The Media Economics Program

Do you want to become an expert in diverse aspects of media economics and know more about the fundamental economic forces that shape the media industry? Are you keen on learning about M&A activity, programmatic advertising, the economics of journalism, platform competition, etc.?


New media technologies, new context

The Media Economics program combines facts and figures of state of the art scientific research with interesting and sometimes conflicting insights from industry experts.

The media industry has become an important pillar in local economies and societal development. New technologies have created new opportunities, such as innovative revenue streams, targeted content distribution, personalisation, and more. At the same time, developments in the media ecosystem have also brought new challenges to the sector, as online media consumption is rapidly increasing, access to media content is gained through a multitude of devices, and the industry points to the declining sustainability of content production, while new media players are raising new questions of concentration and domination.

Through 8 thematic and specific training courses, the Media Economics program will give media professionals and postgraduate students insight into the fundamental forces that shape the media industry and will equip you with the tools to overcome the challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities of the digitalisation, in the various sectors of the media industry in Europe (and beyond).

Each training consists of 3 days:

  1. An academic crash course on the subject 
  2. Industry experts share their insights from real-life business cases
  3. A workshop putting the insights from day 1 and day 2 into practice

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the program format has been adapted to a mostly online program:

Because of Covid-19 we have adapted the format in order to enable distance teaching so that all students, taking travel restrictions or personal quarantines into account, can fully take part. This does not mean that the program will be of lower quality or that there will be less dialogue, but it definitely will be different! 

Build your own programme

Option 1 –  Postgraduate programme
The full programme is recommended for people seeking more practice and industry-oriented education after having obtained their master’s degree and consists of: 
5 training courses, 3 days each,  over the course of the academic year. 30 ECTS.

Click here to learn more about designing your full programme.

Option 2 – Specific training courses
For professionals in the media sector that need to deepen their knowledge on certain subjects.
Select one or more specific training courses and follow either a full 3-day training or attend only the lectures and/or business cases.

Click here to learn  to build your individual trajectory.

The Media Economics Program is organised by SMIT. Click here to go to the website!

Courses & Schedule


The training schedule:

Click here for the official outline of the different training courses.

Turning young professionals into media sector experts

The goal of the Media Economics program is to give you insights into the fundamental economic forces that shape the media industry and into the economic foundations, strategies and challenges of transforming media sectors in Europe (and beyond).




Three main objectives

  1. To provide a deeper understanding of the media industry, the structure of media markets, the way both legacy players and new market entrants operate, and the challenges all of them face.
  2. To offer concrete, real-life insights from various players in the media industry through an elaboration of best, worst and ongoing practices by renowned professionals.
  3. To stimulate participants to develop their own thinking on the basis of exercise-based learning in smaller subgroups.

The Postgraduate in Media Economics offers…

…an ACCREDITED PROGRAMME (with 30 ECTS) by the Flemish government and the internationally acclaimed university VUB. The successful completion of the full programme will provide the participants with an accredited certificate.

…FLEXIBLE TIME MANAGEMENT. The participants can work full-time during the programme and arrange the days they participate in the trainings based on their availability.

…SPECIFIC TRAININGS that cover different aspects of media economics and media sectors.

…an INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT in the capital of Europe, Brussels. Experts and professionals from European media companies share their insights in the programme courses.

…DYNAMIC TEACHING METHODS. The programme is based not only on lectures and demonstrations, but also on individual assignments (for the full programme) and group work.

…SKILL-SET DEVELOPMENT. The unique mixture of teaching methods allows participants to develop essential skills for the media industry.

The experts

All courses are carefully curated by the module leaders, experts in their field.

