C3 Weekly Update

Editor's Note

Welcome to another edition of the C3 Weekly Update. We are preparing for spring break here but research is moving along well. Findings from our YouTube analysis should be available soon for the wider Consortium through the Weekly Update and other venues, and students currently doing revisions on their viral marketing and spreadable media research projects they have been researching on this semester.

We have several posts up recently on our blog about a variety of speaking events and conferences the Consortium has been involved with, including the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, the MIT Communications Forum event on Global Television with William Uricchio, a Webinar with PR News that I participated in, and Henry Jenkins' recent keynote at South by Southwest, among others. We will continue to have updates on SCMS in the coming days. In addition, I will be spending this weekend in San Francisco, where I'm presenting at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association annual national conference. I'm planning to share some perspectives from that event through the C3 Weblog as well.

C3 Spring Retreat

The C3 Spring Retreat, which we often refer to as the partners retreat as well, will bring together many of our team of consulting researchers and representatives from our corporate partners for a two-day event here on MIT's campus on Thursday, May 08, and Friday, May 09, to discuss our current research and important topics in the contemporary media landscape. As mentioned last week, each of our graduate students currently working on the project--Xiaochang Li, Ana Domb, and Eleanor Baird--will be presenting some of their projects, while Joshua Green and I will be discussing the work on YouTube and other Consortium projects on Thursday. That evening, from 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., we will be hosting a public colloquium event for the Program in Comparative Media Studies here at MIT that is tentatively scheduled to deal with how to research online video through platforms such as YouTube. In addition to this more general public discussion of the video sharing site, we will be sharing many of our specific research findings in the internal Consortium event during the conference as well.

Friday's events will begin with comments from C3 Director Henry Jenkins and C3 Principal Investigator William Uricchio, followed by a couple of panels. The first will feature a conversation on transmedia that will include C3 consulting researchers, as well as a couple of special guests from the industry--Matt Wolfe of Double Twenty Productions and Keith Clarkson, who is an executive producer at Xenophile Media. The second event will focus on media audiences as a community and will feature both consulting researchers, as well as representatives from Boston-based companies interested in this conception of community, such as Communispace and Forrester Research. We are also going to set a session aside for all those in attendance to break apart into four or five groups to discuss a variety of issues in groups that include members of our team here at MIT, consulting researchers, and representatives from our partner companies.

If you have any questions about the schedule, please don't hesitate to contact us.

MIT Futures of Entertainment 3 and This Week's Newsletter

In addition to our C3 Spring Retreat, we are now confirming the date for MIT Futures of Entertainment 3, which will be the 2008 iteration of our annual public conference here at MIT. This year's conference will take place Nov. 21-22 here at MIT at the Wong Auditorium in the Tang Center here at MIT. We hope many of you will be able to join us for the event.

In the Opening Note section this week, we introduce our six new consulting researchers and our new postdoctoral researcher here in the Consortium. The Closing Note features the first contribution in the newsletter from new Consortium postdoctoral researcher Esteban Olle. As usual, we include links to the latest blog posts from the Consortium's site, including writing from our graduate students, myself, Henry Jenkins, and C3 Research Manager Joshua Green.

If you have any questions or comments or would like to request prior issues of the Update, direct them to Sam Ford, editor of the C3 Weekly Update, at


In This Issue

Editor's Note

Opening Note: New C3 Consulting Researchers and Post-Doctoral Researcher

Glancing at the C3 Blog

Closing Note: Esteve Olle on the Changing Structure of Media Industry Organizations


Friday, March 21, 10-11:30 a.m.
Valuing Fans Outside the Target Demographic: Soap Opera Fans and Proselytizing
C3 Project Manager Sam Ford's presentation as part of the soap opera area of the National Popular Culture Association Conference, San Francisco

Thursday, April 10, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Our World Digitized: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Featuring Yochai Benkler and Cass Sunstein: Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building, MIT Media Lab
Co-sponsored by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Thursday, April 24, 5-7 p.m.
MIT Communications Forum: Youth and Civic Engagement
Featuring Lance Bennett, Ian V. Rowe: Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building, MIT Media Lab
Co-sponsored by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media

Friday, April 25
Console-ing Passions 2008 Conference
C3 Project Manager Sam Ford presents "Outside the Target Demographic" as part of the Gendered Fan Labor in New Media and Old panel.

Thursday, May 08, and Friday, May 09
C3's Spring Retreat

Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26
Communicating for Social Impact, Conference of the Interntional Communication Association
C3 Research Manager Joshua Green will make two presentations at this Montreal event. Details forthcoming.

Thurs., June 19, to Sunday, June 22
Consumer Culture Theory Conference 2008
C3 Director Henry Jenkins, C3 Research Manager Joshua Green, and C3 Project Manager Sam Ford are included among panelists at this Suffolk University event here in Boston. More information forthcoming.

