Media Mutations 12

Broadcasting, Reloaded. Resurgences, Resistances, and Rearrangements of Mainstream Television and Media in the Digital Arena

Media Mutations 12

Bologna, Dipartimento delle Arti – DAMSLab, October 14th-15th, 2021

Organized by Luca Barra, Paola Brembilla and Veronica Innocenti (Università di Bologna)
In collaboration with the ECREA Television Studies section

Media Mutations, the international conference on audiovisual media hosted by the Department of the Arts of Università di Bologna, is inaugurating its twelfth edition. The topic will be the strong, somehow unexpected persistence of broadcasting and mainstream TV and media within the digital environment.
In the past few years, not only have streaming services (such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) become the driving force of a shift in the television and media business, they have also been at the center of seminal research and debates in television and media studies, mainly pointing at the notions of digital revolution and disruption. More recently, the launch of new platforms by other providers (like Apple, Disney, and HBO) has rekindled these debates, which have channeled the OTT promotional rhetoric pointing at the ultimate death of broadcasting, both as a business model and as a cultural form.
However, in these very years, there is wide proof that classic television and traditional broadcasting is bigger than ever. It has returned to the center of the digital scenario, because of its ability to bring together large and diversified audiences, considered valuable both at a cultural and at an economic level. It is still resisting the competition of on-demand services, balancing its time and space limitations with different experiences, like the creation of events and the focus on TV genres that are not scripted series – e.g. reality programs, factual entertainment, talk shows. More importantly, it has contributed to a wider re-arrangement of the media system, with the digital players trying to imitate the strengths of broadcasting, while traditional media are adapting to the new challenges. As far as business is concerned, production, distribution, and circulation are growing, in the US as well as in Europe and in several other markets around the world, while ad-based models are proving to be effective in both the broadcasting and digital business model. Content-wise, network series and shows are still the pillars of schedules for free-to-air television, as they are becoming more and more relevant in terms of ratings, production values, socio-political mandates, franchise expansion. The OTT libraries are filled with network content, thanks to huge deals for retransmission and exclusive runs, while deals between broadcasting operators (PSBs, commercial networks, pay television) and digital platforms are increasingly commonplace. This shows a market that seems based on co-dependency between broadcasting and online platforms rather than straightforward competition, and on the hybridization of mainstream and niche rather than on a neat shift from broadcasting to narrowcasting.
Drawing on these considerations, the conference aims to bring the attention back to broadcasting, in order to assess its current state, to explore the recent evolutions of the free-to-air television business in the light of its manifold relations with OTT players, to check the parallel resurgence, resistance and rearrangement of other broadcasting-based media (such as radio), as well as to understand the attempts and experimentations to bring the mainstream back in customized, niche-oriented digital services. In line with its founding purposes, the conference wishes to serve as a basis for discussing methodologies, sharing research results, and promoting a multi-disciplinary approach from a global perspective.

FULL PROGRAMME
Thursday, October 14th
9.30 Institutional greetings
Fulvio Cammarano (deputy director, Dipartimento delle Arti, Università di Bologna)
Guglielmo Pescatore (Università di Bologna, Associazione Media Mutations)
Introduction
Luca Barra, Paola Brembilla, Veronica Innocenti (Università di Bologna)
10.00 - Keynote speech
The Digital Disruption of Television. Myths and Realities
John Ellis (Royal Holloway, University of London)
11.00 - Panel 1
Chair: Giovanna Cosenza (Università di Bologna)
New Partnerships in Drama Co-productions. The Case of Germany
Susanne Eichner (Aarhus University)
Use and Misuse of Italian Heritage on Screen. The Case of the TV Series Leonardo
Claudio Bisoni, Elisa Farinacci (Università di Bologna)
Soap Opera. A Never Ending (Love) Story, Even in Tough Times. Engaged Audiences and Visual Contents in the Italian Soap Operas Il paradiso delle signore and Un posto al sole
Stefania Antonioni (Università di Urbino)
12.00 - Panel 2
Chair: Anna Maria Lorusso (Università di Bologna)
Liveness, Reloaded. Popular Music, Television, Digital Platforms and the New Definition of “Live”
Gianni Sibilla (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan)
Perché Sanremo è Sanremo. The Renewed Success of Broadcast TV in Transmedia Culture
Francesco Piluso (Università di Bologna)
13.00 - Lunch break
15.00 - Panel 3 (online)
Chair: Paolo Noto (Università di Bologna)
Survival 101. Community or How to Navigate the Mutations of Contemporary Television
Frédérique Khazoom (Université de Montréal, University of Amsterdam)
Sounds Like an Old Story. Innovation and Resistance in the Podcast Experiences of Italian Radio Broadcasters
Marta Perrotta (Università Roma Tre)
Podcasting as a Cultural Form between Old and New Media
Tiziano Bonini (Università di Siena)
16.00 - Panel 4 (online)
Chair: Marco Cucco (Università di Bologna)
National Broadcasting Meets Parent Company Circulation and Streaming Libraries
Jennifer Gillan (Bentley University)
Streaming Trends and Platform Wars. Quality, Participation and the Case of The Expanse
David L. Palatinus (University of Ruzomberok, Technical University of Liberec)
European General-Interest Television Content in the Digital Arena
Celina Navarro, Nuria Garcia-Muñoz, Matilde Delgado (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Generation Z and Television. It’s Complicated
Anna Podara, Theodora A. Maniu, George Kalliris (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and University of Cyprus)
17.30 - Workshop (online)
Negotiating with Digital Platforms
Organized with NECS - European Network for Cinema and Media Studies
Chair: Luca Barra (Università di Bologna, NECS steering committee)
Netflix Is Destroying TV Studies… and What We Can Do About It
John Ellis (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Discussants:
Miriam De Rosa (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, NECS steering and open scholarship committees)
Jeroen Sondervan (open access publishing consultant, Utrecht University)

Friday, October 15th
10.00 - Panel 5
Chair: Lucio Spaziante (Università di Bologna)
Spoiling Spoilers. Seriality, Binge Watching and the New Life of Weekly Scheduling
Daniela Cardini (IULM University, Milan)
“At lunchtime I usually watch Friends”. How Netflix Remediates Linear TV
Valentina Re (Link Campus University, Rome)
This Is Us Gendered Hierarchies, and the States of U.S. Broadcast Television in the Multichannel Era
Nora Patterson (Auburn University)
11.15 - Panel 6
Chair: Riccardo Brizzi (Università di Bologna)
Old Television, New Audiences. Innovative Approaches to Italian Kids and Teen TV On-air and On-line
Paolo Carelli, Stefano Guerini-Rocco, Massimo Scaglioni, Anna Sfardini (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan)
My Brilliant Friend. A Transmedia Advertising Strategy for a Mainstream Show
Valerio Di Paola (Sapienza Università di Roma)
New Media, Old Rules? Analysing Patterns of Continuity between Traditional and OTT Television in EU’s Audiovisual Policy Framework
Gloria Dagnino (USI, Lugano)
12.30 - Closing Remarks
Luca Barra, Paola Brembilla, Veronica Innocenti (Università di Bologna)