Le Tank Media: stimulator of media entrepreneurship

We are republishing this article, originally published on Méta-Media, as part of an editorial partnership between Méta-Media and WAN-IFRA. The article was written by Alexandre Bouniol, France Télévisions, MediaLab.

Started two years ago by Nicolas Vanbremeersch et Mathieu Maire du Poset, le Tank Media has become one of the leading actors in media entrepreneurship in France. Now the initiative is expanding its ambitions with a multitude of new projects, including a 1700 m² space dedicated to emerging media. Interview with Mathieu Maire du Poset.

An ecosystem to structure

The press is not doing well. Several large media groups have announced voluntary departure plans. The climate in the media world is, to say the least, gloomy. And yet, le Tank Media shows optimism with its slogan “the future of media is bright”. According to Mathieu Maire du Poset, it is especially the big publishers that are doing badly: “transforming them from inside is difficult,” he says. But big publishers do not represent the entire media spectrum in France. There is a real vitality in media entrepreneurship. This is one of the observations that he has made through the prism of crowdfunding, which he sees as a “monitoring tool for very interesting trends and weak signals”. Whether we consider media professionals, entrepreneurs coming from other sectors, or enthusiasts who want to become professional, there is a strong demand.

The problem until now has been that this ecosystem “does not have a body, does not have a community”. There is no structure within which one could share their experiences. In addition, there is a lack of competences. The founders of le Tank Media concluded that there is “a shortage of digital expertise. Many use digital as a support, but few as a tool to carry out real reflections on the issue”. This is also the case with entrepreneurial expertise: “many come from the editorial side and are not trained for it”. Le Tank Media was born on the basis of these findings, with the intention to offer a supply to this existing demand.

An organization open to the outside

Taking after the DNA of the parent company Spintank (“we are with those who transform the society” goes the agency’s slogan), le Tank Media has evolved following the same guiding lines. Mathieu Maire du Poset explains that “the goal of le Tank Media is to foster the emergence of new entrepreneurship in the media, help the new media generations to grow, to structure themselves and to find the keys to profitability and independence”. Le Tank Media is based on four pillars :

  • Being a media

This allows le Tank Media to transmit “what is going on in the world of media currently, to broadcast an encouraging vision of the ecosystem, which is often said to be in a crisis but which we think is rather in a process of transformation and within which many positive things happen.“ Le Tank Media produces content via a blog, a podcast and a newsletter.

  • Being a community animator

This is a central point of le Tank Media’s aim to “try to bring to life this community of media entrepreneurs. Give them the possibility to meet each other, exchange, share their experiences… This is organized via monthly lunches with entrepreneurs, and annual and quarterly events.”

  • A mission to connect

Based within the coworking space of Tank, le Tank Media already shares its premises with Spintank and other firms (including media). The goal is to “make it possible for this community to meet up on a daily basis”. The initiative hopes to go even further with the opening “of a space of 1700 m² in Paris in mid-October / early November dedicated to emerging media. There will be about 170 workstations, a studio for producing video and audio, editing stations and an event room.”

  • A task to incubate, accompany and train

This is the heart of le Tank Media’s project, “offering to accompany media entrepreneurs, regardless of their stage of development. The incubation programme is for media that at some point in their lifespan need to profoundly rethink their value proposition. Whether they are publishers in the launch phase or publishers that need to reinvent themselves.” Twice a year, le Tank Media launches a call for projects. On average, 35 candidatures are received, and a jury consisting of members of Tank Media and media entrepreneurs invites a third of them for an interview.

Since the launch, three incubation programmes have already taken place for a total of 19 incubated media. There is no required template, but all types of media are accepted. For example during the last incubation round, a podcast, a YouTube tutorial and even magazines followed the programme (Internet actu and Bouche Magazine, to take a couple of examples). For twelve weeks, the incubated companies follow trainings, meet with stakeholders, exchange with other participants and are accompanied by le Tank Media’s teams. In the autumn of 2019, Mathieu Maire du Poset says that they want to go even further:

“We will launch a first catalogue of trainings around topics of intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. And an agency / studio that aims to accompany existing media in their capacity to develop intrapreneurship internally and launch new projects, while connecting to this ecosystem of new media in order to find more agility and resilience in their models.”

Uniting a community

Mathieu Maire du Poset confirms that one of le Tank Media’s ambitions is uniting a community. “We work a lot on the spirit of creating connections” among the incubated media. The old actors meet the new ones, and so on. Everything is done to facilitate exchanges between companies from all sides. This is made possible by one the great riches of incubation: diversity. The companies are all at different stages of development, coming from different backgrounds, and do not work on the same themes or media topics. “One of the tasks for us is to put them in contact. They all have something to learn from each other”.

Organising events is important to le Tank Media in helping to construct this community of media entrepreneurs. Lunches with speakers are organised every month. “Sous l’écume“ (“Under the foam”), a quarterly event, takes an in-depth look at a changing media trend, and “Horizon(s)”, also organised quarterly, looks at professions and organisations in the media. Once a year, le Tank Media organises a meeting dedicated to getting feedback from media entrepreneurs.

Through all these activities, the goal is to create a community of media entrepreneurs that will grow from year to year. Even if all of the individual projects will not succeed, the community will still be established. This is what Mathieu Maire du Poset underlines: “there are tens and tens of people who meet, network, help each other, whom we give new ways of thinking about work, and who will apply the newly learned skills elsewhere in the sphere of emerging media”.

Participants will also gain skills that will be useful and valued for the sector in the medium-term. “It will be a point of pride if we can say in a few years that we have fostered the birth of an ecosystem and we have helped a lot of people to work differently,” he adds. Contributing to the birth of this new ecosystem is also a bet on the future. “I think that in 10 years, the list of five largest French publishers will not necessarily be the same as today”.

 

(Main image from Medium)

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