Algorithmic Public Service Television? Examining Publishing Strategies in VOD Services

  • JP Kelly (Foredragsholder)
  • Julie Mejse Münter Lassen (Foredragsholder)
  • Sørensen, J. K. (Foredragsholder)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Roundtable presentation and discussion -- Abstract: Until very recently, the distribution of audio-visual content has solely been the product of human decision-making processes. In the film industry, for instance, studio executives routinely make decisions regarding when and how widely a film should be released. In television, scheduling has been the primary organisational logic through which broadcasters have sought to attract viewers (particularly in commercial contexts) and/or deliver public service values (specifically in public service media [PSM] contexts). In each instance, the way in which content is distributed (when, where, how widely, for how long, in what order, etc.) has been the result of human decision-making processes.
Whilst human decision-making still plays an integral role in the distribution of television content, we are seeing a growing number of algorithmically-driven distribution systems and practices. These algorithms aren’t only shaping the texts themselves (e.g. informing what should be commissioned, how the content should be shot, how those shots should be arranged, and so on). We contend that the increasing automation of distribution has a profound impact on storytelling and narrative at a much higher level. This higher level, meta-narrative is essentially what Raymond Williams famously called “flow” (1976) which, he maintains, is the ‘defining characteristic of broadcasting’ – it is the overall composition, sequence and experience of television.
Broadcast flow is constructed through a human, creative practice that Ellis describes as “the art of scheduling” (2000) and in that sense it can be considered a text in its own right (Bruun, 2020). However, as television is increasingly consumed via video-on-demand [VOD] platforms such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and DRTV, and as these platforms increasingly make use of algorithms to automate the prioritisation and personalisation of content, what happens to this notion of “flow”? In other words: what happens to this meta televisual narrative? The increasing automation of television distribution raises other important questions too. What algorithmic systems are being used? To what extent are they being used? How much of this prioritisation and personalisation can be attributed to algorithms and how much of it can be attributed to humans? These questions are relevant to the industry as a whole but are of particular concern for public service broadcasters who must ensure that these algorithmic systems still deliver PSM values.
Periode30 apr. 2021
BegivenhedstitelAlgorithms in Film, Television and Sound Cultures: New Ways of Knowing and Story Telling
PlaceringIstanbul, TyrkietVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


  • public service broadcasting
  • public service media
  • algorithmic recommender systems
  • personalisation
  • Video on demand
  • measurement