On April 20-21, Sabrina Sauer will present a full paper at the conference Researching Media Companies Producing Audiovisual Content, hosted by Lillehammer University College, Department of Film and Television Studies. This event is sponsored by the International Association for Media and Communication Research’s Media Production Analysis working group.
Television broadcasters increasingly rely on digitized audiovisual material for reuse in the production of new audiovisual content. Access to, and an expert understanding of how to quickly find existing material, for instance in online archives, has changed working practices of professionals creating online as well as broadcast television content. This paper focuses on how Dutch private and public media companies that produce cross-media content search for and reuse digitized archival material, and draws conclusions about how digital search technologies influence work routines and creative production processes. What do professionals perceive as affordances and constraints in their search process, and how does navigating these affordances and constraints shape their work practice?
To answer these questions, the paper presents qualitative research insights collected during focus group sessions and 20 semi-structured interviews with professionals who work for public and private companies in news, entertainment and documentary television production. The collected data focuses on work routines, specifically search practices, interactions with (online) archives and how these routines shape audiovisual content.
The analysis particularly reflects on professionals’ descriptions of how affordances and constraints such as time pressures, genre conventions, audience profiles, and technological and budgetary pressures shape the creative search and production process. Apart from clarifying how digital search technologies shape work routines and audiovisual content, the analysis suggests ways to further grasp the complex relationship between work routines, technological innovation and creativity.
The paper concludes with an overview of professionals’ search strategies to create audiovisual content, and how professionals see future developments in this area. Their future visions form the starting point – in an overarching research project – for the development of new search algorithms for a large Dutch audiovisual archive. This prompts a methodological discussion: how can academic analyses of creative media production strategies help shape new search technologies.