SCMS 2015: Streaming Video Platforms and the Television Industry

full name / name of organization: 
Cory Barker / Indiana University
contact email: 

Call for Proposals
Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)
March 25-29, 2015 in Montreal, Canada

Although streaming video platforms have been a growing presence in the television industry for nearly a decade, 2014 has been an especially notable year. Netflix scored significant awards attention for both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and helped revive AMC's The Killing yet again; Amazon unveiled the second round of its uncommon Pilot Season process and purchased streaming rights to HBO programming for its expanding digital library; and Hulu hit an all-time high in subscribers and became the exclusive streaming home of South Park. More importantly, it's not just those "big three" platforms making waves. Yahoo's Screen saved NBC's Community from sure cancellation, stories about HBO GO crashing due to overwhelming demand have become part of the news cycle, and Crackle is now a multi-time Emmy nominee.

But how does the increasing prominence of these platforms—as producers, buyers, and distributors—impact the established groups within television industry? When should networks and studios view the platforms as partners and when are they more clearly competitors? Are these platforms truly changing business models or just parroting old approaches in new spaces? This panel seeks to highlight the future of streaming video platforms and their integration (or lack thereof) into industry practices. Paper topics may include but are not limited to:

• Analysis of the streaming video platforms' growing interest in original series production and its influence on broadcast or cable network output or the typical development process
• Investigations into platforms' various approaches to distribution such as Netflix's "all at once" release strategy or Hulu and Amazon's use of paywalls
• Considerations of platforms' revival of cancelled series or the purchase of significant library content
• Examinations of the various discourses surrounding the platforms, including trade press chatter, critical acclaim, fan responses, awards season promotion, and branding
• Studies of particular partnerships or feuds between the platforms and more veteran networks, studios, or production companies
• Case studies of lesser known or nascent streaming video platforms

Please submit an abstract of 250-300 words and a brief bio to Cory Barker ( by August 11. Decisions will be made by August 18.