Not unlike other media, television is undergoing major changes. The Internet, as well as the possibilities of digitisation and storage, has contributed to the transnational circulation of content and, most importantly, the development of over-the-top (OTT) media services. These new digital portals (Lotz 2017), or streaming services, offer a library of audio-visual productions online without the intermediary of a distribution or broadcasting company. OTT services therefore act as gateways to a wide range of audio-visual content, without having to rely on a schedule (Lotz 2017; Wayne 2017; Johnson, 2018), which changes our perception of the medium and deeply influences the modes of production, distribution and reception of television itself.
In the new industry of Internet-distributed television (Lotz 2017), it goes without saying that the multinational company Netflix currently occupies the most enviable position. Even though contents offered by this streaming company are not only “televisual”, Netflix’s influence on contemporary TV productions is undeniable, and has even been documented by a significant number of scholars. Several topics have already been addressed, such as the question of algorithms and Netflix’s system of recommendations (Gomez-Uribe et Hunt 2015); Netflix’s role in the broader history of television (Jenner 2014, 2018); the multinational company’s production/distribution strategies and their impact on viewing habits (Matrix 2014); or the brand image and branding strategies of streaming platforms (Wayne 2018). Whole books are dedicated to the study of Netflix and its history (Keating 2012), its specific modes of production and distribution, its users’ viewing patterns (Barker et Wiatrowski 2017), or its impact on the television industry (McDonald et Smith-Rowsey 2016, Jenner 2018, Johnson 2018).
However, this centrality of Netflix within academic publications conveys a rather restrictive view of our media ecosystem, almost as if Netflix was the only platform available. Indeed, publications on new forms of Internet-distributed television mostly focus on Netflix, even when they are published outside the United States. This situation leads us to ask: what about other OTT media services or streaming platforms? What about local media industries? What is the situation of other portals, whether they originate from the United States or elsewhere, and how do they manage — or not — to secure a position in the new industry? On the flipside, how do traditional broadcasters –– which, it must be reminded, are still in operation today – are influenced by streaming services and their in-house productions, and how do they try to secure (or preserve) a position for their own company? Also, in this era of multi-platform viewing practices, what are the various consumption and viewing habits adopted by viewers?
This issue of Kinephanos seeks to better understand the advent of OTT media services (portals) and the new ways of viewing/distributing TV productions, by trying to look beyond (or beneath) Netflix in order to provide a more complete picture of our current TV industry. By deliberately putting aside the most popular platform, trying to think “outside the box”, this issue wants to encourage reflection on other streaming services and topics related to OTT, and, by doing so, to promote diversity (whether geographic, cultural, or generic). This issue of Kinephanos is multi-disciplinary, and therefore open to many different forms of analysis and approaches (institutional, aesthetic, sociological, narratological, political, cultural, feminist, queer, reception-based, etc.).
Articles may cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- Other streaming platforms and websites, their economics, operations, catalog, etc.,
- The state of national televisions in the context of increasing competition with streaming services;
- The regulations in different territories regarding streaming services;
- The state of linear/traditional television (broadcasting, cable industry). The viewing habits related to linear television, and/or those adopted for streaming services and websites;
- The circulation of contents on different platforms and websites;
- Economic, political, or social issues related to new forms of over-the-top television;
- Thematic, aesthetic, narrative (etc.) analyses of TV shows developed for portals other than Netflix, and/or their influence on other media;
- The development of original content for streaming services, that is, TV shows commissioned and/or produced by those companies in order to be distributed exclusively (or primarily) on their platform;
- Since “failure studies” can also help us better understand our media industry, we are also interested in articles documenting cases of streaming services that failed or went bankrupt –in other words, that did not find their audience.
How to submit?
The abstract must specify the topic and the object(s) of study, along with the preferred methodology. Don’t forget to indicate key bibliographical references, your name, email address, and your institutional affiliation.
Selected contributors will be advised by email. Full papers will be submitted by summer 2019, and the exact calendar will be communicated to the accepted authors. The issue will be released at the beginning of 2020.