YouTube, multichannel networks and the accelerated evolution of the new screen ecology

Cunningham, Stuart, Craig, David, & Silver, Jon (2016) YouTube, multichannel networks and the accelerated evolution of the new screen ecology. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 22(4), pp. 376-391.

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Abstract

In attempting to break with a ‘fall from grace’ narrative that may structure analysis of the rapid professionalization and monetization of previously amateur online video content on the main global platform, YouTube, this article outlines histories of key institutions in the new screen ecology as outcomes of the increased interpenetration of very different, often clashing industry cultures. Google/YouTube, Apple’s iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Yahoo! and Facebook (‘NoCal’) are largely Internet ‘pure-play’ companies, whilst Hollywood’s incumbents (‘SoCal’) practice time-honoured mass media and premium content strategies. The ‘history of the present’ of the new screen ecology is the history of the clash of these cultures. The less than 10-year history of Google’s YouTube can be written as a history of Google seeking to come to terms with the conditions of possibility for entertainment, content and talent development from its base as an IT company dedicated to scale, automation, permanent beta, rapid prototyping and iteration. These efforts reflect both continuities and contestations with traditional media models, particularly business models. As emerging intermediaries in the middle of the convergent space between NoCal and SoCal, multichannel networks’ (MCNs’) placement sees them needing to innovate on both the NoCal and SoCal side. On the former side, MCNs are attempting to provide value-added services superior to basic YouTube analytics, with programmatics and pioneering attempts at management of scale and volume. On the latter side, they are managing a quite different class of entry- to mid-level talent, who bring successful audience development and clear ideas about the roots of their success with them. The new screen ecology is a space of unimagined scale and scope of flourishing online creativity and culture, which is at the same time turbulent and precarious for creators and MCNs alike.

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ID Code: 98716
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Google, innovation, multichannel networks, NoCal, precarious creative labour, precarious management, SoCal, YouTube
DOI: 10.1177/1354856516641620
ISSN: 1748-7382
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Digital Media Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 07 Sep 2016 23:26
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2016 05:34

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