Connected Viewing Initiative Research Team

We have selected a stellar group of researchers from across the globe to form the CVI Research Team. Investigators will conduct independent projects on key trends in connected viewing, and the entire team will meet twice in 2012 to consult, collaborate, and share particular findings. 

Click on a project title or scroll down to learn more about individual research projects. 

Streaming U: College Students and Connected Viewing

Chuck Tryon
Max Dawson

College students are heavy users of video-on-demand services, but we know very little about how they navigate the myriad choices in today’s home video environment. This study will assess the connected viewing behaviors of full-time college students on two campuses to generate a richer understanding of how and why they choose different video platforms. It also asks the question on so many industry executives’ minds: how do these behaviors influence students’ attitudes about the value of media content and the nature of digital ownership?

Max Dawson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radio, TV & Film at Northwestern University. His research interests include media convergence, mobile and web video, new technologies, and television aesthetics in a variety of journals and edited collections.

Chuck Tryon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Fayetteville State University where his teaching and research focuses on various aspects of film, television, and convergent media, including digital cinema, documentary studies, political video, and on using technology in the language arts classroom

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Popular Webisode Genres and the Potential for Monetizing Content

Jarice Hanson

What do we prefer to watch online? It’s a prescient question, especially as the web is an increasingly popular destination for professionally produced content from entertainment studios and individual artists. This study will provide insight into audience preferences for certain genres and themes in the emerging format of online serial delivery, more commonly known as the “webisode.” With survey samples drawn from high school students, undergraduates, and adults, it will extrapolate from their behaviors and preferences potential business models to monetize webisode production for different delivery platforms.

Jarice Hanson is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts. She started her career in the television industry and now conducts research on the social role of the Internet and converging communication industries. She is an expert in online survey data and focus group analysis.

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American Media Behind the Great Fire Wall: Social Media and Film Viewing in China

Aynne Kokas

Chinese social media sites, like Douban and Youku, are a key growth area in the internationalization of Chinese media. This project will provide an online ethnography of several user groups across these sites, examining the ways in which users discover, discuss, and access foreign movies, despite distribution and regulatory obstacles. More specifically, it will examine how promotional materials translate online, how Chinese talk about American films online, and how online behavior differs from that surrounding film releases in the U.S. 

Aynne Kokas is a PhD candidate in Asian Languages and Cultures at UC, Los Angeles with a focus on Chinese media. Her current research examines the industrial cultures of production that have emerged from Sino-U.S. media collaborations in the post-WTO period.

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Reimagining Television Distribution and Economics

Amanda Lotz

A fundamental challenge to the future evolution of television exists in the disjuncture between network-era economic models and post-network technological possibilities. New forms of distribution upend entrenched industry operations and economic necessities.  At the same time, they create opportunities to reach audiences more directly and generate new models of revenue sharing between content owners and distributors. This project will draw much needed attention to this historical tension—illuminating the trends that inform the current connected viewing environment and the economic implications of developing alternatives.

Amanda D. Lotz is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on two primary areas: feminist media studies and the industrial structures and practices of the television industry. She has participated in a variety of media industry programs for academics, such as the NATPE Faculty Fellow and Faculty Development Grant Programs, AEF Visiting Professor Program, and the ATAS Faculty Seminar.

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“Your Entertainment Set Free”?  Connected Viewing in Europe

Patrick Vonderau
Paul McDonald
Using comparative case studies in three European contexts (UK, Germany, and Scandinavia), this project will examine the markets for digital distribution services and the ways teenage and young adult media audiences access, consume, and experience those services using multiple media platforms in socially networked environments. Focusing on the practices by which multi-screen viewers connect dispersed content and participate in various formats, this research asks specifically how perceptions of content value relate to new and emerging modes of social interaction.

Paul McDonald is Professor and Chair of Creative Industries at the University of Nottingham, UK. Central to his research are concerns with how the screen industries are shaped by structural, operational, technological, and legal factors, and with how these institutional dynamics influence the conditions in which symbolic goods and services are made, circulated, and consumed.

