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Digital Platforms and Cultural Industries

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Edited By Philippe Bouquillion and François Moreau

The assessment of the challenges of digital platforms for cultural industries raises many different issues. How platforms choices in content pricing affect the overall value of cultural markets, especially in the case where content just aim at favoring devices’ sales? How are revenues shared between platforms and content right holders? Do creators and artists all benefit from the growth of digital platforms? How usual business models of cultural industries have to adapt to the digital paradigm? Should we observe rather a reinforcement of the star system or the emergence of a long tail? What is the impact on market concentration? Could we expect an increase or a decrease in cultural diversity? What is the role played by recommender systems, playlists and algorithms in influencing consumers’ choices? How to implement efficient public policies given the transnational dimension of digital platforms? The various papers gathered in this book contribute further to these different topics with a focus on empirical issues. The first part gathers the contributions dealing with the analysis of the impact that digital platforms have on the incumbent or legacy players of the original value chain of content industries: content providers, live entertainment producers, consumers, etc. The second part opens the black box of the ecosystem of digital platforms by studying competition among them and among the business models they adopt, as well as the conditions for the emergence of new players.

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Introduction

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Digital platforms now play a central role in disseminating and promoting cultural, informational, and educational products, as well as creating and producing content. They have key positions in the recorded music (iTunes and YouTube), book (Amazon), audiovisual (Netflix), and video games sectors. While platforms allow end-users to access cultural content, others concern fundraising, particularly through crowdfunding, content recommendation, and promotion, the discovery of new artistic and creative talents, the renewal of productions, tickets sales, etc. Today’s platforms have been preceded by others much older. For example, in the late 1970s, the French incumbent telecommunications operator developed a telematic service, the Minitel; or to cite another example, the Canadian cable operator Videotron offered from 1989 the telematic service called Videoway. In the 1990s, very large industrial players were created by combining within the same holding assets cultural content, Internet access, cable television, satellite packages, and telecommunications. The stated objective of these major players was to propose transnational portals offering content from various sectors of cultural industries and connection services. At the very end of the 1990s and until the stock market crash of 2001, the two dominant players in these portals were AOL Time Warner and Vivendi Universal, respectively the world’s number one and two of the entertainment industries.

In short, although this question is old, its massive, multifaceted and highly evolutionary character explains how so many contributions have developed around these themes without exhausting the subject. Also, the research conducted at Labex Cultural Industries and Artistic...

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