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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 24: The Digital Transformation of International Entertainment Flows (Paolo Sigismondi)


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The Digital Transformation of International Entertainment Flows

Paolo Sigismondi

International flows of entertainment content could hardly be considered a new, 21st-century phenomenon. Even limiting the analysis to modern media landscapes only, it can be observed that almost since the beginning of the cinematic medium at the end of the 19th century, its content, movies, has been distributed internationally. Each subsequent communication technological evolution that had an impact on the entertainment industry in the 20th century, however, has generated new additional platforms domestically and internationally, including television, home entertainment, cable and satellite, and novel formats of entertainment as well. As a result, the international entertainment flows have been expanding in the last decades in conjunction with the development of additional distribution platforms.

There are basic economic principles behind the relevance and, to a certain extent, necessity of international distribution for ambitious projects: Entertainment artifacts are intangible experience goods, designed to intercept and satisfy the demand for entertainment experiences, whose economic value doesn’t cease to exist after their first exhibition in any domestic media platform. Movies, for example, generate more relevant revenue streams after their first encounter with the public via subsequent distribution in the home entertainment and television windows of exhibition (both paid platforms and free networks) and might generate ancillary revenues, stemming from merchandising and video games for example. A similar planned sequence of exhibition can be reproduced internationally generating additional shelf lives for entertainment products in...

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