Patrick Vonderau is Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the Department for Cinema Studies, Stockholm University. He researches a wide variety of topics, including the history of film marketing and distribution, industrial film, and YouTube. He is particularly interested in interrelations of film and consumption.

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Broadband of Brothers: Fostering Transmedia Play Across Screens

Matt Payne

This project will examine how Activision and Electronic Arts promote transmedia play across multiple screens with their second screen game support applications. These utilities offer players a two-fold means of increasing their “gaming capital” by connecting them with an online community of fellow players and by enabling them to customize their online identities. By encouraging players to interact with their titles and teammates remotely and repeatedly, these second screen tools cultivate personal investments that last well beyond single gameplay sessions.

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.

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The Personal Media Collection in an Era of Connected Viewing

Greg Steirer

This project will examine the potential challenges digital distribution and cloud-based media services pose to the practice of personal media collecting. Through analysis of the current digital media environment and case studies on digital collecting in the comics and collectable card game industries, the project will determine how cloud-based media storage, service interface design, digital rights management, on-demand subscription services, and consumer perception of added value affect the viability of personal media collecting in an era of connected viewing.

Gregory Steirer is an independent scholar who specializes in contemporary media studies. He has taught classes on film history, cinematic realism and reality television, audio culture and technology, and television genres. He manages the blog, Cultural Production, which publishes work on convergence culture, media studies, and the digital humanities.

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Immersive TV Project

Sharon Strover

This project will explore the relationship between socio-economic status and the use of and competencies with various new media devices and applications. It broadens and extends research conducted for the Immersive TV project, a joint collaboration between teams at the University of Texas at Austin and two universities in Portugal, to include additional population samples, focusing especially on community college students. The project also seeks to develop a language to describe media “embeddedness,” the process by which new screen devices are naturalized in social life and media engagement.

Sharon Strover is the Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research projects examine the relationship between economic outcomes and broadband; social media; the digital divide; rural broadband deployment; and market structure and policy issues for international audio-visual industries.  

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Regulating Connected Viewing: Platforms, Pipelines and Media Policy 

Jen Holt

This project analyzes the ways in which regulatory policy will have an impact on connected viewing strategies and capabilities in the U.S. Specifically, the research examines key policy issues affecting the "shareability" and flow of media across broadband networks, especially as they relate to infrastructure, cloud storage, and digital platforms. This study ultimately addresses the ways in which current policy debates and regulations will determine the future dimensions and viability of connected viewing initiatives -for content providers and distributors, as well as for consumers of mobile, networked digital media. 

Jennifer Holt, co-director of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Media Industries Project, is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC, Santa Barbara. She also serves as the Project Director on the Connected Viewing Initiative. Her research focuses on media policy in the era of convergence.

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A Shock to the System: Barriers to Profitability During Digital Media Transitions

Elissa Nelson

While the ease of accessing and disseminating media conveniently and at a low cost has increased the appeal of digital distribution for audiences and content providers, digital distribution also presents complications for entrenched business models.  Connected viewing strategies are being used to add value to entertainment media, but obstacles to the adoption of technology and to the decision to purchase content remain. This project will investigate the current distribution landscape and assess how marketing, the devaluation of intellectual property, and consolidated conglomerate structures are affecting profitability in the media industries.

Elissa Nelson is the Project Lead for the Connected Viewing Initiative at the Carsey-Wolf Center at UC, Santa Barbara.  Her research focuses on the convergence of the media industries, including the relationship between Hollywood and the Internet; genre studies, specifically teen films in the 1980s; and youth in film and marketing.

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Connected Viewing at Work, in Class, and on the Go: the Unintended Uses of CV Products and Services

Ethan Tussey

Connected viewing products and services are not bound to television schedules—in fact, digital technology makes them instantly accessible throughout the day in both private and public settings. This project will analyze how connected viewing content is accessed in a variety of contexts. Examining site- and time-specific uses of connected viewing technology reveals what value consumers attribute to connected viewing products and the ways different contexts influence consumers' purchasing decisions.

Ethan Tussey, a PhD candidate in the Film and Media Studies Department at UC, Santa Barbara, is a Research Associate with the Media Industries Project. His research examines the production, distribution, and reception practices related to online entertainment content.

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