Prof. Dr Karen Donders - Program Director of the Media Economics program

The interplay of Media Economics and European policy in a digital age 

Mergers and Acquisitions
Since 2015, Karen Donders is employed as a full-time assistant professor at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the VUB. As head of SMIT’s Media & Society research program, she supervises approximately 45 business, policy and user researchers that work on mediated communication. Her research activities mainly focus on public service media policies and strategies, private television, the interplay between television and distribution platforms, national and European media policy, and the way in which competition policy affects the media sector. She has been passionate about media policy ever since her classes with now rector Prof. dr Caroline Pauwels, giving up on sleep in lieu of heated debates on the course contents with her friends. 
She is always expanding her knowledge and will jokingly reply "When I'm dead." on the question when she will ever stop studying and firmly believes in learning from failures rather than from successes, as the former will provide lessons that the latter cannot.

Prof. dr Pieter Ballon

Foundations and Transformations of Media Economics
Pieter Ballon  is Professor in Communication Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. He is also the Director of research centre imec-SMIT (Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology) at the VUB. Pieter Ballon holds the academic Chair on Smart Cities at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is in charge of the general coordinator of the Smart Flanders programme. He is co-founder of the international Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) network and international Secretary of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

Prof. dr Laurence Claeys

Trending technologies, Blockchain and Media Economics
Laurence Claeys is, since 2012, parttime assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) where she lectures bachelor courses in Communication Technologies and Social sciences research methodologies. She holds a PhD in Social Sciences (Communication Sciences), an MA in Sociology and a Postgraduate in Gender Studies. She is affiliated at the research centre SMIT (Studies Media Information and Technology) where she is involved in research on Internet-of-Things, algorithmic living, privacy and end-user development.
She became passionate about building bridges between technical and non-technical domains during her time at the  Acatel-Lucent Bell Labs. There she was part of an R&I team which consisted completely out of engineers (and one designer), leaving she had no choice but to learn their language to be able to work together, understand their way of thinking and to influence the new applications. This made her think about the importance of being able to influence technology in the early designing stages with the engineers because these designs influence and shape our society in a more profoundly than people often image. 

Prof. dr Ike Picone

Economics of Journalism
Ike Picone is professor of Media and Journalism Studies at VUB and head of the unit on Journalism, Trust and Participation at SMIT. His research focusses on developments in digital news. He is the Belgian partner of the Digital News Report, a yearly international survey on news use and a member of the Flemish Council for Journalism. After starting his research career on the project Flemish E-Publishing Trends in 2006, Ike kept a keen interest in the challenges the news industry is confronted with because of digital disruption. From Web 2.0 over Big Data and now AI, the news sector is in a constant state of flux and remains a mighty interesting field to see media economics at work. He enjoys a glass of fine whiskey once in a while.

Prof. dr Tim Raats

Media Economics in Audiovisual Production
Tim Raats is assistant professor at the Communication Sciences Department of the VUB where he teaches several courses on media policy and economics, and coordinates the departments Medialab. He also leads the Media Economics and Policy unit at imec-SMIT.  Besides teaching, he is also often involved in contract research for governments and media players on audiovisual production, support mechanisms and management and policy challenges in audiovisual industries. 
He has been obsessed with film and television since childhood, not only watching but also studying the underlying dynamics. As a researcher, he got acquainted with the complexity of audiovisual production and the fragility of so-called media ecosystems. His main objective is to contribute to the sustainability of audiovisual production, especially in small markets such as Flanders. In audiovisual industries, a good story well told is always key, and that’s something academics can hardly contribute to. But we can contribute to analyzing the entire context (policy, education, management strategies, screen agencies) to create good stories that are well told and well sold.

Dr Heritiana Ranaivoson

Copyright Economics before and after the new copyright directive
Heritiana Ranaivoson is a  Senior Researcher and Project Leader at imec-SMIT-VUB where he work on media economics and policy. He obtained his PhD in Industrial Economics (Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne) in 2008 on cultural diversity in the recording industry. 
While digital technologies have been here for quite some time already, he is still amazed by the changes they keep triggering in the cultural and media industries and how they allow (or constrain) these industries to innovate. He is particularly interested in the impact these changes have on the diversity of the content these industries provide and what we do with such content diversity. And eventually, the policies that are needed in this new environment. He analyses these changes using his background in industrial economics and business modelling, with a particular interest in combining quantitative and qualitative research (e.g. the quantification of qualitative aspects such as diversity or innovation). As an economist working on media sectors, he finds it crucial to have a broader view than only an economist’s. This includes having expertise in media policy and media law. His interest for copyright has followed a general trend (since at least the advent of peer-to-peer services like Napster, eMule, BitTorrent) that it is no longer a matter for professionals only, but a topic that has a direct impact on citizens, and these citizens become more and more aware of its importance.

