6-9 May 2018


Cape town , South Africa


350-400 Tickets



Conference background

The World Media Economics and Management Conference is the leading biennial meeting of the global community of media business and media management scholars. It brings together leading scholars from around the world to reflect on contemporary issues in the economics and management of media industries and firms. Established in 1994, the conference has previously met in Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Canada, China, Colombia, Greece, Brazil, and in New York in the United Stated of America.

Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor, Rhodes University

On behalf University, it is my singular honour and great privilege to welcome you all to this historic gathering for the World Media Economics and Management Conference (WMEMC). We feel particularly honoureddr-sizwe-mabizela to be the first in the nearly 30-year history of this distinguished conference to host it under the African skies.

Our University is proud to host this important gathering of world-leading scholars of media business and media management from across the globe. We are also delighted that the conference is attended by media practitioners and scholars, journalists, and academics from across the length and breadth of our continent and beyond. The conference participants come from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Far East and the African continent.

Our sincere thanks to our Local Organising Committee for organising what, I’m confident, will be a very successful and memorable conference.

On behalf of our University and the conference organising committee, we wish to acknowledge with thanks and sincere appreciation our eminent keynote speakers who have graciously accepted our invitation for them to address this conference. We also wish to convey our profound gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to all conference presenters for their time and effort in preparing their presentations for this conference. We are equally grateful to those who will be presenting their posters. This conference would not have been possible without you.

I wish you stimulating, productive, fruitful and successful deliberations.

May you, at the end of historic conference, leave our shores with a renewed sense of hope and optimism that tomorrow will be a better day than today!

Asante sana. Enkosi. Ke a leboga. Ngiyabonga. Tante grazie. Zikomo kwambiri. Ke a leboha. Ndo livhuwa. Tatenda. Ngiyathokoza. Muito obrigado. Daalụ nke ukwuu. Merci beaucoup. Большое спасибо. Baie dankie. Muchas gracias. 非常感谢你. Vielen Dank. Inkomu. Shukraan. Go raibh míle maith agat. Thank you very much.

Dr Sizwe Mabizela

Vice Chancellor, Rhodes University


WMEMC Robert-picard01_1280x640_acf_cropped (2)“We are planning a diverse and stimulating programme, including panels of African media leaders providing their perspectives on contemporary media issues, and presentations from leading media economics and media management researchers and scholars from across the world.” – WMEMC President and Chair Robert G Picard.

Important Dates

1 July 2017 – Online submission opens for uploading

16 August  2017 – Early bird conference registration opens

31 August 2017 – Deadline for submitting abstracts

30 September 2017 – Notification of acceptance of abstracts

20 October 2017 – Early bird conference registration closes

15 February 2018 – Deadline for submitting full papers

15 March 2018- Last day for conference registration

6–9 May 2018 – World Media Economics and Management Conference

Media Management in the Age of Tech Giants:Collaboration or Co-opetition?

The conference seeks to interrogate the business, management and leadership strategies, tactics and policies of the current media industry in Africa and globally to gauge their relevance and effectiveness in an age where international digital media conglomerates are increasingly displacing traditional media in the creation, value-addition and dissemination of media content to audiences.

The world’s traditional media had already been under siege in the past two decades after a broad array of digital and social media platforms disrupted their business model based on selling audiences to advertisers, leading to the closure of many media enterprises and the lay-off of hundreds of thousands of media workers across the globe.

The intervention in the market by global technological giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple – the so-called Big Three – and others has deepened and accelerated traditional media’s existential financial and economic crisis, which was also exacerbated by the worldwide economic downturn of 2007-2009.

In recent years, several leading media firms around the world have wilfully handed over their content to Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’, Apple’s News, and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to seek what has been promised as greater and faster distribution of their content to audiences and increased revenue.

But are these media firms handing over only these two key levers of their core business to their ‘frenemies’, a new term that has been coined to signify a simultaneous friend and enemy, or much more? For example, how does Facebook decide which content should ‘trend’ over any other content at any given time? What content analytics or algorithms are being used to make these decisions? What are these analytics based on? How can media firms trust that the analytics used – even if they are shared with the participating media companies – are scrupulously observed by the tech giants all the time?

Read more

Call for paper Submissions

Submit Paper here

Should you have any technical problems in uploading abstracts, please email the abstracts directly to and cc Dr Vanessa Malila at

Media Management in the Age of Tech Giants: Collaboration or Co-opetition?

History has shown that the advent of advertising in the media landscape had a significant impact on content, audiences, management, revenue streams, culture and consumption. The advertising boom saw the emergence of media monopolies and super capitalization of the media industry. Media firms made super-profits, with the average newspapers’ return on investment of between 15 and 20 percent in the last 50 years. Along with these profits, one saw an un-responsiveness by the media to their audience and advertiser demands, needs and wants. The maxim was that freedom of the press was guaranteed only to those who owned a press. The prevalent business model was based on selling eyeballs/audience ratings (ARs) to advertisers, along with frequent rises in ad rates of media firms.

