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Media Industries Conference, London

19 Apr 2024

An overview of our presentations at Media Industries in London

From April 16 to 19, 2024, the Media Industries Conference took place at King’s College London. Our SRPMedia team was well represented with presentations related to our doctoral research tracks on news recommenders and public service media, our living lab project on streaming affordances in small media markets, and presentations on the ALGEPI and PSM-AP projects. Last but not least, the De Gruyter Handbook of Media Economics was presented, which contains several contributions from our team and is co-edited by Tim Raats.

In this post, we provide an overview of the various presentations delivered by our team.

Integrating Recommenders and Platformization in Small Media Markets’ Legacy Players

In our presentation we offered insightful perspectives on navigating the challenges and opportunities within the evolving media landscape in Flanders. From exploring streaming and recommender systems in Flemish media to analyzing the importance of scalability in small markets. The Flemish public service media VRT has been working to establish a strong central brand with content brands inspired by findability. They are challenged to reclaim control over their audiences, rather than have to rely on third parties (like social media) to reach audiences. In their distribution strategy they adopt a 50% human, manual curated, and 50% curation by algorithms both for audio and video taking into account contextual factors for example offer a podcast in the morning and user is in the car, but entertainment or series when user is at home watching on TV. VRT chooses taste-broadening as way to go by recommending unconsumed content that is deemed to be in range of consumers interest, but still diverse enough.

Additionally, we question the value of news recommender systems by examining the return on investment for commercial news organizations. Finally, the findings from the diary study show that the social aspect remains relevant even with the rise of VOD services, with viewing giving a sense of community. Also while SVOD services provide personalized interfaces, local BVOD services seem to function more as generic content collections with limited navigation support.

Gatekeeping in the Digital Age: Newsroom Resistance to News Personalization?

Aina Errando shared some valuable insights from her research, conducted in collaboration with Heritiana Ranaivoson and Adelaida Afilipoaie as part of the ALGEPI project. Their presentation highlighted the current challenges in implementing News Recommender Systems (NRS) in Spanish newsrooms, emphasizing the importance of bridging “tech-editorial gaps” and promoting collaboration among stakeholders within news organizations.

Platformization Meets Universality

Catalina Iordache presented insights from the comparative policy analysis of the platformization process of public service media (PSM) in seven media markets, as part of the PSM-AP project. Findings show a wide range of priorities set in the policy documents and digital strategies of PSM organizations, with a focus on People--connecting to and with audiences, Personalization - the use of recommender systems and the development of (public service) algorithms, and Prominence - with regard to PSM services/apps, content, and brands. Universality remains a core principle in the formulation of online strategies and regulatory recommendations.

De Gruyter Handbook of Media Economics

During a roundtable the new Handbook of Media Economics was presented, edited by Ulrike Rohn , M. Bjørn von Rimscha and Tim Raats. The handbook presents key contributions from scholars worldwide, providing a comprehensive exploration of current trends in media industries from diverse perspectives. Within the framework of understanding contemporary and future trajectories in media markets and industries, the volume delves into their influence on media organization and delivery, along with broader societal and market implications. Encompassing research at the crossroads of economics, management, political economy, and production studies, the handbook emphasizes the necessity for a robust interdisciplinary dialogue. Beyond scrutinizing present and forthcoming industry developments, the handbook addresses pivotal issues pertaining to media economics research methods and pedagogy. It serves as a valuable resource for scholars, students, and media professionals, providing insights into media economics as an academic field and delving into the multifaceted dynamics that shape the media landscape. Doing this, it contributes to the ongoing discourse on the evolving nature of media markets and their profound impact on society.

The handbook is co-edited by Tim Raats and contains the following contributions from our team:

  • Tim Raats, Developing a curriculum for media economics

  • Alessandro D’Arma, Jeanette Steemers & Tim Raats, Public service media: Challenges for delivering universal public service in

    the platform age

  • Catalina Iordache, The effects of streaming on media markets

  • Heritiana Ranaivoson, Annelien Smets,& Pieter Ballon, Challenges and opportunities for recommender systems in media markets

De Gruyter Handbook on Media Economics will be published on 20 May, 2024.

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