Cooperation between tech startups and media companies can encounter many obstacles. There is an 'asymmetric relationship' between the two, which often complicates the collaboration. This is the conclusion of research conducted by Erasmus University on behalf of MediaMatters. Master student Media & Business Nurya Doorenbos graduated with it.
Partnerships with startups are a proven method to strengthen or improve the innovation capacity within large companies
Partnering with startups and scale-ups can be very beneficial for media companies. "Such partnerships with startups are a proven method to strengthen or improve the innovation capacity within large companies", says Doorenbos in her study. However, many media companies do not always seem to pay enough attention to working with startups. "Often it is not part of their strategy, the high workload within the companies distracts and there is usually little support from the rest of the organization", says Doorenbos.
Also, the starting points of media companies and startups are often different. Media companies appear to be very focused on the capacities of a startup, on what they can do. The startups, on the other hand, find the partnership much more important. They want to be seen as a full-fledged partner. "That is why building trust is very important," says Doorenbos. "Both parties have to understand each other's needs well and adapt if necessary".
Startups should come out of their technology bubble
Doorenbos makes a number of recommendations in her research that should improve the collaboration. Media companies should have more strategic focus when it comes to cooperating with startups, they should allocate more resources to it and learn from the success stories of other media companies. But also on the startups side there is still room for improvement, according to Doorenbos. "Startups should come out of their technology bubble, start with smaller companies and not always aim for the big ones. They should also communicate much more clearly, for instance about the limitations of their technology.
MediaMatters recently presented the results of the research at a conference in Portugal, DIG Lisbon. During a MediaMatters master class, both media companies and startups indicated that they recognise themselves in the results. "We have to realize more often that we do not always have the same starting point", said a representative of a large media company during the meeting.