Video Screen Interfaces as New Sites of Media Circulation Power

David Hesmondhalgh, Amanda D. Lotz


This article examines the screen interfaces that have become central to the experience of television, film, and video content in an era when Internet-distributed video coexists with older technologies. We outline how these interfaces represent new sites of media circulation power in their ability to direct audiences toward certain kinds of experience and content, and therefore away from others, power that we contextualize in the longer term history of media industries. We identify multiple levels of video interface: those provided by various video devices, those offered by video services, those of marketplaces that sell services, and aggregated interfaces that blend all of these activities. We identify mechanisms of circulation power that can be applied to all of these interface types, including interface placement, recommendation, search and other functions, and metric display power. We conclude by outlining some ways in which policy and regulation might respond to these emerging forms of media circulation power, and the implications for research on streaming services and other developments in the media industries.


interfaces, video, television, film, circulation, search, algorithmic recommendation

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