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DIGITAL PLATFORMS AND MEDIA INDUSTRIES/DIGITAL PLATFORMS AS MEDIA INDUSTRIES
Stuart Cunningham1, Terry Flew1, Fiona Martin2, Amanda Lotz1, Ramon Lobato3, David Craig4, Junyi Lv4
1Queensland University of Technology, Australia; 2University of Sydney; 3RMIT Univerity; 4University of Southern California
There is a growing debate worldwide about the impact of content distribution through digital platforms on traditional media industries. This is a ramifying debate, which started with societal concerns (privacy, cyberbullying, hate speech) and then developed around competition issues (Google’s capacity in search for opaque algorithms to unfairly preference certain products and services, Google and Facebook’s dominance in most developed advertising markets). Equally, cultural identity and cultural industry questions have come to the fore around the need for major global PGC (professionally-generated content) streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, to meet expectations to support and profile local content in specific markets. Most recently, the emerging awareness of foreign influence on the 2016 US Presidential campaign, Cambridge Analytica, fake news and the collapse of journalism’s business model have brought critical attention to public interest/infosphere issues.
These overlapping issues are now contemporary to each other and often competing for policy prioritization. The rationale for this panel is that despite, or rather because of, this complexity, it is imperative that scholars develop a cohering conceptual framework within which this complex range of pressing policy issues can be addressed. Common threads across these issues include: how are digital and global players, mostly now beyond the reach of established broadcasting regulation, to be addressed by contemporized national policies? How can opaque governance and business practices of the platforms be opened up to greater scrutiny and accountability? How can platforms be encouraged, or regulated, to contribute to sustainable local and national content and capacity?