An innovative media ecosystem for Brussels

The project, involving the development of a new Brussels district that is creative, open and pleasant to live in, is also a strategic project of the Brussels-Capital Region that aims to promote the development of broadcasting, the media and the creative industries in Brussels.

The goal is to strengthen the international position of Brussels relative to other European capitals and the neighbouring regions, in a context of unprecedented change and growth in these sectors (media, information technology and communication, advertising, marketing, communication and graphic design agencies, news agencies, publishers, research and new technologies, music, broadcasting, and virtual and augmented reality).

A creative new part of the city

Specifically, the ambition of the ‘media cluster’ is to take advantage of the transformation of the RTBF-VRT site and the redefinition of the entire district’s image to encourage synergies between the two public television stations, the other media companies and schools located nearby (RTL, Nostalgie, HELB, etc.) or which are likely to move into the area (BX1, Ihecs, etc.), and other economic, academic and cultural stakeholders, in order to promote the development of a media, creativity and innovation ecosystem.

Brussels’ ideal location at the administrative heart of Europe and the strategic location of the Reyers/Meiser district between the European institutions, NATO, the airport and the universities make it possible to create in Reyers a ‘new centrality’ for Brussels, in terms of housing, the economy, leisure, culture and tourism. The district’s assets are perfect for this: a new space for urbanisation, a huge green area to put to good use, public spaces that will soon be redeveloped, a dense economic fabric, excellent public broadband networks – all of these are choice ingredients for this new ‘media district’.

Why have a ‘media district’? Sectoral and geographical clustering

Information and communication technology (ICT) and the media are particularly promising sectors for the Brussels-Capital Region, which wishes to support their development through a policy of clustering, involving the encouragement of networks and synergies and the affirmation and assurance of a high profile for contributors to these sectors in Brussels. In a context of ‘digital convergence’, the old boundaries between traditional modes of communication are being blurred: the choice of channel is less and less important, whereas the content is becoming fundamental. The products and services being developed are hybridising, creating new bridges between sectors. The development of the audiovisual sector is thus inconceivable without the associated production chains. The objective is therefore to promote interactions between these different professions.

The creation of in 2013 was a first such initiative: a centre of expertise and a body bringing together economic stakeholders in the audiovisual and related sectors across the Region, is part of a ‘sectoral clustering’ approach targeting a specific economic sector.

The emergence of a regenerated urban framework and spaces dedicated to media activities will give companies operating in the area the benefit of improved working and living conditions, enable other players to join them and encourage them to strengthen the local ‘media ecosystem’.

This is ‘geographical clustering’: creating a location dedicated to the media sector to give it a firm basis in the local productive fabric, increase its visibility and encourage synergies and cooperation, while providing an urban environment conducive to creativity, exchange and innovation.