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  • Writer's pictureRobin Van Gansbeke

Strategic vision on the future of media and the role of a public broadcaster

In a time marked by rapid digital change and societal shifts, VRT, Belgium's renowned public-service broadcaster, embarked on a transformative journey. Confronted with the challenges of an increasingly competitive global media landscape and the urgent need to address societal issues, VRT recognized the necessity to innovate and adapt.

In collaboration with Scopernia, a strategic pivot was envisioned to not only embrace the digital future but also to deeply integrate societal values into VRT's core mission. This bold move aimed to secure VRT's distinguished position as a local pillar of trust, information, and inspiration for the Flemish community, ensuring its relevance and impact in an era where media consumption is constantly evolving.

“It was refreshing to use Scopernia to draw a broader picture of the many changes that VRT faces as a media company, beyond the familiar technology debate. Linking the social changes to the major changes in media behaviour brought us new insights" Frederik Delaplace, CEO at VRT

Evolving in the wake of Covid-19

The landscape of media and entertainment is in constant flux, shaped by technological advancements and shifts in consumer behavior. For VRT, a public broadcaster with a deep-rooted legacy, this presented a multifaceted set of challenges.

The digital wave had already brought significant disruption, and the landscape was only becoming more competitive with the rise of global streaming platforms and the fragmentation of media channels. Moreover, societal issues such as the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the growing divide in social discourse, and the pervasive spread of misinformation added layers of complexity to VRT's mission.

Recognizing these challenges, VRT was poised to rethink its strategy, not just to survive in this new digital age but to thrive by fostering a deeper connection with the Flemish community and reflecting its evolving values and needs.

About VRT

VRT stands as a central pillar within the Flemish community in Belgium, offering a wide array of television and radio channels that cater to diverse tastes and interests. With leading channels such as Eén, Canvas, Ketnet, and Sporza, along with popular radio stations like Radio 1, Radio 2, Klara, Stubru, and MNM, VRT plays a crucial role in enriching the cultural and informational landscape of the region.

Dedicated to its mission of informing, inspiring, and connecting the Flemish community, VRT consistently evolves to keep pace with shifting media consumption habits, ensuring its content remains deeply aligned with the community's values and needs, while contributing to a stronger, more informed society.

Goals of the project

The strategic journey embarked upon by VRT was driven by a set of clear, ambitious goals designed to steer the broadcaster through the complexities of the modern media landscape while staying true to its foundational values. The primary objectives were:

  1. Future-proofing media and entertainment: To gain a comprehensive understanding of the evolving trends in media and entertainment, ensuring that VRT remains at the forefront of innovation and continues to meet the changing needs of the Flemish community.

  2. Unified vision for accelerated transformation: To cultivate a shared vision within VRT's executive committee, fostering a cohesive approach to the broadcaster's transformation. This alignment was crucial for empowering swift, decisive action in response to industry shifts and societal demands.

  3. Strategic vision with societal consideration: To develop a high-level strategic framework that not only addresses digital innovation but also integrates societal challenges and opportunities. The aim was to ensure that VRT's future direction is not only technologically advanced but also deeply resonant with the values and concerns of the Flemish community.

Through these goals, VRT sought to redefine its role in a changing world, reinforcing its commitment to being a public broadcaster that not only entertains and informs but also unites and strengthens the community it serves.

Approach: executive strategy journey

To navigate the complexities of the digital and societal landscape, Scopernia, in collaboration with VRT, adopted a multifaceted approach that was both visionary and grounded in practical realities. This strategy was built on several foundational pillars:

  1. Insight and inspiration: The journey began with a deep dive into the current state and future projections of the media and entertainment industry, enriched by insights into societal trends. This phase was crucial for setting the context and broadening the executive committee's perspective on possible futures.

  2. Engagement and co-creation: Recognizing the value of collective wisdom, Scopernia engaged VRT's executive committee and key stakeholders in a series of collaborative sessions. These workshops were designed to not only share insights but also to foster a shared vision, ensuring buy-in and alignment across the leadership team.

  3. Strategic visioning: Leveraging the insights gained and the collective input from the engagement sessions, a strategic vision was crafted. This vision was comprehensive, addressing both the digital evolution and the societal implications of media consumption, ensuring that VRT's future direction was both innovative and socially responsible.

  4. Actionable planning: The strategic vision was translated into a tangible plan, outlining clear opportunities and initiatives. This plan aimed to leverage VRT's existing strengths while identifying new avenues for engagement and impact within the Flemish community, ensuring VRT's relevance and leadership in the evolving media landscape.

Results: a strategic vision as compass for the coming years

Following the project, VRT now has a clear strategic vision that maps out its role in the changing world of media. This vision looks ahead, preparing VRT to stay ahead in the media game.

Along with this, there's a detailed plan that shows how VRT can make the most of its current channels and also connect with the community in new ways. This approach is all about strengthening VRT's bond with the Flemish community, making it more than just a broadcaster, but a key part of local life.

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