Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Innovation and Diversity in algorithmically-based European screen storytelling

Project Description

Youth confront unprecedented risks from social media harms, environmental destruction, economic marginalisation, information disorder and the pandemic. Yet the profile of European screen authors – creatives shaping scripts needed for entertainment, edification, inspiration and consolation, and locating young people authentically in their cultures – is 46 years, master’s degree, freelance and 64% males. They operate within a global US$382 billion streaming market, dominated by subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime, growing at 23% annually.

In this context, IDABESS starts from the assumption that Algorithmic Recommenders of such platforms shape story culture and need to be better understood. These SVODs present new threats to Europe- origin storytelling, including ‘missed revenues’ needed to ensure a robust European industry. Especially problematic is US SVODs enclosure of intellectual property (IP), and lack of ‘fair alternatives’ for European screenwriters. Despite concerns regarding the lack of deep reading, many youth still favor serialised storytelling. Given civilisation’s need to reflect to stay healthy, and intergenerational equity, IDABESS will help ensure younger European people have a quality, diverse and pluralistic screen storytelling ecology. Via interviews with high-value writer-producers using socio-technologies in the most innovative ways in exemplar countries, IDABESS will investigate what the paradigm shift to algorithmically- based platforms means for the livelihoods and diversity of European screenwriters, and produce a best practice model of innovative series production and distribution to better inform scholarship, pedagogy, creative practice and policy.