9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS12 Arts Management: Sociological Inquiries

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Governing the Arts Building AA, AA.340

Programming the Long Tail: Docs On-line Digital distribution is revolutionizing our cultural industries

 Although its effects are not yet clear, one of the main arguments - captured in the concept of the long tail (Anderson, 2007) - is that niche markets can be economically attractive. For many media scholars the accompanying promise of a more diverse supply of cultural products is very appealing (e.g. Iordanova, 2008). However, better availability and access to moving image niches does not guarantee people will find and appreciate all films that make up the long tail equally. In this paper I will take a close look at web-based portals for creative documentary (a niche product that is likely to benefit from digital distribution), and assess what strategies of presentation programmers/curators are developing to interest audiences for such niche content while upholding high standards of selection and contextualization. In my analysis I will 1) include a conceptual discussion of curating as a practice; 2) address the parameters that influence the programming in virtual space; and 3) pay special attention to the way online programming differs and relates to programming at film festivals, which provide the most important off-line exhibition spaces for creative documentary today.

This paper is part of a new research project - Documentary After Digital Distribution: Programming Niche Content Across Channels - and builds on the presenter's research expertise on film festivals as alternative distribution and exhibition network for film (De Valck, 2007, 2008).

- Anderson, Chris (2007). The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. London: Randon House Business Books.
- De Valck, Marijke (2008). "'Screening' the Future of Film Festivals: A Long Tale of Convergence and Digitization." Film International 6 (4): 15?23.
- De Valck, Marijke (2007). Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
- Iordanova, Dina (2008b). Budding Channels of Peripheral Cinema: The Long Tail of Global Film Circulation. Available via on-demand print at www.blurb.com.

[Mediation of Cultures]