Cases and Policies
- Handbooks of Research on Clusters series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson
15 Leipzig’s media cluster Harald Bathelt and Caroline von Bernuth 1 Introduction After the German reuniﬁcation, the city of Leipzig faced a very diﬃcult economic situation. Many state-run ﬁrms were restructured or closed during the course of privatization. Further ﬁrms were suddenly exposed to strong competition pressure by ﬁrms from West Germany. The results were substantial job losses and out-migration of the labour force (Bontje, 2004). Other industries, in which Leipzig once had a strong tradition, such as book publishing, had already lost their importance by the end of the Second World War and the subsequent division of Germany. This situation required that a new economic structure be developed in Leipzig in the 1990s. As a consequence, the location decisions of branches of the West German automobile producers Porsche and BMW, as well as the establishment of the public broadcasting service MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) were strongly supported by policy makers (Heidenreich and Miljak, 2005). In the 1990s, a number of new media ﬁrms settled around the activities of the MDR. The subsequent evolution of media industries is an example for the genesis of a new cluster. This development is centred on the areas of TV/ﬁlm production, graphics/design, advertising/public relations and new digital media. Since the emergence of this cluster is not a renewal of media activities that existed in former times, it is not embedded in historical structures and traditional social relations. The evolution of this cluster has attracted substantial attention but also has been oversimpliﬁed...
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