MI3 : Media Industries, Infrastructures and Institutions

Creative processes in a data-driven television industry

For the television industry, viewing data have always been crucial for decisions about the production and renewal of television series. While ratings are still relevant for linear television broadcasters, streaming services know much more about their users than how many people are watching at a give time. They gather and analyze various kinds of user and viewing data with the promise to enhance the entertainment experience of their consumers by matching user tastes with content. While the collection and utilization of data has been criticized by various scholars, this research project focuses on how data are actually used in decision-making processes on a local/micro-level.

In this ethnographic research project, Hanna Surma and Judith Keilbach explore how viewing data are negotiated within the different teams of a Dutch streaming service, how they are used in the communication with television producers and screenwriters, and what producers and screenwriters do with this information about their viewers.

Interview (in Dutch) with Hanna Surma and Judith Keilbach by Nina Köll
Publication of research results (in German)