Opening Note

New Consulting Researchers and Postdoctoral Researcher
Illustration 2

Nancy Baym is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, where she teaches about communication technology, interpersonal communication and qualitative research methods. She pioneered the study of online community and fandom in the early 1990s, writing about how soap opera fans built relationships with one another while transforming television viewing into a collaborative endeavor. Her book Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom and Online Community (Sage, 2000) synthesizes that work. Her recent publications include "The New Shape of Online Community: The Case of Swedish Independent Music Fandom" in First Monday, as well as articles in New Media & Society, The Handbook of New Media, and The Information Society. With Annette Markham, she is co-editor of Internet Inquiry: Conversation about Method (forthcoming from Sage), a book examining how exemplary qualitative researchers manage the challenges raised when studying the internet. She is currently studying the "friend" relationship in the music-oriented social network site and writing a book, Personal Connections in a Digital Age, about digitally-mediated community, relationships and social networks for Polity Press. She was a co-founder of the Association of Internet Researchers and served as its President. She blogs at

Illustration 2

Abigail (Gail) Derecho is currently on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, in the Program in Cultural Studies. In Fall 2008, she will join the faculty of UC Berkeley as an Assistant Professor in The Berkeley Center for New Media and the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies. She researches intersections of minority discourse with artistic appropriations, especially digital appropriations such as sampling, online fan productions, game mods, and audio and visual mash-ups; Internet piracy and "torrent culture"; narrative serializations in digital contexts; and "techno-orientalism," or Hollywood sci-fi's equation of futuristic technologies with Asia and Asianness. In June 2008, she will be awarded her Ph.D. by Northwestern University's Program in Comparative Literary Studies and the Department of Radio/Television/Film. Her dissertation, "Illegitimate Media: Race, Gender, and Censorship in Digital Remix Culture" argues that digital remix was largely invented by African Americans and Anglo American women, and that Culture Wars-era debates over representations of race and sex severely constrained these nascent cultural forms. Her article "Archontic Literature: A Definition, a History, and Several Theories of Fan Fiction" appears in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet, eds. Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse, and she is currently co-editing a volume on soap operas, Searching for Soaps' Tomorrow, with Sam Ford and C. Lee Harrington. She can be reached at

Illustration 2

Jonathan Gray is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. He is currently working on two books for NYU Press, one about film and television "paratexts" – all those things that surround film and television, from games to trailers, spinoffs to spoilers, toys to hype, reviews to fan creations – and the other a co-edited collection (with Jeffrey P. Jones and Ethan Thompson), Satire TV: Comedy and Politics in a Post-Network Era. Other books: Television Entertainment (Routledge, 2008); Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality (Routledge, 2006); Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World (NYU Press, 2007), edited with Cornel Sandvoss and C. Lee Harrington); and Battleground: The Media (Greenwood, 2008), an encyclopedia of media hot-button issues, edited with Robin Andersen. His research examines the interactions of entertainment media and audiences, with particular interest in parody and satire, transmedia storyworlds, and the changing nature of "television." He has degrees from University of British Columbia (B.A. in English), University of Leeds (M.A. in Literature from Commonwealth Countries), and Goldsmiths College, University of London (M.A. and Ph.D. in Media and Communication Studies). Jonathan writes at The Extratextuals and can be reached at

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C. Lee Harrington is Professor of Sociology and Affiliate of the Women's Studies Program at Miami University. Her areas of research include television studies, fan studies, and the sociology of law. Her long research collaboration with Denise D. Bielby has focused on the daytime soap opera genre, its audiences and fans, and its global circulation. Their joint work includes Soap Fans: Pursuing Pleasure and Making Meaning in Everyday Life (1995, Temple U. Press), the edited collection Popular Culture: Production and Consumption (2001, Blackwell), and an in-press book on global television distribution titled Global TV: Exporting Television and Culture in the World Market (2008, NYU Press). She also recently co-edited an anthology on fandom aptly titled Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World (2007, NYU Press; with Jonathan Gray and Cornel Sandvoss). Harrington has also published on issues of sexual representation on television in Feminist Media Studies and Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Current research projects include a study of acting and aging on daytime soaps, and a study of media framing of death row volunteers (inmates who want to be executed). She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California-Santa Barbara.

