Cultural intermediaries and gatekeepers in the era of online availability

Roderik Smits (JOMEC, Cardiff University)

29 May 2019, 15.00–17.00

Arnolfini 4AF012

My paper draws attention to the role of sales agents and distributors at a time of significant disruption and change to traditional business models in the film industry. It responds to a need for more investigations into the business operations of cultural intermediaries and gatekeepers in the era of online availability. In particular, there is a need to make a contribution to theories of digital disruption and the widespread narrative of dis-intermediation: that is, the belief that digital technologies undermine their value of intermediaries and gatekeepers in the process of cultural production and distribution. I challenge this narrative of dis-intermediation in my paper. My research shows that intermediaries and gatekeepers are responding to new opportunities and often expand to new areas of cultural activity to add more value to their profession. I argue that they remain equally – if not more – decisive to the creation and circulation of screen content.

Dr. Roderik Smits is a Research Associate in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC) at Cardiff University, where he works on the AHRC-funded project Screen Agencies as Cultural Intermediaries. He is also a project member of the AHRC-funded project Beyond the Multiplex. His research focuses on the changing nature of the screen industries and his monograph entitled Gatekeeping in the Evolving Business of Independent Film Distribution will be published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2019 (see image below). His work has been published in journals such as Poetics, Studies in European Cinema, Arts and the Market and Journal of British Cinema and Television.