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The delay economy of “continuity” and the emerging impatience culture of the digital era

Abstract

This article compares the “continuity” produced by private- and public service television companies and discusses whether it can survive in the digital era. In broadcast television, “continuity” carries the industry’s dominating business model: the commercial break. The present disruption to this model, caused by digital technology, over-the-top companies like Netflix and social media like Youtube, has made the television industry eager to adapt to new television viewing habits. However, based on a comparative analysis of the communicative strategies of four television companies in Denmark, the article argues that a traditional delay economy still governs the temporal structures and constructions of continuity. This delay economy draws heavily on the patience of its implied viewers. The article discusses this conceptualization of the audience in the context of an emerging impatience culture in which instant access to personalized audio-visual content and gaming on different devices are part of the viewers’ media experience.

Open access
Digital payments for a digital generation
Disruptive technology in book and local newspaper industries

Abstract

Digitalization is both a major cause of the challenges now faced by several media industries and a source of their potential solutions. Within the book and newspaper industries, the value of the physical product is about to be surpassed by that of digitally delivered content, disrupting the distribution system that these industries have relied on for many decades. In particular, digital distribution has radically changed the way in which consumers engage in unpaid and paid media consumption.

Anchored in the notion of disruptive innovation, and more specifically related to the idea of distribution as disruptive technology, our study investigates Generation Z’s unpaid and paid consumption of digital books and online local newspapers. Drawing on two Norwegian audience surveys, we find that both industries involve at least one disruptive actor. Generation Z relies heavily on Facebook as a distribution channel for news. Pay-walls have a negative effect on the usage of paid online local news, despite the belief that paywalled news is better than free news. In the Norwegian book industry, paper books still have a very strong position among Generation Z. Audiobooks have greater usage than e-books, and we conclude that the real disruptive actor in the Norwegian book industry is the streaming of audiobooks by actors such as Storytel.

Open access
Disrupting journalism from scratch
Outlining the figure of the entrepreneur–journalist in four French pure players

Abstract

This article follows on from previous research by questioning the disruptive character of four French online media: Les Jours (2016), Le Quatre Heures (2013), Médiacités (2017) and Brief.me (2015). In an attempt to identify what has changed and what may have settled to become standards of contemporary pure players today, this research investigates the way in which work is organized and revenue is made and, consequently, what this may mean for the journalistic profession in general. The findings suggest that building these pure players from scratch offers the opportunity for journalists to renew their skills in a framework in which they have control over the values and the means developed to maintain them. In a precarious professional context, it appears that journalists adapt by developing an increasingly entrepreneurial profile.

Open access
Disrupting video game distribution
A diachronic affordance analysis of Steam’s platformization strategy

Abstract

This article analyses the disruptive potential of Valve’s game distribution platform, Steam, focusing specifically on how Steam has evolved into a de facto online social network and how Valve uses constant feature changes as part of its corporate rhetoric. Despite its profound influence on the video game industry, scholarly inquiry into Steam has focused on analyses of user or value creation. However, Steam arguably derives its long-term disruptive potential from combining the gamification of digital distribution with the formation of ephemeral public spheres around the games that it distributes, thereby becoming a de facto online social network. To investigate this strategy, the article employs a historically comparative affordance analysis, drawing on a small data set of Steam blog posts and tech blog coverage from 2007 to 2018 to map patterns of affordance change.

Open access
Encounters with Self-Monitoring Data on ICT Use

Abstract

This article elaborates on the prospects for research interventions that repurpose the means of datafication to create possibilities for people to reflect on what it means in their daily lives. The research data consist of qualitative research interviews (n=13) in which media diaries and tracking data from the participants’ smartphones and computers served as prompts for reflection. The experiences from the self-monitoring and the encounters with tracked data by self-identified avid ICT users are analysed to gain a better understanding of the kinds of possibilities for reflexivity that are enabled when people have access to data that are rarely available to them.

Open access
Exploring the Meaning Problem of Big and Small Data Through Digital Method Triangulation

Abstract

In this article, knowledge building through combinations of methods in a digital context is discussed and explored. Two types of digital bigger and smaller data-driven media studies are used as examples: digital focus groups and the combination of internet traffic measurements, surveys and diaries. The article proposes the concept of digital method triangulation. Digital method triangulation is argued to be a way to approach the “meaning problem” to make sense of small and big data. Digital method triangulation is argued 1) to stimulate the innovative use of known methods for unexpected dimensions within the studied topic; 2) with appropriate theoretical and meta-theoretical reflections, to provide more certainty in conclusions; and 3) to assist in constructing a more comprehensive perspective on specific analyses. The conclusion is that triangulation is even more important in the digital realm, as it facilitates dialogue between conventional and digital methods, dialogue that seems crucial to capture the complexities of the onlife.

Open access
Four Styles of Quali-Quantitative Analysis
Making sense of the new Nordic food movement on the web

Abstract

Through the example of a web corpus built to study the emergence of the New Nordic Food phenomenon in Scandinavia, I discuss how quali-quantitative analysis can help us make sense of onlife traces. I propose four styles of analysis that address the meaning problem in different ways, namely 1) through complementarity, a division of labour in which quantitative and qualitative methods are allowed to unfold relatively undisturbed by one another, the latter performing the job of situating and interpreting the insights gleaned from the former; 2) through a single level of analysis, whereby the potential of onlife traces is seen to reside in their ability to be both qualitatively rich and quantifiable at the same time, enabling an analysis of how apparent macro phenomena are produced on the micro level; 3) through curation, a critical practice in which a qualitative understanding of different media environments and their effects on the production of onlife traces becomes integral to the way in which such data should be sourced and quantified; and 4) through algorithmic sensemaking, whereby the relational reasoning typically associated with qualitative fieldwork is emulated quantitatively through techniques like pattern recognition.

Open access
How streaming services make cinema more important
Lessons from Norway

Abstract

The technocultural disruption triggered by digitization has radically changed the way in which we consume films outside cinemas and transformed content providers’ business models. In Norway, between 2010 and 2016, DVD/Bluray and subscription-based streaming services switched places as major and minor platforms for home video consumption. Hence, home video consumption has migrated from a high-yielding platform at the head of the home video release cycle to a low-yielding platform at the tail end, where films also face tougher competition from drama series and international content tends to surpass local content. A case study of the earnings generated by local films released by a major distributor in this period suggests that home video revenues have diminished, making local films much more dependent on theatrical revenues and vulnerable to changes in cinema-going behaviour.

Open access
Inequality in Posting Behaviour Over Time
A study of Danish Facebook users

Abstract

This study investigates the Facebook posting behaviour of 922 posting users over a time span of seven years (from 2007 to 2014), using an innovative combination of survey data and private profile feed post counts obtained through the Facebook Application Programming Interface (API) prior to the changes in 2015. A digital inequality lens is applied to study the effect of socio-demographic characteristics as well as time on posting behaviour. The findings indicate differences, for example in terms of gender and age, but some of this inequality is becoming smaller over time. The data set also shows inequality in the poster ratio in different age groups. Across all the demographic groups, the results show an increase in posting frequency in the time period observed, and limited evidence is found that young age groups have posted less on Facebook in more recent years.

Open access