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Streaming the culture industries (STREAM)

The culture industries are changing. Streaming is increasingly popular. STREAM studied streaming services in TV, music, film, and publishing at the intersection of technology, economy and use.

About the project

Streaming the culture industries: Analyzing the technology, usage and economy of streaming media services (STREAM).

Streaming, understood as on-demand access to vast digital catalogues of works, combines technologies and business models in a manner that has the potential to profoundly change cultural practice. Since the introductions of YouTube (2005), Netflix (streaming since 2007) and Spotify (2008), users access cultural products instead of owning them.

Drawing on Actor-Network Theory and Social construction of technology, the STREAM project studies:

  1. design, technology and repertoire,
  2. use, and;
  3. business of streaming within music, television, film and book publishing.

To capture the impact of streaming on cultural production and practice, STREAM combined two large survey studies with qualitative interviews with both users and media managers across the cultural sectors, and innovative software studies and digital methods.


The primary objective of STREAM was to provide new knowledge on streaming media services and how they impact the culture industries and cultural practices. This entails examinations of various streaming services' technological and economic foundations, as well as reliable data and a comprehensive understanding of how users relate to and use the services.

The secondary objectives of the project was to provide the culture and media industries with a better understanding of the changes made possible by streaming technologies, and the opportunities and challenges they imply. Through this we also aimed to develop analytical concepts to update media theory to better grasp current media technology and its usage.

Research questions

The research questions was developed to give a deeper understanding of how different technologies, design and algorithms affect users and their consumption of the cultural industry. In addition, the STREAM project focused on how different technologies and business models transform value creation and distribution in the different industries.

The STREAM project aimed at answering the following research questions:

  • How do different technologies, design, and repertoires of streaming media services lead to changes in cultural consumption?

  • How are streaming experiences and use shaped by machine agency?

  • How do people make sense of streaming media services?

  • How do the various technologies and business models of streaming media transform value creation and distribution in the different industries; who gains, and who loses?


The project consisted of three work packages, thematically organized according to research questions and study objects.

  • Work package 1: The technology, design and repertoire of streaming media services, addresses RQ1 and was led by Fagerjord. Maasø, Lüders and post.doc acted as co-researchers. 
  • Work package 2: The modes and practices of streaming media usage, addresses RQ2 and was led by Lüders. Spilker and post.doc acted as co-researchers.
  • Work package 3: The business models and value networks of streaming media services, addresses RQ3 and was led by post.doc. Co-researchers was Fagerjord and Maasø. 


The Norwegian Research Council


1 March 2017 – 28  February 2021


  • NTNU Trondheim
  • OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University

Advisory board

  • Anders Fagerjord, Head of the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen
  • Charles Melvin Ess, Professor in Media studies at the University of Oslo
  • David Berry, Professor of Digital Humanities (Media and Film) at the University of Sussex
  • David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, music, and culture at the University of Leeds
  • Göran Bolin, Professor in Media and communication studies at the University of Södertörn
  • Lucy Küng, Professor II of Media Innovation at the University of Oslo 
  • Nancy Baym, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, and Principal Research at Microsoft Research


See the project blog (


«Binging» and business: New media habits in the age of streaming

The Stream research project will host a breakfast seminar September 14 at the House of Literature in Oslo. The seminar will be in Norwegian. 

Time and place: Sep. 14, 2017 8:00 AM–10:00 AM, The House of Literature

Music streaming killed the CD. Netflix and online TV are taking over for linear TV. Now book streaming is emerging as well. Welcome to the age of streaming. 

The «Stream» research project is welcoming you to a breakfast seminar where the research project that will study streaming media until 2021 will be presented. Kantar TNS will present their new audience measurements where streaming is finally included, and Storytel will present their service that is like "Spotify for audiobooks".


  • Guro Stavn (Kantar TNS)
  • Håkon Havik (Storytel)
  • Arnt Maasø (University of Oslo, streaming researcher)
  • Anders Fagerjord (University of Oslo, project leader in Stream)

Immediately after the seminar, Hendrik Spilker will launch his book "Digital Music Distribution" in the same room. 

Book launch: "Digital Music Distribution"

Hendrik Spilker will launch his new book "Digital Music Distribution: The Sociology of Online Music Streams" September 14 in Oslo. The event will be in Norwegian. 

Time and place: Sep. 14, 2017 10:00 AM–11:15 AM, The House of Literature

Hendrik Spilker presents the main findings of his new book "Digital Music Distribution: The Sociology of Online Music Streams" (Routledge), a result of several years of research on digital music distribution. Spilker is Associate Professor in media sociology at NTNU and researcher in the STREAM Research Project. 

At the book launch Arvid Schanke-Knutsen (Klassekampen and Rockheim), Jarle Savio (Phonofile) and Robert Gjestad (Aftenposten) will be commenting and reflecting on the thematics of the book. 

