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Creative Industries

How Audience Measurement Approaches Construct Different Audience Imaginaries

The final presenter in this ECREA 2016 session is Jakob Bjur, whose interest is in the media measurement of media work. There is now plenty of work on audience measurement systems, and also a growing wave of criticism of these systems: such systems are viewed as capturing audience labour, but with very one-dimensional metrics that generate measurement currencies that are very far removed from actual audiencing practices.

Funding and Pricing Challenges for Indie Games Developers

The next speakers at AoIR 2015 are Chris Paul and Mia Consalvo, who shift our interest towards games. What is a game, in the first place? Game styles now vary wildly, and address many different communities of gamers; this is a matter of constitutive rhetoric as the language being used brings distinctions into existence through repetition.

Studying the Processes of Media Production

The final speaker in this AoIR 2013 plenary is Gina Neff, who notes that the study of online practices and texts can only provide a limited perspective on resistance to capitalism. The political and economic affordances of the Internet are less open to resisting capitalist models than we might have thought; it tends to subsume resistant practices into online capitalism in the end.

This leads Gina to suggest that the era of the amateur is over. Capitalist dynamics privilege the platform developers, policy makers, proprietors and others over users; the Net is tool for and symbol of the reproduction of this set of power relations. Through it, proto-, pseudo-, and not-quite-yet-professional media makers are subsumed into the system.

Beyond Anglobalisation: The Rise of Chindia

The second keynote speaker in this ECREA 2012 plenary is Daya Thussu, whose interest is in the internationalisation of media studies, with specific reference to China and India. Where we are today in terms of global media is a mix of material of Hollywood-imported or -inspired programming (in music, television, films, news, sports, children's programming, and also in online media); the US continues to dominate the entertainment industry, in particular.

Creating and Marketing Transmedia Stories

The first keynote at AoIR 2011 is by Mike Monello (who was also the producer of the Blair Witch Project). He begins by noting the importance of team collaboration, and says that Blair Witch emerged as a completely organic process involving its principal creators. The filmmakers wanted the dialogue to be completely improvised, and so created a deep mythology for the Blair Witch story; some of the (very realistic) clips recorded for the film were then broadcast on TV, and audiences were encouraged to go to the online community Split Screen to discuss whether what they’d seen was real.

The massive success of this online discussion then led to the setting-up of the Blair Witch Project Website, which contained the underlying mythology – fans speculated on the message boards and developed theories of what was going on, and the filmmakers themselves almost accidentally became involved in the story as filmmakers, therefore. While there was nothing on the site to identify the story as fiction, there was never any intention to mislead – and the site linked to information about the production process, too.

Current Trends across the Entertainment Industries

The next AoIR 2010 session I’m in is a panel on sustainable entertainment, which involves Wenche Nag from the Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor, Mia Consalvo, Jean Burgess, Patrick Wikström, and Martin Thörnkvist. Patrick begins by noting the transformations in the music industry, for example, where the largest company now no longer is a record label but a live music company. iTunes and similar models are also making a significant impact, of course. Much of this is now based on artist/audience relationships that are based on passion and substantial emotional investment – which works for some entertainment industries, of course, but not for others.

Also, what are revenues linked to – where do payments come from (now perhaps from subscription fees, advertising, sponsorships, etc., rather than from content sales)? This has led to a rapid succession of various attempted business models – the latest, for example, is Spotify –, some of which have failed already. Spotify, for example, has been an attempt to draw users away from illegal filesharing models and towards legitimate systems.

Building the Northern Adelaide Research Archive

The final speaker in this session at ANZCA 2010 is Kerry Green, who presents on the Northern Adelaide Research Archive, an archive which aims to connect a range of previously isolated information on Northern Adelaide. Northern Adelaide has tended to be represented as backward and crime-ridden in the media, and this has been a cause of some concern; prominent people from the area, including singer Jimmy Barnes, have spoken out against this and pushed for a change in media attitudes.

In part, this was facilitated through the organisation of the Northern Summit, developing a number of ideas for change - for example, mapping and coordinating the positive activities happening in the area; developing life transition programmes based on these maps, linked with TAFEs and universities; and improving publicity and access to information for those who can benefit from it. Web 2.0 technology is seen as an important element in this.

Professional and User-Generated Book Reviews and their Effects

The final speaker in this session at ICA 2010 is Marc Verboord, who shifts our focus to the book market. Traditionally, book reviews in the conventional media had paramount authority; today, there are a number of alternative, peer-produced sources online - customer ratings and recommendations on Amazon, for example, as well as recommendations through social networking sites. So, is this part of a decline of cultural authorities? Does it democratise the market, from the grassroots up? Does it lead to (or result from) a larger, long-tail market for a wider range of books?

The Music Industry's Efforts to Rigidify Its Contracts with Artists

For the second round of ICA 2010 papers this morning, I'm in a popular communication session, and Matt Stahl is the first presenter. He notes the ongoing turbulence in the recording industry, dating back to the late 1970s which led it to embrace a blockbuster model for which Thriller is the best example; there was an intensification of rigidity in labour relations as a result (with a focus on high-earning artists in both industry employment and product marketing), but also a flexibility in the exploration of new business models to support this and identify new artists.

From Convergence to Divergence

Mel is followed at ICA 2010 by Jack Bratich, who highlights the importance of convergence outside of media convergence, and also introduces the idea of divergence as the opposite of convergence - what are the conditions for social antagonism as a form of divergence, and how is such antagonism dissuaded and diverted? Reality TV, for example, is a set of dividing and organising practices that might produce a new kind of antagonism around the programme as a kind of subject.

Second, as media are now incorporated into more conventional practices (warfare and the military is one example), what are the conditions of dissent? Jack introduces the idea of polemology as the study of warfare (which gave us de Certeau's work on strategies and tactics, for example), and suggests that Jenkins now argues that fans have already won the war, so there is no longer a clear antagonism between fans and producers; Jack suggests, by interest, further research into the phenomenon of user-generated discontent.


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