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RASMUS KLEIS NIELSEN
RISJ DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
6th European Communication
Conference (ECREA) keynote
PUBLISHERS
AND
PLATFO...
Platforms: Large technology companies that—
 have developed and maintain digital platforms
that enable interaction betwee...
THE RISE OF PLATFORMS
15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 4
Sources: Ian Maude, Be Heard Group, data from Google, Facebook, and estimates from Enders Analysis
Platforms’ share of dig...
Sources: Company reports.
The size of platforms (vs publishers)
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
Google (1998) Facebook (2004) Ax...
Q10. Thinking about how you got news online (via computer, mobile or any device) in the last week, which were the ways in ...
Distributed discovery
And distributed content
PUBLISHERS’ REACTION
15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 10
Focus on onsite versus off-site distribution
Onsite Off-site
Three
responses
Coexistence
Confrontation
Collaboration
Three
responses
Coexistence
“We need Facebook.
Facebook does not need us.”
Confrontation
Collaboration
Three
responses
Coexistence
Confrontation
They are “content
kleptomaniacs”, “thieves”
Collaboration
Three
responses
Coexistence
Confrontation
Collaboration
“This can be win-win.”
A STRATEGIC CASE STUDY
15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 16
Collaboration
in practice?
Generally good relationship
Collaboration
in practice?
Generally good relationship
Tensions between
operational and strategic
Collaboration
in practice?
Generally good relationship
Tensions between
operational and strategic
Fear of missing out
Collaboration
in practice?
Generally good relationship
Tensions between
operational and strategic
Fear of missing out
...
Collaboration
in practice?
Generally good relationship
Tensions between
operational and strategic
Fear of missing out
...
IMPLICATIONS?
15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 22
Implications? “Platformed publishing”?
“Platformed publishing”?
Empowerment and
dependency?
Implications?
“Platformed publishing”?
Empowerment and
dependency?
Institutional reliance on
disembedded technological
systems?
Impli...
Large technology companies have—
 Hard power
 Soft power
 Platform power, including
• Power to set standards
• Power to...
Large technology companies have—
 Hard power
 Soft power
 Platform power, including
• Power to set standards
• Power to...
Large technology companies have—
 Hard power
 Soft power
 “Platform power”, including
• Power to set standards
• Power ...
IMPLICATIONS FOR US?
15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 29
RASMUS KLEIS NIELSEN
RISJ DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
6th European Communication
Conference (ECREA), Prague
PUBLISHERS
AND
PLATFO...
References and acknowledgements
This presentation is based in part on research done with Sarah Ganter and has benefited in...
Nielsen, rasmus kleis. 2016. publishers and platforms. ecrea keynote.
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Nielsen, rasmus kleis. 2016. publishers and platforms. ecrea keynote.

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Platforms and publishers
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, keynote lecture at ECREA 2016 in Prague
What does the continued, global rise of platforms like Google and Facebook mean for public communication in a new digital media environment, and for how we research and understand public communication? That is one of the central questions facing the field of communication research today. In this lecture, I examine the relationship between publishers and platforms as one key part of how the rise of digital intermediaries is playing out, and show how news media—like many others—are becoming simultaneously increasingly empowered by and dependent upon a small number of centrally placed and powerful platforms beyond their control (and with whom they compete for attention and advertising). I develop the notion of "platform power" to begin to capture key aspects of the enabling, generative, and productive power of platforms that set them apart from other actors. As a range of different intermediaries including search engines, social media, and messaging apps become more and more important in terms of how people access and find information online, and in turn restructure the digital media environment itself, communication research is faced with a set of interlocking questions concerning both our intellectual work and our public role. The intellectual questions include the need to understand how people use these platforms to engage with public communication, but also institutional questions including how different platforms engage with other players (like publishers) and how these other players in turn adapt to the rise of platforms, as well as political questions concerning the implications of their rise. The question concerning our public role concerns how existing ways of doing and communicating communication research fits with our ability to understand—and help others understand—an opaque and rapidly-evolving set of processes profoundly reshaping our media environments.

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Nielsen, rasmus kleis. 2016. publishers and platforms. ecrea keynote.

