Media organisations face growing demands for co-operation. Achieving innovation that is vital requires collaborative arrangements based on creative interaction. Collaboration is often realized in networked operations between media organisations (e.g. Baumann, 2013), media clusters as one example. At the same time, competition in the media field intensifies. It is here that the concept and theory of value networks becomes useful (e.g. de Man, Berends, Lammers, van Raaij & van Weele 2008; Bathelt, Malmberg & Maskell, 2004). Also, the intensity, i.e. the frequency and range of interactions in clusters of media companies becomes a central factor for consideration (Picard, 2008). In this reality, managerial challenges, especially, in relation to interaction, collaboration and co-opetition are considerable, and respective competences need to be developed and utilized for success.
Collaborative production is typical for innovation-intensive industries (Nohria & Eccles, 1992), and media firms are no different in this respect. However, the configuration of collaborative relationships in and between media organisations in networks is a complex managerial task, especially in the rapidly changing environment of diminishing resources. Media managers must be competent in handling various dependencies in value networks for shared value creation (e.g. Bilton, 2007), and especially the related tensions. To be useful, co-operative relationships need to be created and built, and the network development happens in stages (Büchel & Raub, 2002).
The empirical case of the paper is Mediapolis (http://mediapolis.fi/en/) in Tampere, Finland. It is a new media centre and a cluster, an ecosystem and a network for content production and digital industries with a vision ”Mediapolis is a centre for storytelling and digital industries, where interdisciplinary innovations are born”. The Mediapolis campus was launched in the autumn 2014, although the planning started some years before. It is an interesting case for analysis, because its viability depends on the creation and management of a creative value network.
Mediapolis development illustrates challenges and tensions of simultaneous collaboration and competition, i.e. co-opetition in a value network aiming for innovation. Especially, the managerial challenges in creating and developing the Mediapolis operational model have been significant, and continue to be so. The paper explores the first years of Mediapolis, providing a unique access to the forming stage of a creative media cluster development and its management. Thus, the paper contributes directly to the conference theme by developing understanding about creative collaboration and coopetition aiming at achieving media innovation, especially focusing on the complexity of interactions and tensions between Mediapolis partners.
The empirical research material consists of semi-structured interviews, including the main Mediapolis partners’ management representatives as interviewees. The interviews have been conducted in different stages of Mediapolis development, e.g. in the early stages of planning and after the campus launch. Also, Mediapolis documentation has been collected from open sources (e.g. websites) and acquired from partner organisations. The study utilizes a qualitative case study approach (Stake, 1995), suitable for analysing unique cases in detail to create understanding about a phenomenon. Document analysis (Bowen, 2009) and qualitative thematic coding with ‘factual’ approach (e.g. Patton, 2002; Alastalo & Åkerman, 2010) are used as methodological approaches, and Atlas.ti software is utilized for analysis.
In conclusion, the purpose of the paper is to discuss and elaborate on the various managerial and organisational dependencies and tensions in creating Mediapolis. Further, a central focus will be on the managerial competences required to deal with the new realities of value networks successfully in the media industry. The methodological approach is qualitative, with the aim of creating new knowledge on the scholarly field of media management for both academic and practical purposes. In media management, value networks have been scarcely researched, but the topic is highly timely and worthy of scholarly attention.
cluster management, coopetition, dependencies, media clusters, value networks, tensions
EMMA Annual Conference 2016, Creativity, Coopetition and Uncertainty in Media, Porto, June 2-5, 2016