The success of media clusters relies on the ability of cluster members to cooperate and create partnerships. MCB has regognized this as essential factor for media clusters. Also, one of the desired outcomes of partnerships and successful clusters as identified by MCB are media innovation for the industry. However, it is not easy to overcome the natural obstacles that exist to create partnerships with potential competitors in the market. But these boundaries are by means naturally lower in a functioning cluster.
One example of the ability of a national cluster to overcome the boundaries of competition to create a potential disruptive innovation for the media industry has been presented at this year’s conference of the European Media Management Association (EMMA) in Hamburg (May 27-29). Marlen Komorowski and Paulien Coppens of iMinds-SMIT (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) presented their research about the collaborative and innovative initiative of Belgian media companies, Media ID.
Media ID is a common federated identity management framework for user authentication and user management for Belgian media companies, a so-called single sign on service. It has been launched in Belgium in the beginning of 2015. The functions of this service can be made more clear with an example: As an online media user, you will be able to go to your favourite Belgian newspaper website and login with your Media ID (a user name and password). Later, you visit your favourite magazine online and will be able to login with just one click, using your Media ID instead of yet another login. Lowering the barrier and time needed to create accounts at media websites can have an impact as people who might have been reluctant to create an account because it takes to much effort, now have it more easy and faster.
The Media ID service includes not only websites and mobile apps of magazines and newspapers in Belgium but also television and radio, covering an estimated 80 % of the Belgian media market, said Marlen Komorowski at the conference. This innovative service has the potential to disrupt the whole media market of Belgium, enabling longer and easier login sessions and easier and more secure online payments. The ease of use benefits both online media users, but also the media companies who can profit from getting to know their users better and create a more lucrative online environment.
The opportunities of such a service are only possible through the collaborative nature of it. To create partnerships across so many competitors from different sectors within the media industry is unique worldwide and shows how partnerships can create innovation in a traditional media market. The research about this innovation has been introduced at the EMMA conference, which was focussing on “Development and Sustainability in Media Business”. The conference is an annual event bringing together media management, media economics and communication scholars to discuss the challenges facing media organisations and their leaders.