Geographies of Streaming
The rise of internet TV presents a challenge for the field of global television studies, which must now address unfamiliar topics ranging from internet infrastructure to platform regulation and personalisation. Conceptually, it also requires us to fine-tune some of the models we use to think about television distribution, including the relationship between television’s spatial categories — territory, market, nation, and signal-area.
Ramon Lobato uses Netflix as an entry point into these wider questions. As of 2016, Netflix is potentially available almost everywhere, yet actual awareness and use of Netflix varies dramatically from country to country. Embraced in Australia, temporarily blocked in Indonesia, received with mild curiosity in Japan, and ignored across much of Asia and Africa, Netflix has had an uneven global impact that reflects variations in market conditions, levels of connectivity, and audiovisual licensing norms, as well as the stubbornly local nature of taste, trade and regulation.
In his lecture, Lobato will track some of the controversies that have followed in the wake of Netflix’s internationalisation. These range from concerns about local content protection through to battles over infrastructure and net neutrality. He will also explain how Netflix is proving to be a testing ground for evergreen debates about the politics of media imperialism, globalization, hybridity and other unfinished business in global media studies.