THE BOYS, from left: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Karen Fukuhara, Tomer Capon, Laz Alonso, Over the Hill With the Swords of a Thousand Men , (Season 2, ep. 203, aired Sep. 4, 2020). photo: Jasper Savage / ©Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

Abstracts due 22 Sept 2023

Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies

Guest editors: Dr Maura Edmond, Dr Olivia Khoo, Dr Claire Perkins and Dr Verity Trott, from @Gender&MediaLab in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, Australia.

Deadline for abstracts: 22 September 2023 | Expected publication date: August 2024

The unprecedented growth of video-on-demand streaming platforms has brought both new optimism and new complications to concerns around screen ‘diversity’. Without the limitations of linear television, streaming services have far greater capacity for producing and distributing more diverse screen content. Many of the streaming platforms have made high profile public commitments to diversity, such as Netflix’s ‘Inclusion Report’, introducing new policies and commissioning processes intended to support culturally diverse representation and content production. Large global SVODs and smaller region-specific and genre-specific platforms have also launched original series and commissioned content that has been widely marketed as and celebrated for its diverse representations. Together, this has created a popular impression that streaming platforms are improving diversity in terms of both representation and practical opportunities for screen creatives. This special issue of Convergence will critically explore the impacts of video streaming platforms on different dimensions of ‘diversity’.

Existing studies on diversity in the screen sector have consistently demonstrated long standing and entrenched inequality regimes affecting women and non-dominant groups, but there remains limited research on how this plays out at the streaming services specifically. Research on SVOD-related impacts have focused instead on understanding how major global companies like Netflix have interacted with existing local screen industries and production ecosystems, affected global distribution and content flows, and created overall regulatory imbalances. We are calling for papers that will examine the impacts of video streaming platforms that extend our understanding of diversity in an era of automated, on-demand video.

In keeping with the themes of this issue, we welcome proposals looking at streaming services and experiences outside US contexts.

Questions of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • How is diversity represented and made discoverable via platform features such as the image tiles and categories used in catalogues?
  • How do recommendation systems understand and operationalise ‘diversity’?
  • What values and messages about diversity are being communicated by the content commissioned by streaming services?
  • What are we to make of existing policies and practices intended to support diversity, equity and inclusion at the streaming platforms?
  • What policy options are there for regulating ‘diversity’?
  • How do audiences, users and communities engage with streaming platforms to discover, view or value ‘diverse’ content?

Please submit a 500-word abstract & 100 word bio by 22 September 2023 to:

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 20 October 2023. Full articles will be due 01 March 2024. No payment from the authors will be required