Public Service Broadcasters Versus Streaming Services: Evidence of Negotiations and Intersections in Online Television

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    As far as television is concerned, European politicians, academics, audiences and content producers have always felt a level of unease about the influx of American content into local markets (Nordenstreng and Varis, 1974; Ang, 1984; Johnson, 2019). A particular concern is often what the commercial industries of the USA will do to European traditions of public service broadcasting. Thus, Catherine Johnson ends her book, Online TV (2019: 164-165), with a plea to re-imagine web-based content providers as servicing the needs of the public and not just the individual, thus requiring online services to structure interfaces and personalisation in such a way as to create a greater diversity of content and ensuring a diet that enables the emergence of well-informed citizens. But as she also highlights, this would require significant regulation which she does not image will happen in her lifetime.
    In the meantime, existing public service broadcasters have to negotiate their position in the context of increasing competition from online providers such as Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go. This has led to a number of co-productions between public service providers and international streaming services. This paper will focus on one key examples: the ZDFNeo-Netflix co-production of Parfum (2018). The paper will combine the analysis of interviews with key personnel involved in the commissioning and production of this programme with a detailed textual analysis in order to question how these negotiations affect what can be produced: how does the supposedly global content (as commissioned and distributed by Netflix) sit within public service requirements? How is the contact between local and global structured into meaningful discourse? What ideas about the local emerge in this context? And what does this suggest about forces of heterogenisation and homogenisation (Robertson, 1995) in the increasingly personalised world of online delivery? This paper therefore aims to situate these co-productions within established theories of globalisation, in order to ask how the global context of high-end drama production impacts on what forms of local citizenship can emerge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2021
    EventECREA Communication Conference 2021 - Czech Republic, Braha
    Duration: 6 Sept 20219 Sept 2021


    ConferenceECREA Communication Conference 2021
    Abbreviated titleECREA 2021
    Internet address


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