Policy implications of new digital communications gatekeepers
Explore the conceptual, methodological and policy implications for the study of media power and media concentration of digital platforms as key communications gatekeepers for the production and distribution of media content.
The advent and massive expansion of the Internet and planetary scale digital platforms has breathed urgent new life into the enduring, simple, yet profound, question that animates this project: have the media industries, individually and collectively, become more or less concentrated over time? There are many studies on trends in media concentration within media industries and markets, but the new challenge presented is how to understand market power that derives from data-driven business models that operate across multiple media industries and markets.
The PhD student would be addressing the question of media concentration, and associated questions around media and communications power, from an original perspective that recognises the multidimensional nature of digital platform power, and their operations in multi-sided markets. The project will focus in particular upon three issues:
- Conceptual: in what ways do we need to rethink traditional frameworks of media power derived from the political economy of communication and media sociology, in light of the rise of digital platforms and their ‘gatekeeper’ role as distributors of digital media content?;
- Methodological: drawing upon the literature on power to understand how media power can be better analysed and tracked, how should our approaches to identifying media power be reconceptualised in an age of digital platforms?;
- Empirical: developing the methodological framework arising from the GMICP study – including responsibility for collating the Australian data across 30 industry sectors – the candidate will track trends over time in Australia, as part of a team developing comparable data across 40 countries.
The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work with a leading global team of researchers. The Global Media and internet Concentration (GMIC) Project involves over 50 researchers from 40 countries, who are examining the question of whether media concentration is increasing in their countries, and how digital platforms are changing he parameters of what we understand to be media concentration. Led by Professor Dwayne Winseck from Carleton University, the project is funded from 2021-2028 by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and Professor Terry Flew is leading the Australian research node. The PhD student will be part of a global data gathering exercise that involves a “who’s who” of media economics and media industry analysts, and will inform industry and policy makers around the world.
Credits : www.sydney.edu.au