The audience will have the chance to ask questions. 


EMMA 2018

Anders Fagerjord and Lucy Küng participated at the EMMA 2018 conference “Media Management in the Age of Big Data and High-tech”.

Their presentation “How Does the Plumbing Work? Understanding the Network-flow Model behind Netflix and Other Streaming Video Services”.

Media Industries Conference 2018

At the conference "Media Industries Conference 2018" we participated with our panel: "The sustainability of streaming media services".

We discussed if the business model for streaming will survive the market, and how we can understand streaming in conjunction with the use of other digital media and different business models. 


Journal articles

Sundet & Colbjørnsen (forthcoming). Streaming across industries: Streaming logics and streaming lore in the music, television, film, and book industries. MedieKultur.

Sundet (2021). Youthification" of drama through real-time storytelling. A production study of blank and the legacy of SKAMCritical Studies in Television, 16(2).

Lüders Sundet (2021). Conceptualizing the Experiential Affordances of Watching Online TV. Television & New Media.

Lüders, Sundet & Colbjørnsen (2021). Towards streaming as a dominant mode of media use? A user typology approach to music and television streaming. Nordicom Review, 42(1).

Colbjørnsen, Tallerås & Øfsti (2021). Contingent availability: A case-based approach to understanding availability in streaming services and cultural policy implicationsInternational Journal of Cultural Policy

Spilker & Johannesen (2020). Samfunnsoppdrag i forvitring? En analyse av sjangermangfold og programleggingsteknikker i NRK og TV2 på lineær-tv og strømme-tv. Norsk medietidsskrift, 4/20.

Colbjørnsen (2020). The Streaming Network. A conceptualization of distribution economy, technology and power in streaming media services. Convergence.

Kiberg (2020) «Personaliserte anbefalinger og musikalsk mangfold – en umulig kombinasjon?» Norsk medietidsskrift, 27(3).

Lüders (2020). Ubiquitous tunes, virtuous archiving and catering for algorithms. The tethered affairs of people and music streaming services. Information, Communication & Society

Spilker & Colbjørnsen. (2020). The dimensions of streaming: toward a typology of an evolving concept. Media, Culture & Society

Andersen, M., & Sundet, V. (2019). Producing Online Youth Fiction in a Nordic Public Service Context. VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture, 8(16)

Maasø, Arnt & Anja Nylund Hagen (2020) Metrics and decision-making in music streaming, Popular Communication, 18:1, 18-31

Fagerjord & Küng (2019) Mapping the core actors and flows in streaming video services: What Netflix can tell us about these new media networks. Journal of Media Business Studies

Lüders (2019). Pushing music: People’s continued will to archive versus Spotify’s will to make them explore. European Journal of Cultural Studies

Ask, Spilker & Hansen (2019). The politics of user-platform relationships: Co-scripting live-streaming on First Monday

Tallerås, Colbjørnsen & Øfsti (2019). Relativ tilgjengelighet: Formidling og utvelgelse i strømmetjenester for film, tv-serier og digitale bøker. Norsk medietidsskrift, 26(1)

Spilker, Ask & Hansen (2018). The New Practices and Infrastructures of Participation: How the popularity of challenges old and new ideas about television viewing. Information, Communication & Society


Sundet (2021). Television Drama in the Age of Streaming. Transnational Strategies and Digital Production Cultures at the NRK. Palgrave Pivot.

Spilker (2018). Digital Music Distribution: The Sociology of Online Music Streams. Routledge.

Book chapters

Lüders (2020). “Innovation & Creativity: Media as Business and Commons” in von Rimscha, B. & Kienzler, S. (eds.) Management and Economics of Communication. De Gruyter Mouton.

Sundet (2020). “Drama as flagship productions: Small nation television and digital distribution”. Book chapter in Anne Marit Waade, Eva Novrup Redvall and Pia Majbritt Jensen (eds.) Danish Television Drama: Global Lessons from a Small Nation. Palgrave Macmillan

Other publications

Andersen & Lüders (forthcoming). Streaming media: production, interfaces, content and user. Editorial introduction to Special Issue. MedieKultur

Kiberg (2019) Hvordan forstå og undersøke populærmusikkens "svarte bokser"? [How to understand and investigate the “black boxes” of popular music?] Comment in Norsk medietidsskrift, 26(01), 1-11.

Fagerjord (2019). Algoritmer og mennesker, makt og filosofi. Book-review of Taina Bucher: If… then: Algorithmic Power and Politics. Norsk medietidsskrift, 26(01), 1-3.

Lüders (2018). Music and the Internet in Barney, W. (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet, 3v. Sage Publications.


Logo for the project, "Stream" written with black letters.

Published June 26, 2017 10:54 AM - Last modified Mar. 28, 2022 1:20 PM