Industrial Organization of Online Video on Demand Platforms in North America: Between Diversity and Concentration

Argelia Muñoz Larroa

Abstract


This article examines online video on demand platforms as a new dissemination window for audio-visual content in North America, specifically, in the less-known cases of Mexico and Canada. The comparative study describes and discusses the markets and industrial organization of these subsectors and highlights the common and distinctive characteristics of their ecologies vis à vis United States’ strong hold over the screen content industry in the region. The main line of inquiry is—what is the contribution of this new window regarding the provision of a more diverse screen outlet ecology in the current context of concentration in the audiovisual sector? In this way, the article connects with the long-standing debate between optimistic and skeptical accounts of whether digital technologies can disrupt traditional concentration tendencies in the cultural industries. To answer the research question, new platform environments were mapped and classified to produce original statistics. These results were compared with official and market statistics; document analysis of news, business and government reports. The article argues that asymmetries in the three countries’ screen landscape across the region have been carried over to the new dissemination window and that outlet diversity does not translate into exposure diversity. The article also empirically monitors challenges to the availability of diverse content providers.


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