The internet changed all of this. The rise of digital media, the emergence of online publishing and the advent of Web 2.0 brought in a whole new world, and the mainstream media has been in financial crisis since then, struggling to find appropriate business and management responses to the rapidly changing media ecosystem.

Most media industry leaders watched in amazement as these changes took hold but did very little to harness the power of the new media landscape because newspapers, in particular, had successfully weathered the emergence of both radio and television in the past. The media industry thus largely dismissed the internet and digital and social media as passing fads. They were not. Soon the mainstream media were struggling financially, cutting back on editorial staffs, attempting different business models, and watching the rise of citizen journalism.

The intervention in the media market by global technological giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, among others, has deepened and accelerated an existential financial and economic crisis that had already gripped ‘old’ media since the worldwide economic crisis of 2007-2009. In recent years, several leading media firms around the world have wilfully handed over their content to Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’, Apple’s News, and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to seek what has been promised as greater and faster distribution of their content to audiences and increased revenue.

The facts on the ground so far suggest that it is the tech giants which are reaping huge profits from this uneven, dyadic ‘collaboration’ with media firms, whose own financial bottom lines have shown little, if any, improvement.

The conference’s submission themes include:

Strategic Management:

  • Emerging challenges and opportunities in the strategic management of media firms: As the media industry adapts to changes resulting from digital and social media platforms, what are some of the challenges and opportunities offered by strategic management?
  • How can strategic management ensure the sustainability of digital media start-ups, and how can small digital start-ups survive in the era of the Tech Giants?
  • How to lead and manage media talent and knowledge workers in the technological age.
  • In an era where anyone can publish and be published online and through a variety of digital platforms, how does the media industry retain and motivate skilled, creative professionals?
  • What is the impact of technology and digital platforms on the relationship between media management and media workers?
  • The leadership and management of media firms in the age of algorithms.

A Globalized World:

  • The impact of globalization on journalism and media.
  • Who is defining the news agenda in a globalized world? What impact are the Tech Giants having on news generation, the type of news that is prioritized or not prioritized and why, and agenda-setting?
  • The role of media and journalism in the transformation of a ‘new’ Africa: Africa is one of the emerging continents which has promising, positive economic growth and rising populations, which are important for creating scale in business. How do local and global media companies harness the power of this emerging continent in light of a lack of infrastructure and technology, corruption, and political disruptions?
  • Examining the challenges of media development and growth in Africa: How do local and global media companies ensure the sustainability of the African media market in uncertain and changing technological, political and economic circumstances?
  • The role of media ethics in the sustainability of African media companies: How can digital media provide a space for alternative voices in a landscape filled with repression and ‘envelope journalism’?
  • Financing of public, private and community media in the twenty-first century.

Education, Teaching and Learning:

  • Challenges and opportunities in educating and training competent media managers and leaders in an age of shifts and volatile changes in the media landscape.
  • How can educators adapt their teaching and curricula to ensure they educate leaders who understand the media landscape holistically and can make their companies relevant and sustainable through strategic thinking?
  • The relevance of the current curricula of media management and media business in an ever changing media landscape?

Measuring Media:

  • Trends in media consumption, measurement and forecasting: what is the future in a digital and social media-dominated world?
  • How should we measure more accurately media consumption in the digital and social media landscape?
  • Moving beyond the numbers: What are the emerging trends in measuring audience behavior in the multi-platform media environment?
  • The role of Big Data in media consumption and audience measurement.

Media and Journalism Ethics:

  • The role of media and journalistic ethics in the sustainability of media: how can digital and social media provide a space for alternative voices while shaping credible and quality content which has been the key driver of the financial survival of media firms for years?
  • In an age of increasing ‘fake news’ and, in parts of the world of ‘envelope journalism’, who is setting the agenda, and how do media companies ensure they remain ethical in an age of heightened competition?
  • The ethics of truth in an age of ‘post-truth’: what implications do the trends of minimizing the facts and of ‘creating’ the facts and the truth have on media content and media’s future viability?
  • How can media managers observe and enforce media ethics when faced with demands from audiences, social media and technology companies for fast ‘facts’ and instant news content?

 IMPORTANT NOTE: Papers on other topics directly relevant to media economics and media management will also be considered.

Read full document

Provisional Programme

Key Topics

  • Saving Media and Quality Journalism in the ‘Platform Economy’
  • Direct from the Horse’s Mouth: How Global Tech Giants See Media’s Sustainability
  • Strategic Management Takes Centre Stage in Re-shaping Media’s Survival
  • The Hype and Myths of Digital, Social and Mobile Business Models
  • Focus on African Media and Journalism: Growth Opportunities and Threats
  • Emerging Trends in Media Consumption and Measurement
  • Redefining the Curriculum of Media Management and Media Business
  • Reclaiming Journalism’s Role and Place in Post-Truth Era

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Flashback:International delegates attending the 13th WMEMC in Cape Town in 2018

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