Prof. dr Wendy Van den Broeck

Advertising in a digital age
Wendy Van den Broeck lectures communication studies at the VUB. Her courses focus on research methodology and marketing.  She has a background in communication studies, a post-graduate degree in economics and management and obtained a PhD in communication studies in 2011. She is head of the Media Innovations and Living Labs unit and seni­or researcher within the imec-SMIT research group. Her main research expertise is in personalized and immersive media, targeted advertising and living labs. She is involved in several European and national research projects related to these topics
She has been engaged in research projects related to personalized and immersive media ever since the arrival of digital television in Flanders in 2003. These projects have allowed her to combine her passion for media and for the economic and marketing aspects related to this. She is looking forward to the lectures by industry experts as the industry is very dynamic and their insights will offer her practical insights into how they deal with these new challenges. She likes being able to get  ‘behind the scenes’ look in the media sector as an academic and is always inspired by theses encounters for new research topics.

Your individual trajectory of 1 or more trainings

Select one or more specific courses and follow either a full 3-day training or attend only the lectures and/or business cases.
This option is recommended for professionals in the media sector that need to deepen their knowledge on certain subjects.

1, 2 or 3 days? It's up to you.

Design your individual trajectory

Each training consists of 3 days:

  1. An academic crash course on the subject 
  2. Industry experts share their insights from real life business cases
  3. A workshop putting the insights from day 1 and day 2 into practice

Per training you can choose to attend:

  • The complete 3 day training through which you will not only gain insights through an academic as well as an industry point of view but will also take part in a workshop that will allow you to put your knewfound knowledge into practice.
    • 2 days of lectures, you attend both day 1 and day 2
    • 1 day of lectures, you choose between:
      • Day 1 - the academic crash course
      • Day 2 - business cases

    You do not have to complete an assignment.

    We offer company discounts for 10+ trainings.

    We offer a 50% discount for alumni of the ‘New Media & Society in Europe’ and ‘Journalism in Europe’ programmes of the VUB.

    The full Postgraduate Programme

    5 trainings, 3 days each over the course of the academic year.
    30 ECTS.
    The full programme is recommended for people seeking more practice and industry oriented education after having obtained their master’s degree.


    Design your full Media Economics Programme

    You feel passionate about media economics and want to fully immerse yourself in the topic.

    The full program consists of: 

    • 1 compulsory training course
      • Training 1: Basics and transformations of Media Economics
      • To pass you will need to submit an assignment
    • 4 elective courses
      • From the 7 elective courses, you pick 4
      • To pass the elective training courses, you will need to submit an assignment per training
    • 2 optional training courses
      • You are free to attend 2 of your non-elective training courses
      • These courses do not count towards your final result, there is no assignment required

    The full programme amounts to 30 ECTS* and can be combined with full-time employment. There is no master thesis.

    *Participants of the full Postgraduate programme are not eligible for a student visa in Belgium as this requires 54 ECTS minimum. Find out more and get help via the VUB by clicking here.

    The full programme

    Admission and tuition fee- The Postgraduate program of Media Economics

    Applications for the full program are closed! Click here to register for single courses

    The programme offers 1 compulsory and 8 elective courses from which participants choose 4 (30 ECTS* in total).

    You can send us your application until 1st October. 


    • English proficiency
    • Professional working in/with the media sector and/or
    • Graduate degree in a related field (including but not limited to study fields related to media, communication sciences, technology, law, political sciences, economics, management, ...)

    Required documentation
    To apply for the full Postgraduate in Media Economics programme, you need to provide via the link below :

    • Your CV (max. 2 pages) mentioning your studies, work experience, and English proficiency level.
    • A motivation letter (max. 1 page) explaining why you want to do the Postgraduate in Media Economics programme.
    • A copy of your highest degree.

