposedly ‘free market’. The media sector is heavily regulated and the way the market looks like now has to a great extent been impact by regulation at the national and European level. Future managers of media companies, company lawyers and also lobbyists should be aware of the complex interplay between policy and economics in the media sector.

This course is for anyone with an interest in the interplay between media economics and policy and more specifically: lawyers in need of an update that relates law to economics, regulators, strategy and public affairs departments of media and communication companies, interest groups, politicians and their collaborators, PhD researchers that want to confront their knowledge with industry cases, start-ups active in audiovisual content or working with video-sharing platforms, etc.


  • To provide participants with a crash course on these European policy domains that affect doing business in media and communications at large, with a focus on Audiovisual Media Services directive, Digital Single Market policies, and competition
  • To show what concrete effects are for companies on the basis of trending cases such as the Netflix tax, the new Audiovisual Media Services directive’s advertising rules, due prominence requirements imposed on smart TV manufacturers and digital TV
    providers and licensing deals for broadcasters post-Brexit.
  • To make participants familiar with the newly proposed rules on platform-to-business behaviour with a business case placing them in the position of a business confronting a platform that adopts unfair trading practices.

Key topics:

  • Audiovisual media services directive, advertising rules, protection of minors, hate speech, video-sharing platforms, copyright directive, investment obligation, media ownership rules, media ownership transparency, …
  • Competition law, abuse of dominance, agreements, cartels, price fixing, collaboration in sports rights, Google cases, Amazon investigation, remedies, …
  • Broadcasting licenses, Brexit, regulators, …
  • Investment obligations, Netflix tax, circular economy, digital tax France, …
  • Advertising rules, product placement, limitations, single spots, addressable advertising, innovation, …
  • Due prominence, findability, EPG positioning, the position of content in VOD catalogues, consumption interfaces, smart TV environments, digital TV interfaces, …

The course curator

Prof. dr Karen Donders

Karen Donders Since 2015, Karen Donders is employed as a full-time assistant professor at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the VUB. As head of SMIT’s Media & Society research program, she supervises approximately 45 business, policy and user researchers that work on mediated communication. Her research activities mainly focus on public service media policies and strategies, private television, the interplay between television and distribution platforms, national and European media policy, and the way in which competition policy affects the media sector. She has been passionate about media policy ever since her classes with now rector Prof. dr Caroline Pauwels, giving up on sleep in lieu of heated debates on the course contents with her friends.

She is always expanding her knowledge and will jokingly reply “When I’m dead.” on the question when she will ever stop studying. She firmly believes in learning from failures rather than from successes, as the former will provide lessons that the latter cannot.

25 Nov 2020 27 Nov 2020

09:30 - 17:30


Pleinlaan 9
1050 Brussels

Close to public transport (Station Etterbeek)
Car parking available


  • day 1
    The origins of European media policy and the hoped for effects on media
  • day 1
    European Digital Single Market policies and how they impact media economics
  • day 1
    Why licenses are still hugely important for Discovery Communications and the move to Amsterdam
  • day 1
    Competition policy and how it affects the economics of media and platform players–agreements
  • day 2
    Distributed systems
  • day 2
    Competition policy and how it affects the economics of media and platform players–dominance
  • day 2
    How Netflix taxes will or won’t contribute to the production of original content
  • day 2
    How to ensure due prominence of European content in digital and smart TV environments
  • day 3

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