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Derek Johnson is a PhD Candidate in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His dissertation examines the historical development of the media "franchise" as a form based on shared intellectual property networks, as a specific set of production and consumption practices, and as a discourse used to make sense of media culture. Interested in the organization of culture across media platforms, his research spans a wide range of industries (including film, television, video games, comics, and licensed merchandising) and encompasses issues of narrative theory, audience reception, public sphere discourse, as well as media economics and policy. His recent publications include "Inviting Audiences In: The Spatial Reorganization of Production and Consumption in 'TVIII'" (New Review of Film and Television, 2007), "Fan-tagonism: Factions, Institutions, and Constitutive Hegemonies of Fandom" (Fandom: Identities and Communities in Mediated Culture, edited by Gray, Harrington, and Sandvoss, 2007), and "Will the Real Wolverine Please Stand Up?: Marvel's Mutation from Monthlies to Movies" (Film and Comic Books, edited by Gordon, Jancovich, and McAllister, 2007).

Illustration 2

Amanda D. Lotz is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Television Will Be Revolutionized (New York University Press, 2007), in which she examines the institutional adjustments of the U.S. television industry since the 1980s on the medium's role as a cultural institution and Redesigning Women: Television after the Network Era (University of Illinois Press, 2006), which explores the rise of female-centered dramas and cable networks targeted toward women in the late 1990s as they relate to changes in the U.S. television industry. She also has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Media, Culture & Society, Communication Theory, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Television & New Media, Screen, Journal of Popular Film and Television, and Women and Language.

Amanda is currently working on an edited collection that brings together established television scholars writing new chapters in their areas of expertise that reconsider how programming forms other than prime-time series (such as sports, news, soap operas, and made-for-television movies, among others) have been affected by the wide-ranging industrial changes instituted over the past twenty years. She also has an emerging project exploring men and masculinity in contemporary television dramas and is in the preliminary stages of developing an ethnographic study of new patterns of television use. Amanda has participated in many media industry programs for academics, such as the NATPE Faculty Fellow and Faculty Development Grant Programs, AEF Visiting Professor Program, and the ATAS Faculty Seminar, and has been involved in consulting activities with Competing Values and NBCU owned-and-operated stations.

Illustration 2

Esteve Olle is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT, where he also works with the Convergence Culture Consortium on a research project about the changing structure of media organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Open University of Catalonia, with a focus on the uses of new media in public organizations. He has also worked as an e-governance freelance consultant for several European institutions. Before coming to MIT, Esteve spent three years doing research on globalization theory at the London School of Economics. He has published articles on these and other topics, and his first book, which is about the uses of new media in Barcelona's City Council, will be published in 2008. His current research looks at the nature, convergence practices (production/reception), and sociocultural processes involved in new television products that claim a strong relation with social/scientific knowledge.

Glancing at the C3 Blog

TWC Journal CFP. The Organization for Transformative Works is currently seeking potential essays for the inaugural issue of Transformative Works and Cultures. The board for the journal includes a variety of C3-affiliated researchers, including not only Henry Jenkins and Sam Ford but also Nancy Baym, Abigail Derecho, Jonathan Gray, C. Lee Harringotn, Derek Johnson, Jason Mittell, and Aswin Punathambekar.

My Response to the "1, 2, 3 Challenge". Sam Ford responds to Henry Jenkins' recent online meme by looking at some sample text from three of the most recent books he has looked at, highlighting work on lucha libre, soap operas, and the gendered-ness of the camera's perspective.

If You Saw My Talk at South By Southwest... C3 Director Henry Jenkins provides notes in relation to his recent talk at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Misplacing Medium Specificity. C3 Graduate Student Researcher Ana Domb writes aobut Quarterlife, Squeggees, and the aesthetics of a Web TV show.

Mobile Marketing: More Ads on the Go? (Part I). C3 Graduate Student Researcher Eleanor Baird writes about mobile phones as a delivery channel for targeted advertising.

Controlling to Protect?. C3 Graduate Consulting Researcher Ana Domb writes about new technologies being touted at providing better "child safety" online.


Jon Gray's Notes from SCMS. New C3 Consulting Researcher Jonathan Gray writes about panels on The Future of Television Sutides, Scholarly Writing in the Digital Age, and Corporate Authorship from the recent SCMS academic conference in Philadelphia.

The Moral Economy of Web 2.0 (Part One). C3 Director Henry Jenkins provides the first in a series of posts presenting an essay co-authored with C3 Research Manager Joshua Green that ran in several C3 Weekly Update issues last year.

GDC Roundup 2008: Diversity and Innovation in the Contemporary Games Industry. C3 Director Henry Jenkins provides a roundup of the Game Developers Conference from Eitan Gilnert.

Self-Distribution and Me. C3 Graduate Student Researcher Ana Domb writes about her planned thesis project about self-distribution models being developed in the U.S. and how they can translate into Latin-American and international distribution.

Participation and User Value: LiveJournal's Latest Debacle. C3 Graduate Student Researcher Xiaochang Li writes about controversy on the social blogging site after the company removed the "basic" membership option.

