Streaming, Binge-Watching & Second Screening: Online Social Television in Perspective

Overview

Television has been transformed. It is not a just fixed, flickering screen in living rooms and public spaces around the world anymore. In the contemporary sense, television has literally cut the cord to become a mobile, always-on, and personalized experience that is informed by recommendations and algorithms. Seeing “what’s on” TV from a hierarchical schedule provided by a handful of dominant media producers and distribution systems is fading into memory or no longer exists for billions of television viewers around the world.

Previous work in on streaming television and social media has suggested that “While the process of storytelling is technologically agnostic, each communication vehicle offers specific affordances that encourage certain behaviors and interactions” (Groshek & Krongard, 2016, p. 3). However, there is still only a relatively limited body of research about streaming television, binge-watching, and the use of television in combination with other social media platforms across a wide range of social, political, personal, emotional, and health areas.

Thus, the Division of Emerging Media Studies at Boston University is hosting a two-day conference to address the most pressing issues related to streaming television, binge-watching and television’s growing intersection with social media. We hope this event, which is scheduled to take place in The Castle, one of the most historic and intimate meeting halls on the Boston University campus from April 20th – 21st, will provide a platform for the collective expertise of International Scientific Advisory Board members as well as other researchers working in the area to make an impact unique to the field. As conference organizers, we do not want to place parameters on contributions, which can be empirical, theoretical, thought exercises, essays, reflections, analyses, qualitative, quantitative, observations – any scholarly approach is welcome.

In terms of topics, we ask prospective contributors to feel free to draw on their expertise and vision, but of course there are a wide range of topics that relate to streaming television and second screening in terms of adoption, use, or content, such as (but not limited to):

  • Mobile devices
  • Life satisfaction
  • Human relationships
  • Health communication
  • Civility and elections
  • Political and civic participation
  • Television platforms
  • Social networks
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Algorithms
  • Metadata and meta-analyses
  • Academic performance

At this stage, abstracts should be approximately 500 words, including references and figures, and can be submitted by email to conference coordinator Jessica Bonner (jbonner@bu.edu) no later than March 13, 2017. There are no specific author guidelines, but we do ask that authors be consistent in using the referencing style of their choice. Full papers (from approximately 2,5000 – 9,000 words) will be due to discussants one week before the conference. For those interested, we will be pursuing options for a special issue of these proceedings with a leading journal.

Practitioners and subject-matter experts will be invited to give brief papers on selected topics which will then be followed by interrogative discussion. In addition, drawing on an open, peer-reviewed “call for papers,” additional scholars and practitioners will be included in the sessions. The format of the talks will be to organize them into panels. In each panel there will be a brief presentation by the paper author followed by an extended commentary from among panelists.

Audiences, both attending in-person and participating via live-streaming sessions, will have an opportunity to raise questions and contribute viewpoints. Ample time is also scheduled for informal discussion so that discrete ideas can be explored in depth and serendipitous interpersonal connections can be forged. Following the conference, selected papers will be published online and in special issues of peer-reviewed journals so that the ideas developed and expressed during the conference can receive wide circulation. Some talks and interview excerpts will also be posted online to further the event’s impact.

Agenda (subject to change)

DAY ONE, Thursday, April 20, 2017

12:30 PM: Welcoming remarks by Dean Tom Fiedler, College of Communication, Boston University

12:45 PM: Lunch and opening address on the transformation of television; followed by informal discussion

2:15 PM: Panel 1.1 on the implications of streaming television, binge-watching and second screening

3:45 PM: Keynote address, “The Social Life of Screens” by Professor Pablo J. Boczkowski (Northwestern University)

5:00 PM: Reception

6:45 PM: Dinner — Location TBA

DAY TWO, Friday, April 21, 2017

9:30 AM: Registration & coffee

10:00 AM: Panel 2.1 on the implications of streaming television, binge-watching and second screening

12:30 PM: Lunch and poster presentations, informal discussion and networking session

2:00 PM: Panel 2.2 on the implications of streaming television, binge-watching and second screening

3:30 PM: Keynote address by Professor Homero Gil de Zúñiga (University of Vienna)

5:00 PM: Reception

International Scientific Advisory Board Members:

  • Ahmed al-Rawi (Concordia University)
  • Luca Barra (University of Bologna)
  • Britt Christensen (Zayed University)
  • Pedro Ferreira (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Homero Gil de Zúñiga (University of Vienna)
  • Mareike Jenner (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Elana Levine (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)
  • Seth Lewis (University of Oregon)
  • Amanda Lotz (University of Michigan)
  • Grant McCracken (Berkman Center, Harvard University)
  • Peppino Ortoleva (University of Torino)
  • Matthew Pittman (University of Oregon)
  • Mark Stewart (University of Amsterdam)
  • Chuck Tryon (Fayetteville State University)

* Institutional affiliations are for identification purposes and do not imply endorsement.

Key Dates

March 13: Extended abstracts (~500 words) due to organizers. Send abstracts to jbonner@bu.edu

March 20: Notification of acceptance decision.

April 13: Completed papers (~2,500 – 9,000 words) due to discussants.

April 20-21: Workshop held at Boston University.