Introduction: Digital Distribution and Cultural Power

Jennifer Hessler, Juan Llamas Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


It has been five years and ten issues since the inaugural edition of Media Fields Journal, where the founding editors explored the changing nature of film distribution by focusing on video stores. The fact that almost half of US homes now subscribe to a video streaming service speaks to the fast rate of technological and social change in this relatively short amount of time.1 Today, industry professionals vacillate between the glooming uncertainty that Hollywood’s longstanding methods are no longer viable and the wide?eyed optimism that Silicon Valley can “disrupt” any aspect of society it targets. Scholars likewise grapple with the implications of these accelerated changes, calling into question previous conceptions about medium specificity, disciplinarity, and methodologies. Long past the “tulip mania” phase of the new media debate, 2 it has become clear that, although digital technologies are not the watershed once prophesied, something has changed, the consequences of which we are only beginning to understand. The intellectual task is now to take stock of the current moment and interrogate its possible futures. But how do we make sense of the changes of this digital era? Indeed, how can we evaluate whether, and to what extent, these changes are significant?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMedia Fields
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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