The aim of this chapter is to study the effect of the diffusion of web-based technologies in Italy – in particular, web-radios and web-tvs – on the issues of access and diversity in media and in cultural production. Our aim is to give a snapshot view of the situation of Italian web-radios and web-tvs, in order to shed some light on the potential for increased access and diversity through the use of new ubiquitous technologies. In other words, we will try to answer the following questions: do web-radios and web-tvs in Italy increase access and diversity of the media and cultural production and distribution systems? In which way does it happen? By web-radios and web-tvs, we mean those websites whose main activity is to deliver audio or video content to Internet users prevalently through the streaming technology (Barberini 2006; Bonini 2006). Aggregators of several single initiatives (e.g., Pandora, live365.com) are thus excluded, as our inquiry concentrates on single, individual initiatives with a distinct editorial function.In this paper, we want to combine the debates on new media with those on the global and the local characters of media and culture products. On the one side, globalization stimulates different types of convergence (of corporate ownership, cultural forms, and communication systems), which seems to increase the potential for globalising media and cultural production by the entertainment multinationals, eliminating the specificities of each local context (e.g., Hesmondhalgh, 2002; Tunstall, 1994). On the other, media and cultural artifacts seem in many cases to be still grounded in particular geographic, social, and cultural contexts (e.g. Coyle, 2006; Coyer, 2006; Peterson, 1997; Scott, 1999). Our basic claim is that web-radios and web-tvs constitute an efficient and flexible means of communication that enhances the possibility for local media and cultural “actors” to come into existence, develop and reach their (local and global, actual and potential) audiences. The evidence about Italian web-radios and web-tvs, in fact, seem to indicate that while this particular means of communication allows for global transmission, its low-cost, high-flexibility features made it an ideal means to stimulate local, small-scale, and “marginal” initiatives, that would have been impossible to set up with the traditional technology and economic structure of broadcasting radio (because of, for example, the overcrowding of frequencies).Our evidences will be drawn from Italian web-radios and web-tvs, through a qualitative analysis based on multiple case-studies methodology (Eisenhardt 1989). In particular, we combine data deriving from a previous research based on in-depth interviews of Italian web-radios and web-tvs founders and managers (Ordanini, Mizzau and De Leonardis, 2007), secondary data and web search methods to carry out a census of the web-radios and web-tvs operating in Italy, and a textual content analysis of the websites of several web-radios and web-tvs aimed to classification purposes. These techniques are all directed to demonstrate how web-radios and web-tvs are able to enhance both the diversity of content offered by the media and the access to the media by both the “supply” (i.e., founders and professionals) and the “demand” (i.e., users) sides.The paper is divided in three sections. The first section illustrates the theoretical background and motivations behind the study. The second section presents some empirical evidences and examples of web-radios and web-tvs in Italy. The last section discusses the results and draws a few theoretical conclusions that map the role of web-radios and web-tvs in the general discussion of global and local media in Italy.

Web-based technologies in Media and cultural production: Emerging evidence from Italian web-tvs and web-radios / L., Mizzau; F., Riboldazzi; Montanari, Fabrizio. - STAMPA. - (2010), pp. 185-199.

Web-based technologies in Media and cultural production: Emerging evidence from Italian web-tvs and web-radios

MONTANARI, Fabrizio
2010

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to study the effect of the diffusion of web-based technologies in Italy – in particular, web-radios and web-tvs – on the issues of access and diversity in media and in cultural production. Our aim is to give a snapshot view of the situation of Italian web-radios and web-tvs, in order to shed some light on the potential for increased access and diversity through the use of new ubiquitous technologies. In other words, we will try to answer the following questions: do web-radios and web-tvs in Italy increase access and diversity of the media and cultural production and distribution systems? In which way does it happen? By web-radios and web-tvs, we mean those websites whose main activity is to deliver audio or video content to Internet users prevalently through the streaming technology (Barberini 2006; Bonini 2006). Aggregators of several single initiatives (e.g., Pandora, live365.com) are thus excluded, as our inquiry concentrates on single, individual initiatives with a distinct editorial function.In this paper, we want to combine the debates on new media with those on the global and the local characters of media and culture products. On the one side, globalization stimulates different types of convergence (of corporate ownership, cultural forms, and communication systems), which seems to increase the potential for globalising media and cultural production by the entertainment multinationals, eliminating the specificities of each local context (e.g., Hesmondhalgh, 2002; Tunstall, 1994). On the other, media and cultural artifacts seem in many cases to be still grounded in particular geographic, social, and cultural contexts (e.g. Coyle, 2006; Coyer, 2006; Peterson, 1997; Scott, 1999). Our basic claim is that web-radios and web-tvs constitute an efficient and flexible means of communication that enhances the possibility for local media and cultural “actors” to come into existence, develop and reach their (local and global, actual and potential) audiences. The evidence about Italian web-radios and web-tvs, in fact, seem to indicate that while this particular means of communication allows for global transmission, its low-cost, high-flexibility features made it an ideal means to stimulate local, small-scale, and “marginal” initiatives, that would have been impossible to set up with the traditional technology and economic structure of broadcasting radio (because of, for example, the overcrowding of frequencies).Our evidences will be drawn from Italian web-radios and web-tvs, through a qualitative analysis based on multiple case-studies methodology (Eisenhardt 1989). In particular, we combine data deriving from a previous research based on in-depth interviews of Italian web-radios and web-tvs founders and managers (Ordanini, Mizzau and De Leonardis, 2007), secondary data and web search methods to carry out a census of the web-radios and web-tvs operating in Italy, and a textual content analysis of the websites of several web-radios and web-tvs aimed to classification purposes. These techniques are all directed to demonstrate how web-radios and web-tvs are able to enhance both the diversity of content offered by the media and the access to the media by both the “supply” (i.e., founders and professionals) and the “demand” (i.e., users) sides.The paper is divided in three sections. The first section illustrates the theoretical background and motivations behind the study. The second section presents some empirical evidences and examples of web-radios and web-tvs in Italy. The last section discusses the results and draws a few theoretical conclusions that map the role of web-radios and web-tvs in the general discussion of global and local media in Italy.
Beyond Monopoly. Contemporary Italian Media and Globalization
9780739128510
Lexington Books
STATI UNITI D'AMERICA
Web-based technologies in Media and cultural production: Emerging evidence from Italian web-tvs and web-radios / L., Mizzau; F., Riboldazzi; Montanari, Fabrizio. - STAMPA. - (2010), pp. 185-199.
L., Mizzau; F., Riboldazzi; Montanari, Fabrizio
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