After two years of careful planning, 2018 sees the opening of Thomson Media gGmbH, the German partner of the Thomson Foundation.
The launch means the Thomson group now also has a home in one of the world’s most exciting digital landscapes from which to help strengthen media skills worldwide.
Thomson Media’s first project involves working with the film industry in Georgia in a programme funded by the German development agency, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in collaboration with the European Union.
Much of what is happening [in Berlin] is shaping the media technology landscape around the world.
Working with governments, and philanthropic and institutional donors, Thomson Media brings innovative approaches to how media can help to tackle critical issues from regional security to migration and economic growth.
“Germany is forging ahead with its digital economy,” says David Quin, managing director of the German partner. “And Berlin’s digital media often have a philanthropic aim, with a strong civic purpose, which chimes with the Thomson tradition.”
An advisory board headed up by Deutsche Welle’s former managing director of multimedia, Christoph Lanz, gives Thomson Media strong insights on which to build for the future.
“It’s an exciting prospect to help Thomson Media get off the ground,” says Christoph. “Germany’s media landscape is changing fast, led by the sort of innovators found here in Berlin. Much of what is happening here is shaping the media technology landscape around the world.”
“Being in Berlin will lead to an expansion of Thomson’s network throughout Europe and build on long-established regional partnerships with media houses and donors,” says David. “We are continually learning from media markets in transition – how are they dealing with the new world? And that’s where Berlin comes in, at the core of an increasingly digital landscape.”
Helping the foundation achieve this will be Stuttgart-born Christine Liehr, the new development manager for Thomson Media. Having worked mainly in south-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East, on a range of media development programmes, she is keen to deepen industry links to projects.
“Many of the challenges we face internationally, such as involving diaspora groups in the public debates, have become realities for newsrooms in countries like Germany since the migration crisis,” says Christine. “Developing and adapting projects so that they work in their local media contexts, but build on sustainable business models, will be one of our challenges.”
Thomson Media's first project with the Georgian film industry is being led by renowned filmmakers Nana Ekvtimishvilli and Simon Gross along with film expert Marjorie Bendeck. It's aimed at boosting Georgia’s presence in international markets with a sustainable growth strategy.