  1. 1. RASMUS KLEIS NIELSEN RISJ DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH 6th European Communication Conference (ECREA) keynote PUBLISHERS AND PLATFORMS
  2. 2. Platforms: Large technology companies that—  have developed and maintain digital platforms that enable interaction between at least two different kinds of actors  and in the process come to host public information, organize access to it, and create new formats for it,  And thereby influence incentive structures around investment in public communication (including news production).
  3. 3. THE RISE OF PLATFORMS 15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 4
  4. 4. Sources: Ian Maude, Be Heard Group, data from Google, Facebook, and estimates from Enders Analysis Platforms’ share of digital advertising 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 $billion Estimated global digital advertising revenues (some shared), 2005-2015 Google Facebook Others
  5. 5. Sources: Company reports. The size of platforms (vs publishers) 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Google (1998) Facebook (2004) Axel Springer (1946) BBC (1922) New York Times (1851) $billion 2016 Market capitalization ($ billion) 2015 Revenues ($ billion)
  6. 6. Q10. Thinking about how you got news online (via computer, mobile or any device) in the last week, which were the ways in which you came across news stories? (Only some options included above.) Base: Total sample in each country How people come across news online FRA GER UK US Direct access to brand 27% 27% 47% 35% Search engine 35% 37% 20% 30% Social media 26% 21% 25% 35%
  7. 7. Distributed discovery
  8. 8. And distributed content
  9. 9. PUBLISHERS’ REACTION 15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 10
  10. 10. Focus on onsite versus off-site distribution Onsite Off-site
  11. 11. Three responses Coexistence Confrontation Collaboration
  12. 12. Three responses Coexistence “We need Facebook. Facebook does not need us.” Confrontation Collaboration
  13. 13. Three responses Coexistence Confrontation They are “content kleptomaniacs”, “thieves” Collaboration
  14. 14. Three responses Coexistence Confrontation Collaboration “This can be win-win.”
  15. 15. A STRATEGIC CASE STUDY 15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 16
  16. 16. Collaboration in practice? Generally good relationship
  17. 17. Collaboration in practice? Generally good relationship Tensions between operational and strategic
  18. 18. Collaboration in practice? Generally good relationship Tensions between operational and strategic Fear of missing out
  19. 19. Collaboration in practice? Generally good relationship Tensions between operational and strategic Fear of missing out Difficulties of evaluating
  20. 20. Collaboration in practice? Generally good relationship Tensions between operational and strategic Fear of missing out Difficulties of evaluating Asymmetrical relationship
  21. 21. IMPLICATIONS? 15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 22
  22. 22. Implications? “Platformed publishing”?
  23. 23. “Platformed publishing”? Empowerment and dependency? Implications?
  24. 24. “Platformed publishing”? Empowerment and dependency? Institutional reliance on disembedded technological systems? Implications?
  25. 25. Large technology companies have—  Hard power  Soft power  Platform power, including • Power to set standards • Power to make and break connections • Power of automated action at scale • Power of secrecy • Power that operates across domains Power
  26. 26. Large technology companies have—  Hard power  Soft power  Platform power, including • Power to set standards • Power to make and break connections • Power of automated action at scale • Power of secrecy • Power that operates across domains Power
  27. 27. Large technology companies have—  Hard power  Soft power  “Platform power”, including • Power to set standards • Power to make and break connections • Power of automated action at scale • Power of secrecy • Power that operates across domains Power
  28. 28. IMPLICATIONS FOR US? 15/06/2016 RISJ Digital News Report 2016 29
  29. 29. RASMUS KLEIS NIELSEN RISJ DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH 6th European Communication Conference (ECREA), Prague PUBLISHERS AND PLATFORMS
  30. 30. References and acknowledgements This presentation is based in part on research done with Sarah Ganter and has benefited indirectly from discussions with the whole research team at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (Alessio Cornia, Annika Sehl, Antonis Kalogeropoulos, Benjamin Toff, Richard Fletcher, and Tom Nicholls, as well as Nic Newman). In addition, I want to thank Andrew Chadwick, Daniel Kreiss, and Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon for inspirational comments, discussions, and suggestions. It builds on the work of many others, including— Bell E with Wardle C, Brown P, Rashidian N, Bengani P, and Gonclaves A. (2016) Who owns the news consumer: Social media platforms or publishers? Columbia Journalism Review. Bell E. (2014) Silicon Valley and Journalism: Make up or Break up? Presented at the Reuters Memorial Lecture 2015, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Chadwick, A. (2013) The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power. New York: Oxford University Press. Dijck J van (2013) The culture of connectivity. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. Evans, P.C., and A. Gawer. (2016) ‘The Rise of the Platform Enterprise: A Global Survey’. New Yok: The Center for Global Enterprise. Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. Gillespie T (2010) The politics of “platforms.” New Media Society 12(3): 347–364. Gillespie T (Forthcoming) Governance of and by platforms. Forthcoming in SAGE Handbook of Social Media, edited by Jean Burgess, Thomas Poell, and Alice Marwick. Grewal, D. S. (2008) Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. Latour, B. (1984) ‘The Powers of Association’. The Sociological Review 32 (S1): 264–280. Newman N, Fletcher R, Levy DAL, and Nielsen RK (2016). Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Pasquale F (2015) The Black Box Society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Plantin J-C, Lagoze C, Edwards P N and Sandvig C (2016) Infrastructure studies meet platform studies in the age of Google and Facebook. New Media & Society 00: 1-00.

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