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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

9 Content platforms

Benedikt Berger, Simon Bründl, Joschka Mütterlein and Thomas Hess


The term media company has originally been associated with firms creating, bundling, or distributing content in a linear communication process with consumers as recipients. Such companies can also be referred to as content providers. However, the advancement of digital information and communication technologies has given rise to a new way of organizing communication processes, namely content platforms. These platforms do not create content themselves but offer users the opportunity to publish content for the reception by other users. A focal role in the resulting ecosystem is obtained by the platform operator. In this chapter, we introduce content platform operators as a new type of media company and distinguish them from content providers. Based on examples from practice, we shed light on the relationship between content providers and content platform operators. Furthermore, we look at specifics in managing content platforms, which includes attracting users, ensuring content quality, running the platform, and capturing value from these activities. The chapter closes with a discussion of a revised understanding of the term media company and possible implications for media regulation.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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