2015 Connected Viewing Initiative Team

THIRD YEAR OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN WARNER BROS. AND THE MEDIA INDUSTRIES PROJECT

In 2015, the Connected Viewing Initiative was comprised of five teams: a project about the Russian digital media market; a consideration of the incentives for mobile and console gamers to play across platforms; a study of how users navigate YouTube's many channels of content; an examination of web series fan engagement, and a project about the variety of ways Millennials discover new content

To learn more about the individual projects, click below.

For more about project leadership, click here.

 

Connected Viewing in Russia since 2010 will examine recent Russian digital distribution, focusing on online content engagement, social media investment, and legal and pirate media infrastructure. More>

 

 

Beyond Minnows and Whales: Reconstructing Mobile Gaming for the Cross-Platform Franchise analyzes consumer responses to different kinds of mobile-console connectivity initiatives and emerging best practices for the use of mobile in cross-platform franchise management. More>

  

“Commitment Viewing” on Digital Platforms will examine the ways internet users develop “commitment viewing” practices around specific web series, personalities/vloggers/stars, and channels/brands. More>

 

 

Millennial Media Territories: Content Discovery Among College Students will survey college students at multiple American universities to learn more about how they discover new means of viewing and what motivates them to sample unfamiliar content, including new, original, and historical content. More>

 

Millennial Engagement in Web Series: Best Practices will study this demographic's engagement with web series to establish a set of best practices for garnering millennial fan interest, commitment, and investment. More>

 

 


Connected Viewing in Russia since 2010

This project will examine recent Russian digital distribution, focusing on online content engagement, social media investment, and legal and pirate media infrastructure. Over the past 15 years, Internet penetration in Russia has grown dramatically: online video audiences are expected to grow at an annual rate of 18% and online advertising at a rate of 60% in the near future. We will analyze market research and social networking trends to provide an overview of current viewer preferences and predict future developments in accessing online content. 

Researchers:

Dr. Aniko Imre is an Associate Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California. Her work revolves around global media, with a special interest in (post)socialism. Her books include Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe; Transnational Feminism in Film and Media; East European Cinemas; Blackwell Companion to Eastern European Cinemas; and Popular Television in Eastern Europe During and After Socialism. Her book on television and socialism is forthcoming from Duke UP. 

 

Dr. Nitin Govil is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He works on globalization and culture with a focus on media in comparative contexts. His books include Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture between Los Angeles and Bombay and the coauthored Global Hollywood, Global Hollywood 2, and the forthcoming Indian Film Industry. He is currently working on a new book on transnational media during the Cold War and a coauthored textbook on global media.

 

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Beyond Minnows and Whales: Reconstructing Mobile Gaming for the Cross-Platform Franchise

Though an important aspect of game companies’ product portfolios, most free-to-play mobile games generate little to no revenue from the majority of those who play them, instead depending upon a tiny group of high-spending players, typically referred to as “whales.” Though in theory this leaves a large market of still untapped consumers, experiments over the last few years with microtransaction design and pricing structures have demonstrated the extreme difficulty of translating these non-paying consumers of free-to-play games (“minnows”) into consistent paying customers. For companies with strong cross-platform IPs, such as WB Interactive and EB Games, however, mobile games can have other valuable uses besides in-game revenue generation. This project will employ a mixed-methods research approach, organized around a number of specific case studies in mobile-console connectivity and cross-platform monetization (“whale hunting”), to explore how best to design and implement mobile-console connectivity.

Researchers:

Dr. Matthew Thomas Payne is an Assistant Professor of Telecommunication and Film at The University of Alabama. His research interests include video games and interactive entertainment, convergent media industries, new media literacy, media representations of war, and ethnographic audience research. Matthew is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the production and reception of military-themed shooter games following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

 

Dr. Gregory Steirer is an Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies at Dickinson College. His main research fields are media industries, digital culture, history of the book, and IP studies. His recent work has appeared in Television & New Media, The Journal of Graphic Novels & Comics, Creative Industries Journal, and Postmodern Culture. He is currently working on a book manuscript about corporate authorship. 

 

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“Commitment Viewing” on Digital Platforms

In this study, Prof. De Kosnik and a team of graduate student researchers will interview and observe Internet users ages 18 and older to understand how they develop “commitment viewing” practices around specific web series, personalities/vloggers/stars, and channels/brands. We define “commitment viewing” as consumption of a media source that involves repetition, brand loyalty, emotional investment, and anticipation (in television, commitment viewing takes place when audiences think of certain shows as “must-see TV” and “appointment television.”) We will ask participants to discuss how they develop commitment viewing habits and routines in relation to online videos, such as subscribing to YouTube channels, binge-watching short- and long-form content, following a meme through successive videos, setting up alerts or notifications for uploaders, and eagerly awaiting, or searching for, the “next video” from a content provider.

