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Consumption and the Industry (Panel 8)

posted on 2024-07-08, 08:02 authored by Elke WeissmannElke Weissmann, Vincenzo de Masi, Nino Domazetovikj, fallen matthews

Vincenzo De Masi (Beijing Normal University - Hong Kong Baptist University, United International College Zhuha)

Evolution of Media Consumption in China: A Comparative Analysis of OTT and Metaverse Platforms Amidst the Political Milestone of President Xi Jinping's Third Re-election.

The Chinese television industry is about to undergo a paradigm transition due to younger consumers' internet consumption habits. This article analyses the Chinese television industry's current situation and future, using empirical data and the cultural shift towards internet viewing. The exposition begins with a description of China's television market, supported by Statista forecasts of US$103.60 billion in TV & Video revenue by 2024. The market volume for this segment is estimated to reach US$126.50 billion by 2028, growing 5.12%. Over-the-Top (OTT) video is expected to generate income three times that of traditional television, a trend that began in 2019 and shows a consistent development in the market.

The paper explains why younger generations choose on-demand material and mobile and virtual reality platforms like the Metaverse. This transition away from live viewing reflects Chinese society's technological, social, and economic changes. The study examines how these changes affect content consumption, particularly among adolescents who are disengaged from traditional broadcasting. The paper uses President Xi Jinping's third re-election at the "20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China" to contrast traditional media dissemination with digital platforms and social media's growing influence. This comparative study shows the difference between traditional media consumption and digital storytelling, especially among younger generations. Television's future is predicted in the context of China's fast developing digital infrastructure. It analyses how cutting-edge content delivery networks, AI, and machine learning will change viewing personalisation. The paper proposes that classic television forms will merge with digital developments in the future. This study forecasts that China's television landscape is on the cusp of a significant transformation. The advancement of OTT platforms foretells a future where content consumption, creation, and distribution are predominantly digital. As a new, tech-savvy generation emerges, it mandates adaptability from content creators, broadcasters, advertisers, and legislators, who must now address the complexities of an evolving digital-first media ecosystem.

Nino Domazetovikj (imec-SMIT-VUB)

Exploring Global SVOD Commissioning in Flanders, Norway, and Ireland: A Small Markets Perspective on Production Sustainability

The emergence of global SVOD services has fundamentally redefined audiovisual industry norms at a global scale (Lotz, 2023). This paradigm shift resonates within the European audiovisual sector, where the transformation is marked not only by a significant uptake in SVOD services and changing viewing preferences, but also by the rise of new industry players and structures altering production dynamics. With global SVODs increasingly competing for viewing attention and content commissions, legacy players of national audiovisual industries have been confronted by profound disruption of established industry practices (Cunningham and Silver, 2013; Evens and Donders, 2018; Lobato, 2019; Raats, 2023).

The globalisation of the audiovisual industry resonates with scholarly discussions on the need to revisit established perspectives on media industries as the business models of global subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers continue to impact national production and distribution dynamics (McDonald, 2021). Earlier research has focused on how television fiction has been distributed globally (Weissman, 2012), the emergence of new forms of transnational television (Bondebjerg et. al. 2017) and shifts in viewing and its implications (Jenner, 2016). More recently, within the European context, researchers have explored the relationship between global SVODs and national audiovisual industries, how legacy media organisations are strategically repositioning amid the rise of streamers (D’Arma et al., 2020), the political and market contexts influencing the emergence of domestic streaming services (Raats and Evens, 2021), and the policy responses to global SVODs and how these are influenced by national regulatory traditions (Kostovska et al., 2023). While research on TV scripted drama underscore the increasing importance of global SVODs as investors (Fontaine, 2022), there’s still a considerable gap in our understanding as to how SVODs investment strategies differ from that of broadcasters and what are the consequences. In addition, little is known about actual investments and how new forms of transnational production reshape existing production models and add to sustainability of television sectors.

In this research, relying on theoretical underpinnings from media industry studies (Holt and Perren, 2011) and television studies (Gray and Lotz, 2019), we study how changing production dynamics, along with contextual factors, shape the investment strategies of global streamers. Particularly we focus on SVODs in small markets, and what repercussions this has for existing audiovisual production. We do so by adopting a mixed-method approach of total production volume to identify the distinctive patterns of SVOD production within an in-depth case study of a small European market, i.e. Flanders, Ireland and Norway. To discern the differences and similarities in production patterns among these three markets, the research relies on analysis of total production volume for the period 2016-2023. Our findings provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of European audiovisual production, highlighting the critical role of scripted content in the strategies of SVOD services and public and commercial broadcasters. The comparative analysis in this article reveals that the distinct economic and cultural contexts of the three small audiovisual markets uniquely modulate the impact of Internet distribution and the proliferation of global streaming services.

Theoretically, this research aims to contribute to the existing body of knowledge on small audiovisual markets (Raats and Jensen, 2021; Nissen and Lowe, 2011; Hjort, 2007; Ibrus and Rohn, 2019). Recognising the lack of empirical research on small audiovisual markets, we aim to provide comparative analysis with focus on serialised TV fiction in assessing global SVODs interaction with national industries and their impact on sustainability of television as a sector of the economy. Serialised TV fiction has become one of the most expensive production types, placing substantial financial demands on broadcasters and commercial operators and affecting the overall TV ecosystem (Raats and Wauters, 2018; Picard, 2009). In addition, it is this particular production type where global streaming services like Netflix have invested heavily, leading to a marked effect on the sustainability and growth of smaller markets. These aspects emphasise the critical role serialised TV fiction plays in revealing how online subscription services are reshaping the television landscape, especially in smaller markets. Our findings indicate that despite similar catalysts for disruption, the global streamers’ localisation strategies are influenced by the unique dynamics of pre-existing market conditions (see also Lotz et al., 2021).

Fallen Matthews (Dalhousie University, Canada)

Cultural Alchemy in the Midnight Society: Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Its Influence on Children’s Media

This paper delves into the captivating world of children’s media, with a specific focus on Canadian and transnational perspectives, using the iconic series Are You Afraid of the Dark? as its central case study. By exploring the historical context in which this beloved show was created, we can gain profound insights into the evolution of children’s media in Canada and its impact on the global stage. Against the backdrop of the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period marked by significant technological advancements and shifting cultural influences, Are You Afraid of the Dark? emerged as a pioneering force in the realm of children’s entertainment. Within this timeframe, the landscape of children’s media was undergoing transformative changes. The advent of cable television, the proliferation of home video, and the emergence of interactive media platforms reshaped the way young audiences engaged with content. Drawing from diverse cultural influences and transnational storytelling techniques, Are You Afraid of the Dark? managed to captivate the hearts and imaginations of viewers both in Canada and abroad. This paper explores how the series represented Canadian identity and themes while resonating with international audiences. Through a meticulous examination of historical records, production insights, and critical reception, this research sheds light on the show’s cultural significance and its role in shaping subsequent Canadian children’s media. By delving into this fascinating history, I uncover the enduring legacy of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and its lasting impact on the global perception of Canadian children’s media.


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