Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Media Economics & Policy

About this Research Area

Within the Media and Society programme, the Media Economics and Policy (MEP) unit focuses on analyzing and ensuring the economic and cultural sustainability of content production, aggregation and consumption. Our research projects cover both market and policy aspects for a multitude of creative sectors, from publishing and cultural heritage to broadcasting, film, video games, music and documentary filmmaking. Researchers within this unit work on fundamental and applied research tracks seeking to advance knowledge on how digitization, internationalization and platformization have affected business models of traditional media players, how these media players innovate and interact with new players, and how governments contribute to sustaining or boosting local media ecosystems.

Methodologically, we combine qualitative and quantitative research methods (impact assessments, scenario-building, financial monitoring, business modelling, document analysis, mapping, quick-scan, case studies, stakeholder consultations, survey and data-scraping), with a clear focus on advancing academic insights in the field of media policy and media economics, and with a clear objective to critically contribute to societal and industry debates. We have a strong track record in research on audiovisual markets, with a particular focus on the specificities of small markets, and a longstanding expertise in public service media and European media policy. Over the past two decades, we have been specializing in applied research for media industries and policymakers. Clients include the Flemish Government, the Dutch Government, the Ministère de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, the European Commission, Screen Brussels, VRT, SBS, Google, SACD and the Flemish independent producers’ organization (VOFTP).

Our researchers have published widely in peer-reviewed journals and have (co-)authored several key publications in the field, including The Palgrave Handbook of European Media Policy, The Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Research, Platform Power and Policy in transforming television markets, Creative Cluster Development: Governance, Place-making and Entrepreneurship.

Our current research fits within 4strands, each time combining media policy and media economic focuses:

Key research areas

  1. Creative clusters, collaboration and Innovation: how can partnerships, ecosystems and clusters add to economic and public value of media industries? Projects include Mediaroad (EU H2020), SPECIFI, WEAR (EU H2020), CREATIFI (EU FP7), Media Cluster Brussels (Innoviris) and the Brussels Mediahub (Flemish Government)
  2. Platform economics and policies: how do media platforms re-shape media business models and how do they impact content production and distribution? Research projects include the Strategic Research programme on media economics (VUB), several PhD tracks on platform entry strategies, competition and state aid policies, and analyses of content flows from global platforms like Netflix.
  3. Sustainability of audiovisual production and distribution: how are current shifts re-shaping domestic content production, distribution and consumption? Research tracks include fundamental research on the role of shifting theatrical release for film, on the sustainability of policy ecosystems in small markets, and on the cultural and economic impact of existing audiovisual support mechanisms. Applied research tracks include impact assessments for VRT, VOFTP and Screen Brussels.
  4. Challenges in European and international media policy: how are domestic, European and international media policies (re-)shaping the democratic, cultural and economic role of media? Recent projects include the VRT Chair ‘Media in a society of transition’, a study for the European Commission on the implementation of the new provisions in the revised audiovisual media services directive, stakeholder inquiries into the role of VRT (Sectorraad Media) and several studies performed within the European Expert Network on Culture and Audiovisual (EENCA).

Key Results

Policy Brief
3 Jun 2020
Policy Brief #36: COVID-19 information on Social Media in Europe: A threat or a blessing?
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Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy Brief #35: Finally beyond the status quo? An analysis of steps taken to improve gender equality in the European audiovisual sector.
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Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy Brief #34: Vlaams middenveld en mediasector voor een sterke en slagvaardige VRT, maar wel één die zich op alle vlakken onderscheidt
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Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy brief #31: Vrouwen in de Vlaamse filmsector: gezocht…en gevonden?
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Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy brief #30: State broadcasting in Poland: Urgent need for European action
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Policy Brief
19 Feb 2019
Policy brief #23: Salvaging European media diversity while protecting personal data
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