    Documents required for the VUB administration include:

    • A Photograph (for your student card)
    • Proof of identity (a scan of your passport or residence card for admission)

    Applications will be screened by our professors who will select the candidates. Acceptance depends on the relevance of your degrees, your motivation letter, professional experience and the proficiency in English (no official certificate needs to be provided, but the level of English will be determined based on the documents you provide).

    Tuition fee 
    The tuition fee for full Postgraduate program: 3.050 EUR (for European and non-European students)

    The tuition fee includes full tuition, material for the training and program, a student card and full access to the university and faculty infrastructure as a student (library, restaurant, online tools, etc.).

    Click here to register your courses

    *Participants of the full Postgraduate program are not eligible for a student visa in Belgium as this requires 54 ECTS minimum. Find out more and get help via the VUB by clicking here.

    Financial Support

    Funding possibilities

    Network with international media experts in the heart of Europe

    The Postgraduate in Media Economics brings together a large number of media professionals from different media sectors, acknowledged academic experts from the field of media economics, and an international team of lecturers and professionals (Belgium, Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK, USA, etc.).


    Advisory board

    The Postgraduate in Media Economics programme is guided by an advisory board consisting of professionals from the media industry. On the basis of continuous dialogue between the directors of the programme and the board, we can guarantee a programme featuring the latest developments in the media industry and continuous evolution of the courses. The advisory board consists of:

    Bart Becks - Founder angel.me ventures, Executive Chairman EURACTIV - is involved as founder, advisor and/or investor at a series of start-ups and scale-ups. Previously, Bart was CEO of Belgacom Skynet and Vice-President at SBS Media Europe. He also co-founded organizations such as startups.be, BeCentral and was chairman of iMinds (now imec).

    Ann Caluwaerts - Chief Corporate Affairs, Telenet - is responsible for Telenet's communications & corporate affairs strategy as well as Telenet's wholesale business and P&L. Since 2016, she is also member of the board of directors of imec.

    Angela Mills Wade - Executive Director, European Publishers Council (EPC) and Chairman, Europe Analytica Limited - is the Chairman of Europe Analytica, an independent public affairs and communications consultancy company based in Brussels. Since 1991, Angela has been the Executive Director of the EPC, a high-level lobby group of European media groups.

    Peter Quaghebeur - CEO at SBS Belgium - is CEO at SBS since 2016. Before that, Peter was CEO at Wpg, a large book publisher. At De Vlaamse Media Maatschappij, Peter was CEO and Chief Commercial Officer. Before that, Peter was Manager Display Advertising, Advertising Manager, Marketing Manager and CCO at Hoste/De Persgroep.

    Kris Vervaet - CEO of DPG Media - is a civil engineer by training. He has worked at De Persgroep Publishing since September 2018, first as Publishing Director and became CEO one month later. He has worked as Senior Vice President Business Customer Division at EDF in France. He also worked for Proximus, in his last position as Vice President Marketing & Sales Channels

    Speakers and lecturers from the media industry

    • angel.me ventures
    • bento.de
    • Cresco Business Law Firm
    • Daldewolf
    • Discovery Communications Europe
    • DPG Media
    • Endemol Shine
    • EU affairs consultancy for Digital Industries and Content Media
    • Europe Analytica Limited
    • European Coordination of Independent TV Producers
    • European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance
    • European Publishers Council
    • Forallmedia
    • GESAC
    • Google
    • Het Nieuwsblad / De Gentenaar
    • IHS Markit
    • International Publishers Association
    • Internet of me
    • Jaeger Creative
    • Jonnydepony
    • Magis.Company
    • master the gap
    • Nielsen
    • Nokia Bell Labs
    • Ofcom
    • Open Markets Institute
    • Reuters Institute for Journalism
    • SBS
    • Telenet
    • VRT
    • WAN-IFRA
    • Wiggin
    • ... and many more