Researcher:

Dr. Abigail DeKosnik is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley with a joint appointment in the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) and in the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies (TDPS).  Her book on digital archives, Rogue Memory, is forthcoming from MIT Press in 2015.  She has published articles on media fandom, popular digital culture, and performance studies in Cinema JournalThe International Journal of CommunicationModern DramaTransformative Works and Cultures and elsewhere.  She is the co-editor, with Sam Ford and C. Lee Harrington, of the edited essay collection The Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era (University Press of Mississippi, 2011).  She and Sam Ford also wrote the annotated bibliography on “Soap Operas” for Oxford Bilbliographies Online (OBO).   

 

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Millennial Media Territories: Surveying Content Discovery Among College Students

This project will survey college students at multiple American universities to learn more about how they discover new means of viewing and what motivates them to sample unfamiliar content, including new, original, and historical content. While the project will examine rates of discovery through dominant streaming and EST portals like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes, it will also investigate emerging streaming portals and the role of social media informing students about unfamiliar programming. The survey will assess the significance of the following criteria for this young adult audience: cost, ease of search, accuracy of recommendation mechanisms, prominence of peer reviews and suggestions, indicators of “quality,” buzz-worthiness, and other factors that inspire curiosity and motivate sampling. This research will create a portrait of millennial consumer priorities and habits in the digital realm, spotlighting the portals they employ, the paths they pursue within those interfaces, and their relative desire to discover new content or to find specific programming.

Researchers:

Dr. Melanie E.S. Kohnen is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Her research focuses on how digital media challenge us to rethink diversity in relationship to cultural identities, technological infrastructures, and the media industry. Her book Queer Representation, Visibility, and Race in American Film and Television: Screening the Closet will be published by Routledge, and her work has also appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Creative Industries and Journal of Popular Television. Her current research project maps cultural and technological diversity in the convergence era through an examination of industry discourses, production practices, consumption habits, user-generation content, social media platforms, digital infrastructures, and public policies.

Dr. Karen Petruska is the Project Lead for the Media Industries Project’s Connected Viewing Initiative at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include digital distribution, television history, and regulatory policy. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Velvet Light Trap, Creative Industries, Spectator, Popular Communication, In Media Res, Antenna, and three anthologies.  

 

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Millennial Engagement in Web Series: Best Practices

Successful web series like the Emmy winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have fostered highly dedicated millennial fan communities who participate with the series in an ongoing way. This project will study millennial engagement with web series to establish a set of best practices for fostering millennial fan interest, commitment, and investment. I will examine millennial fan response to a combination of past and still unfolding successful web series. I will also interview web series creators to consider their strategies for inviting audience engagement and their assessment of what elements worked to engage audiences. Online web series must situate themselves within online spaces (including YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr) in which millennials already participate on a daily basis, and must make a space for themselves alongside fan communities and user generated content.   

Researcher:

Dr. Louisa Stein is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Culture at Middlebury College. Her work explores audience engagement in online culture, with emphasis on questions of gender, generation, and audience authorship. She is book review editor for Cinema Journal and The Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures. Louisa has published in a range of journals and edited collections including Cinema Journal and How to Watch Television. She is co-editor of Teen Television: Essays on Programming and Fandom and Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom. Her forthcoming book, Millennial Fandom (University of Iowa Press 2015), explores the relationship between millennial generation and popular notions of media fandom.

 

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Connected Viewing Initiative Leadership

Dr. Jennifer Holt is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center's Media Industries Project. She is the author of Empires of Entertainment, and the co-editor of Media Industries: History, Theory, Method; Connected Viewing: Selling, Streaming & Sharing Media in the Digital Age; and Distribution Revolution: Conversations about the Future of Film and Television. Her work has also appeared in journals and anthologies including Cinema Journal, Jump Cut and Moving Data. Currently, she is working on a manuscript entitled Cloud Policy which explores the regulation of digital data and its attendant infrastructure.

 

Dr. Karen Petruska is the Project Lead for the Media Industries Project’s Connected Viewing Initiative at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include digital distribution, television history, and regulatory policy. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Velvet Light TrapCreative Industries,SpectatorPopular CommunicationIn Media ResAntenna, and three anthologies.  

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