C3 in the News: MIT Communications Forum and PR News Webinar. C3 Principal Investigator William Uricchio participated in a recent MIT Communications Forum here at CMS, while last week's Prime Time in Transition Communications Forum is now available in audio form. Meanwhile, C3 Project Manager Sam Ford recently participated in a Webinar with PR News.

Follow the Blog

Don't forget – you can always post, read, and carry out online conversations with the C3 team at our blog.

Closing Note

The Changing Structure of Media Industry Organizations

Our world is entering in a new mode of social organization which is connected to three interrelated processes: a technological transformation that has its epicenter in the intensive use of information and communication technologies; the globalization of the economy, and of political, environmental and organized violence issues; and the virtualization of participatory culture, which is, in many ways, the key source of the undergoing change.

But like in all episodic transitions, the new society has many continuities with the old one, not only in terms of functional relations, but also in terms of technological, organizational and cultural incompatibilities between the 'old' and the 'new'. That is to say, organizational forms and cultures of the industrial era are interwoven in complex ways with the emerging organizational structures which are paradigmatic of the information society. Private companies in all sectors, public organizations, civil society groups and all social forms are actively negotiating, with different levels of success, their internal transition through mechanisms of economic competition, democratic legitimacy, organizational efficiency and cultural and technological innovation.

Social scientific research and business reflection have already provided a great deal of knowledge about this transition. These analytical efforts have tended to put emphasis on distinctive constraints to organizational and technological change depending on the type of organization, public or private. In principle, this intuitive separation is highly plausible given the differences between the two organizational forms. On the one hand, internal, organizational barriers constitute the nuclear preoccupation of the political sociology of electronic government. Both the centralized nature and the hierarchical culture of traditional public bureaucracies, many analysts argue, have serious compatibility problems with the decentralizing logic that is usually attributed to the design and implementation of new, relevant information technology systems aimed at both efficiency and democratic gains. On the other hand, the revenue model, or more precisely the lack of it, is perhaps the key factor that is driving the reflection on the nuts and bolts of the success of those industries that are more seriously impacted by the Internet.

In this series of six contributions to the C3 Weekly Update, I wish to take another tack. I wish to use the available knowledge on the sociology of the organizational transformations associated with contemporary information societies in order to reflect on the changing structure of media organizations. This perspective, which somehow questions the hard distinction between 'public' and 'private', implies the hypothesis that this generation of proper business models under what we call convergence culture conditions is intimately related to institutional and cultural transformations inside these very industries.

Despite all the available knowledge, the studies of the transformation of media industries seem to require further systematic reflection on the organizational factors that are both constraining and enabling functional change. At least four interrelated elements seem to be highly relevant in the context of media industries:

a) The dualism between centralized bureaucracies and horizontal, networked organizational structures. Globalization conditions, and ownership concentration, have put a lot of pressure on media industries for them to advance toward a more decentralized organizational model. But to what extent has this model achieved all the necessary conditions to transcend the traditional bureaucratic structures and processes?
b) The transformation of accountability mechanisms. All organizational transitions imply both an analytical, unintended transformation of internal/external accountability mechanisms and the active rethinking and reconfiguration of formal accountability mechanisms by structurally situated agents. For an organization to be functional in transitional conditions, for example those associated with convergence culture parameters, both mechanisms, which operate among all involved actors and glue the political structure of the organization, have to be compatible. To what extend is this the case in media industries?
c) The "interface" department. Public bureaucracies are perhaps the most solid type of organizations in human history. That is why the detection of transitional mechanisms within their context is highly relevant for other, more flexible types of organizations that nonetheless also encounter problematic dynamics. Sociological research has shown that among all the possible leading agents of these transformations, "interface" departments are among the most active proponents and informal leaders of actual change. By "interface" departments we understand those internal organizational units that have a direct contact with citizens/clients/consumers as part of their daily activity. To what extent can this transitional mechanism be observed in media industries?
d) The rise of "emotional intelligence." Interest in "the emotional" has burgeoned in the last years, not only in the sociology of organizations and political sociology studies, but in psychology, philosophy, history, international relations and media studies. This critical aspect of organizational transitions seems particularly relevant in industries that are so intimately connected with the production, codification, manipulation and circulation of cultural products that require the generation of functional creative milieus. To what extent are media industries adapting their internal organizations to the emotional parameters of convergence culture?

In the following series, I will explore all the available empirical studies on how each one of these internal factors enable or constrain the changing structure of media industry organizations. I will finish these series of contributions with a white paper where I will outlined a set of broad recommendations based on the previous work.

Esteve Olle is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Comaprative Media Studies at MIT, where he also works with the Consortium on research about the changing structure of media organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Open University of Catalonia and spent three years previous to coming to MIT researching globalization theory at the London School of Economics.

The Fine Print

Compiled and Edited by Sam Ford ( for the Convergence Culture Consortium.


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