Paths are formed by being trodden. Denise Voci, having completed secondary school in the border town of Tarvisio, once dreamt of a life as a musician, before her path took her to Klagenfurt, where she studied Media and Communications Science. Today she works as a Predoc Scientist and is writing her doctoral thesis as part of an international project that explores cross-border media management.
Why should a media corporation choose to sell its products, be they magazines or TV shows, in another country? When is such an endeavour crowned with (economic) success? Which framework conditions are relevant for the big players on the media market when it comes to cross-border management? Which strategies are useful and promise success? These are the questions Denise Voci addresses in the international project “The management and economics of cross-border media communication – a study of the transnational relations between market structures and media management”. The project is headed by Matthias Karmasin (Department of Media and Communications Science, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) and it started with Universität Eichstätt, Universität Zürich and Universität Mainz.
At a first glance, the young woman, who comes to the interview wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a quote from the Rolling Stones, does not present an obvious match with the specific field of management strategies and media economics. This impression is soon revised, however, as she enthuses about the major aims of her work: “I study the media systems jointly with their respective media-economic facets and eventually hope to develop a model that can depict the various systems in clusters. At the macro level this should allow us to ascertain whether we can truly speak of a world media system.” While the topic of her doctoral thesis lies in the specialised field of media economy, her particular passion is devoted to the ethical restrictions that are, in many cases, self-imposed by the media corporations. To illustrate this point she recounts an interview with the publishing house Axel Springer, during which she was told that the Code of Conduct provided for an affinity for the Jewish people. Consequently, the publisher, one of the biggest in Europe, could only collaborate with countries who recognize the State of Israel as such. As a general rule, however, the challenges media companies face tend to be of the economic kind: For instance, the advertising revenues in India are significantly lower than those yielded by the Central European markets. Meanwhile, in other countries such as China there are restrictions in place in terms of media policy, requiring alternative strategies for cross-border business transactions in the media sphere.
Denise Voci’s journey to where she is today was taken one step at a time, and along the way she crossed more than one type of boundary. Growing up in the border town of Tarvisio as the child of an Italian father and a Carinthian mother, her first passion was music. She spent the year after finishing school living entirely for and from music. With a recording contract in the bag, she dreamed of a career as a singer. In the end, the strain of frequent appearances and her parents’ wish that she might add a second, less artistically precarious string to her bow, meant that she came to Klagenfurt in 2009, at a time when the degree programme in Applied Musicology was still being taught here. However, after a few months she realised: “The degree programme did not provide me with the level of imagination and inspiration I was looking for; I decided to focus on Media and Communications Science instead. I had already co-registered for that course of studies, as I had half an eye on the field of music management as a potential occupational field.” Later, when her Master’s degree offered her the opportunity to work with Franzisca Weder on a project centred on sustainability communication, she “caught the science bug”, as she calls it. From that moment onwards, she knew with absolute certainty: If she saw a chance to remain in research, she would take it. The position as Predoc Scientist and joining the project team, which also provides opportunities for international exchange, followed next. Time and again, Denise Voci’s responses during the interview start with the words: “Back then, I would never have imagined …” Media economics was not part of her Plan A, nor was the world of science. Clearly, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at Plan B or Plan C, which may offer far more than can be discerned at first. “It turned out well”, for Denise Voci.