Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Uncertainty in Media Production

Posted by Sean Hull on April 13, 2017

Rather than focus on a single assigned reading, I’m more interested in considering the general feeling of uncertainty and ambiguity radiated by each essay; cheaply-produced digitally distributed media such as Dr. Horrible was described as the possible prototype of new content production & distribution methods, the “Swedish Model” of music distribution was attributed a variety of pros and cons that seem difficult to evaluate with any certainty, and digital distribution methods such as Amazon & Steam have raised questions of how much they actually benefit indie media producers, a problem compounded by opaque statistics. Most interestingly, the essay “(Sp)reading Digital Comics”, though not itself uncertain in tone, is still illustrative of the inherent uncertainty in a rapidly evolving popular culture, thanks to a retrospective comment by the author in which they detail changes that have occurred both in the web comics examined, and in the digital distribution methods of more traditional comic publications.

This theme of uncertainty is certainly in accordance with the discussion & reading already done, but it seems most vital to point out when considering new types of media production & distribution, and how they may evolve. Though I benefit daily from the services and productions described in the readings, without recognizing the uncertainties which they entail I cannot know how to act to best support them, or, in the case of digital distribution services, the content creators they host.

Though the consideration of uncertainty may help me personally appreciate various types of media more, I am still left with the question of how to deal with the issues raised by the assigned essays. Hopefully these problems of uncertainty in new media production will be explored further, though it seems such a complex issue that I doubt I could ever understand such problems in their entirety.


2 Responses to “Uncertainty in Media Production”

  1. nathanpowers22 said

    I might be coming across as a “selfish” fan in saying this, but I don’t think the onus is really on you to know how to best support the services and content creators with which you interact regularly. As you say, uncertainty is a given in the various media industries and you can’t be expected to even come close to knowing about the intricacies of every model. It makes far more sense to me that production companies and independent creators do their best to figure out what works and doesn’t for themselves, then disseminate the information they collect to their audiences in order for the most dedicated fans to act on it.

    • Sean Hull said

      Not at all, I’m glad you brought this up! Though I was thinking in terms of smaller fan courtesies, such as casual sharing media with other interested individuals, or perhaps using knowledge of Facebook and Twitter to help game their algorithms, I ought to better consider that fans ought not be expected to take up the role of marketing departments.

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