A Typology of Media Innovations: Insights from an Exploratory Study


  • Valérie-Anne Bleyen Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Sven Lindmark Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Heritiana Ranaivoson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Pieter Ballon Vrije Universiteit Brussel




Media innovation, innovation policy, media policy, product innovation, process innovation


The concept and phenomenon of media innovation is gaining some attention in the academic community, policy circles and among practitioners. However, the phenomenon is still poorly defined and not well understood. This paper therefore first analyses how media innovation is framed in the literature on media economics and media management. Then it considers to what extent the standard analysis of innovation could be applied to the media field, considering, on the one hand, the traditional view on innovation policy and, on the other hand, some of the most common indicators of innovation. Based on this information, the paper suggests a novel conceptualisation of media innovation.

Furthermore, an analysis of statistical indicators on R&D expenditure leads to three assumptions related to media innovation, namely (1) that the Media and Content Industries (MCIs) are much less innovative than the ICT industries, or/and (2) that R&D statistics do not properly capture the innovativeness of the MCIs, or/and (3) that the innovative activities in media and content are largely taking place elsewhere (for instance in the ICT sector). Whereas the statistical indicators point towards the second explanation, a small round of expert interviews in Flanders revealed that there is a case for assumptions (1) and (3) as well. First of all, it was shown that all forms of innovation defined in our typology exist in the media field, but not with the same importance. The most important ones from the media industries’ point of view seems to be the innovation related to the product, notably concerning the core (e.g. creation of new types of TV shows) and business model innovation. There is also technological innovation taking place in the media industries, for instance concerning new ways to access and interact with the content but this innovation comes from out the media sector (e.g. HD-TV, search engines) and at best the media industries try to adapt to this rapidly changing technological context.

Author Biography

Valérie-Anne Bleyen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Free University of Brussels, iMinds-SMIT senior reseracher