Exploring imagined affordances of automation in news journalism
Stefanie Sirén-Heikel, Leo Leppänen, Carl-Gustav Lindén and Asta Bäck
News automation is an emerging field within journalism, with the potential to transform newswork. Increasing access to data, combined with developing technology, will allow further inquiries into automated journalism. Producing news text using NLG (natural language generation) is currently largely undertaken in specific, predictable news domains, such as sports or finance. This interdisciplinary study investigates how elite media representatives from Finland, Europe and the US imagine the affordances of this emerging technology for their organization. Our analysis shows how the affordances of news automation are imagined as providing efficiency, increasing output and aiding in reallocating resources to pursue quality journalism. The affordances are, however, constrained by such factors as access to structured data, the quality of automation and a lack of relevant skills. In its current form, automated text generation is seen as providing only limited benefits to news organizations that are already imagining further possibilities of automation.
How private media managers talk about responsibility to society in an era of turmoil
Trine Syvertsen, Karen Donders, Gunn Enli and Tim Raats
Digitization, new entrants and the disruption of business models prompt concern about the media’s societal mission. The article investigates how media managers conceptualize societal responsibility in an era of turmoil. Based on 20 semi-structured interviews with executive managers of private media companies in Norway and Flanders, the study reveals important differences in the definition of the public interest. While Flemish media managers emphasize brand value, Norwegian managers emphasize societal values, such as educating the public. When comparing managers of traditional and newer companies, a third, more straightforward market logic is also elicited, illuminating the vulnerability of traditional values.
Hanne Bruun and Kirsten Frandsen
Lessons from Norway
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.
A diachronic affordance analysis of Steam’s platformization strategy
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.
Outlining the figure of the entrepreneur–journalist in four French pure players
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.
Disruptive technology in book and local newspaper industries
Linn-Birgit Kampen Kristensen and Mona Solvoll
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.
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.