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“Compete through content, collaborate through technology”


Jonathan Van de Velde, Program & Communications Director at MediaNet Vlaanderen

In line with the customer intimacy strategy, LCL accumulates and shares knowledge, expertise, and trends related to media. We do this to provide added value for various clients in the sector. This is also why we are an active member of MediaNet Vlaanderen, an independent nonprofit organisation that builds a valuable ecosystem made up of and for media players in Flanders. Capturing, managing, and distributing data is key for all enterprises creating content. Every media company benefits from an efficient and sustainable-by-design process. Just as every party benefits from bundling efforts around innovation and sharing the fruits of it. Jonathan Van de Velde, Program and Communications Director at MediaNet Vlaanderen, aptly summarises the philosophy: “Compete through content, collaborate through technology.”

LCL strongly believes in the power of co-creation to drive innovation. Within the ecosystem of MediaNet Vlaanderen, we not only present our own perspective but also advocate for the needs of customers in the media sector – e.g. through roundtables on KanaalZ, the major business TV channel in Flanders, and other events. After all, data is what drives every media company. And the amount of data is increasing exponentially, along with the need to formulate sustainable solutions for storage and management. MediaNet Vlaanderen represents the media in the broadest sense possible. “This ranges from broadcasters to press groups to scriptwriters and set builders”, explains Jonathan Van de Velde. “Especially from a data perspective, we do not consider media as one entity, but as thousands of potential chains with numerous links, exchanging information. Take a magazine, for example: a journalist writes an article, sends it to the designer, then to the printer to be delivered as a printed product. The same piece also appears online and in a newsletter, generates a podcast, an automatically generated social media post… and so on. Data is constantly flowing throughout the entire ecosystem. Therefore, every party involved in media capture or distribution must carefully consider an efficient and structured data policy.”

Cross-sectoral innovation

Jonathan Van de Velde acknowledges that it sounds like a paradox, but “the more tailor-made media productions you can create today, the more interesting it becomes for media companies to explore cross-sectoral innovation projects to optimise data management. Our media sector is incredibly competitive, but Flanders has a limited scale. Still, the content must compete with large international players. Because every media player faces the same challenges, it is interesting to collaborate up to a pre-competitive boundary, creating economies of scale. MediaNet Vlaanderen, as a neutral and media-agnostic intermediary, brings the right parties together: media, knowledge institutions, policymakers, technological partners. Once new applications or tools are available, each media player can customise them as desired.”

The benefit of central management

Storing and managing the vast amount of data generated by the media requires a lot of energy. In addition to the ecological efficiency gains that LCL focuses on, MediaNet Vlaanderen sees the benefit of central management. “This way, we could put a brake on the number of unnecessary copies that consume space and energy. According to Statista, a staggering 90% of all data is a copy. From a data center perspective, you could give rights holders access to centrally managed data. This would make the process sustainable by design. We are actually thinking about those open frameworks, who manages those platforms, and who the gatekeeper is.”