Distribution in the Streaming Era

deadline for submissions: 
September 3, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Velvet Light Trap

Over the past decade, the media ecology has been dramatically shifting with the advent of online “overthe-top” streaming services, the streaming wars that followed, and the platformization of the web. As the distance between big tech companies and legacy media players rapidly dwindles, rippling effects can be felt across industries, audience practices, regulatory frameworks, and more. Simultaneously, the rise of streaming services also continues to provoke further theorizations on topics that have concerned media scholars for decades regarding the asymmetrical dynamics of power and influence as it relates to globalization processes, representation, identity, politics, cultural and national mediations, and economic development.

For this issue, we welcome submissions that examine the impact that streaming services have had on the contemporary media environment. Topic areas can include, but are not limited to the shifting industrial practices, labor, audience behaviors and engagement, algorithms, content moderation, formal changes in the text, marketing, transnational/global flows, and regulation. Further, while streaming services may often prioritize rhetorics of disruption and innovation in their marketing parlance, there are also historical continuities that are equally important to emphasize. In what ways have streaming services transformed the way we understand film and television? What kinds of cultural issues continue to persist in spite of these disruptions? In what ways are disparate industries now converging/diverging and how can we understand these changes and analyze them effectively?

Potential Submission Themes • Changes and updates to distribution networks and how these changes impact dominant and alternative models of media consumption • How changes to distribution networks have further disrupted exhibition, both as an individual affective experience and as an industrial practice.

• Recommendation algorithms, big data, and platform interface in the streaming era

• Global media flows and frictions and their influence on distribution networks

• Methodologies and theoretical approaches for “over-the-top” industry studies

• Platform branding and marketing

• Audience engagement

• History of technology and distribution

• Identity and representation in the current distribution landscape

• Politics of access for BIPOC creators in the streaming era

• Labor and work in distribution industries

• Regulation, especially as it pertains to the increased rate of big tech buying media production and distribution companies

• Media creators who have bridged the transition from prior distribution models to the streaming era

• Impact of COVID on distribution models and the rapid hybridization of distribution models

• Changes and continuities in film and television aesthetics in the current and/or recent distribution landscape

• Geography of distribution and the digitization of borders within the global streaming infrastructure

Submissions should be between 6,000–7,500 words (approximately 20-25 pages double-spaced), formatted in Chicago style.

Please submit an electronic copy of the paper, along with a one-page abstract (no more than 100 words), both saved as Microsoft Word files. While images are not required for submissions, if your submission includes images, please ensure that they are high resolution and included as an image file separate from your Word files. Remove any identifying information so that the submission is suitable for anonymous review. The journal’s Editorial Board will referee all submissions. Send electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to thevelvetlighttrap@gmail.com.