Lessons from MediaCityUK: Focus on the community

Victor Wiard News and events

On Monday September 11, and in the context of the future Media Park at Reyers in Brussels, the social and economic council of the Brussels-Capital Region (Conseil économique et social – economische and sociale raad) invited to a conference named “Reyers: towards a multimedia pole”. Alice Webb, director of BBC Children and BBC North, was invited to share insights from the building of MediaCityUK. Lessons learned from the MediaCityUK in Manchester can help to make the Media Park in Brussels a success. The main advice of Alice Webb highlighted the importance of buiding a strong community at the Media Park.

RTBF presents its plans

Jean-Paul Philippot, administrator-general of the RTBF, showed how the new building of RTBF will look like. He discussed with the audience his future vision for the Media Park. One of the major structural changes of the new RTBF  building will be that the building will have an “open spirit”, with a public cafetaria accessible by the public, glass windows and open spaces. The idea is to return to the spirit of the old RTBF building in Flagey, with a public broadcaster open to citizens, in the middle of the city. Philippot also announced that the Media Park will host housing as well as facilities for private companies to develop the cluster. Amongst other things, the Media Park will host a Media House (“Maison des Médias”) which will be the residence of the french-speaking regional TV channel BX1, Screen.Brussels, Ihecs Academy and an incubator for start-ups. Other partners have yet to be announced.

Lessons from MediaCityUK

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children and BBC North, shared lessons of the MediaCityUK case. She was in charge of planning and supervising the move of parts of the BBC from London to Manchester. During her talk, she presented the advantages of creating a media clusters with bigger and smaller companies, universities and other institutions, as well as the difficulties of moving a big part of a big institution to another city. According to her, the main lesson to be learned from the BBC is to not forget the people by focusing on infrastructure and technology. As the Manchester example teaches us: “you build a community with bricks and mortar, but most of all with people”.