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Television Studies

This guide is an introduction to library and internet resources for Television Studies.

Introduction - defining streaming

A method for distributing digital video over the internet; the video is made available only as it is viewed and cannot be stored. Streaming has been increasingly common from the 2010s, when it surpassed DVD, Blu-ray discs, and downloads as the main format for purchasing and renting films for home viewing. A large number of international media corporations, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Disney, and others, offer film and television streaming services. A key reason that streaming is a preferred method of digital film distribution for these companies is that it makes the copying and sharing of files more difficult, thereby reducing copyright infringement. Some measure of viewer control is maintained, as the system records what has been watched and remembers where films and television programmes were paused. In response to consumer demand, from around 2017 it has become possible to select some content for download so that it can be viewed when not connected to the internet. Streaming is also used by smaller, bespoke companies that cater for cinephiles, film scholars, and filmmakers, such as Kanopy, which holds the Criterion film collection, the DEFA Library (see East Germany, film in), and a wide range of foreign-language films and documentaries; Mubi, which curates a monthly selection of cult, classic, and independent films from around the world; and Vimeo, an ad-free YouTube-style sharing platform preferred by filmmakers and artists. In film studies, streaming is considered in relation to changing patterns of distribution, exhibition (with films now watched on a range of devices in a wide variety of contexts) (see home cinema), and film financing, with companies like Netflix producing successful big-budget blockbuster-style films such as Bright (David Ayer, Netflix, US) and Bird Box (Susanne Bier, 2018), as well as independent-style films more often associated with the arthouse cinema and film festival circuit such as Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018); streaming platforms also accommodate independent filmmaking (see mumblecore). This new media landscape also forms part of the varied discussion of digital cinema in relation to questions of convergence, intermediality, and algorithmic cinema (the production of films based on viewing preferences indicated by data on viewing habits gathered from millions of viewers). The policing of the boundaries between film and television is also of interest, with the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, for example, not permitting Netflix films to compete for the Palme D’Or.

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Streaming. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 14 Apr. 2023

In the Library's collections

Introductory reading(s)

Other library resource(s)

Internet resource(s)

These internet sites help you determine what television programs are available for streaming and where you can find them. It does not mean the Library has access to that specific program. It will help you determine if something is streaming. Not everything on video is available on a streaming platform.