How Do Platforms Reshape the Cultural Industries?

The widespread uptake of digital platforms – from YouTube and Instagram to Twitch and TikTok – is reconfiguring cultural production in profound, complex, and highly uneven ways. Longstanding media industries are experiencing tremendous upheaval, while new industrial formations – live-streaming, social media influencing, and podcasting, among others – are evolving at breakneck speed. What are the implications of the rise of platforms for how cultural producers create, distribute, market, and monetize cultural content and services?

This is an online event

Following the publication of Platforms and Cultural Production (Polity, 2021), two of the book’s authors, Thomas Poell and David Nieborg, will discuss the processes of platformization across the cultural industries with Anne Helmond and Jeroen de Kloet. The speakers will identify key changes in markets, infrastructures, and governance at play in this ongoing transformation, as well as shifts in the practices of labor, creativity, and democracy. Furthermore, they will reflect on the vital differences and surprising parallels in the trajectories of platformization across the globe, especially focusing on the US, Western Europe, and China.

About the speakers

Thomas Poell is Professor of Data, Culture & Institutions at the University of Amsterdam and director of the Research Priority Area on Global Digital Cultures. His research is focused on the societal consequences of the rise of digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, and WeChat. He has published extensively on social media and popular protests in Canada, Egypt, Tunisia, India and China, as well as on the role of these media in the development of new forms of journalism. Thomas is co-author of The Platform Society (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Platforms and Cultural Production (Polity, 2021).

David B. Nieborg is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Toronto. He holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and held visiting and fellowship appointments with MIT, the Queensland University of Technology, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. David published on the game industry, apps and platform economics, and games journalism in academic outlets such as New Media & Society, Social Media + Society and Media, Culture and Society. He is the co-author of Platforms and Cultural Production (Polity, 2021).

Anne Helmond is Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative and App Studies Initiative and focuses her research on the history and infrastructure of social media platforms and apps and the process of platformization. She has published extensively in the area of platform studies with a focus on developing empirical and historical approaches to studying apps, platforms, and platformization in journals such as Big Data & Society, New Media & Society, Social Media + Society.

Jeroen de Kloet is Professor of Globalisation Studies and Head of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a professor at the State Key Lab of Media Convergence and Communication, Communication University of China in Beijing. Publications include a book with Anthony Fung, Youth Cultures in China (Polity 2017), and the edited volumes Boredom, Shanzhai, and Digitization in the Time of Creative China (with Yiu Fai Chow and Lena Scheen, Amsterdam UP 2019) and Trans-Asia as Method: Theory and Practices (with Yiu Fai Chow and Gladys Pak Lei Chong, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).

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