top of page
Associate Professor Ramon Lobato
Australian Research Council Future Fellow
School of Media and Communication, RMIT University
Faculty website | Google Scholar

I'm a media industries researcher specialising in video-on-demand services and digital distribution. This website contains contains pre-print and open-access research by me and my collaborators. You might also be interested to check out our Distribution Matters book series with MIT Press. Feel free to get in touch
Ramon Lobato

“European cinema face to face with Silicon Valley.”

In European Cinema in the Streaming Era: Policy, Platforms, and Production, eds Christopher Meir and Roderik Smits. Basingstoke: Palgrave. v-viii

“Electronics and expertise: Constructing the smart TV on the retail sales floor.”

Television and New Media, OnlineFirst (with Alexa Scarlata)


Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders

New York: NYU Press, 2023 (co-edited with Amanda Lotz)

"Conceptualizing the national and the global in SVOD original production"

In Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders (with Alexa Scarlata and Stuart Cunningham)

“The government has announced plans to regulate smart TV home screens: what the new rules mean for you.”

The Conversation, 29 November (with Alexa Scarlata)

"The data broker economy."

Infographic for Choice, Consumer Policy Research Centre submissions to ACCC Data Brokers Inquiry, August 2023.

“Cultural policy between television and digital platforms: the case of SVOD production and discoverability regulation in Australia”

International Journal of Cultural Policy, in press (with James Douglas, Alexa Scarlata and Stuart Cunningham)


"Netflix and other streaming giants pay to get branded buttons on your remote control. Local TV services can’t afford to keep up."

The Conversation, April 26 (with Alexa Scarlata and Bruno Schivinski)

"Broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) in Australia: Platforms, policy, and local content."

Media International Australia, forthcoming (with Alexa Scarlata)

“SVOD original production in Australia: Evolution or revolution?”

Media International Australia, forthcoming (with Alexa Scarlata and James Douglas)


“Software obsolescence in smart TVs.”

Presentation at Electronics Ecologies: Repair, Griffith U, 30 August.


"Partners, competitors, frenemies: how Australian advertising professionals understand the market power of Facebook and Google"

International Journal of Communication 17 (2023): 3072-90 (with Sam Kininmonth)

"Why your smart TV might not last as long as you'd hope.”

Choice, 11 January 2023 (with Alexa Scarlata)

"Smart TVs need smart regulation."

Inside Film, 31 January.

"Smart TVs and local content prominence."

Report submitted to Prominence review, Federal Government of Australia, Feb 2023 (with Alexa Scarlata and Bruno Schivinski)

"Smart home devices and the media streaming ecosystem: emerging competition and consumer issues."

Submission to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Digital Platform Service, April 2023

“The Roku Channel: Vertically integrated connected TV.”

From Networks to Netflix: A Guide to Changing Channels, ed. Derek Johnson. London: Routledge, 2023 (with Eleanor Patterson)




“Regulating discoverability in subscription video-on-demand services.”

Digital Platform Regulation: Global Perspectives on Internet Governance, ed. Terry Flew and Fiona Martin. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

“Smart TVs are watching what you watch – and selling your data to advertisers.”

Choice, 6 September 2022 (with Alexa Scarlata)

“Social issues in ADM.”

Melbourne: ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, 2022. (multi-author report - contributed "Video" section with Dan Binns)

The video years: Stuart Cunningham and screen industry studies.”

Media International Australia 182 (1): 54–58.


“Free, bundled, or personalized? Rethinking price and value in digital distribution.”

Media Distribution in the Digital Age. Eds. Paul McDonald, Courtney Brannon Donoghue, Tim Havens. New York: New York University Press. 314-334.

“The media geographies of Tom O’Regan.”

Media International Australia 180: 42-46. (with Julian Thomas)

“Beyond streaming wars: rethinking competition in video services.”

Media Industries 8: 89-108. (with Amanda Lotz)

“Producing local content in international waters: the case of Netflix’s Tidelands.”

Continuum 35 (1): 137-50. (with Alexa Scarlata and Stuart Cunningham)


“Imagining global video: the challenge of Netflix.”

Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59.3 (2020): 132-136. (intro to special issue coedited with Amanda Lotz)

"Evolving practices of informal distribution in internet television.”

Routledge Companion to Global Television, ed. Shawn Shimpach. London: Routledge. 479-487.

“On the boundaries of digital markets.”

Digital Peripheries: The Online Circulation of Audiovisual Content from the Small Market Perspective. Eds Petr Szczepanik, Pavel Zahrádka, Jakub Macek, Paul Stepan. Berlin: Springer. 51-62.

“Australia: Stop&go per la soap e per tutta l’industria locale.”

Link: Idee per la televisione 26: 16-17.

“Apple, Disney and Netflix’s streaming battle isn’t winner-take-all.”

The Conversation, 8 November. Reprinted in Fast Company and Salon



Netflix Nations: The Geography of Digital Distribution

New York: NYU Press.

“The OTT TV box as a diasporic media platform.”

Media Industries 6.2 (2019): 133-50 (with Pradipta Sarkar)

“Television device ecologies, prominence and datafication: the neglected importance of the set-top box.”

Media, Culture and Society 41.7 (2019): 958-74 (with David Hesmondhalgh)

“Chinese video platforms in the context of global platform studies.”

Chinese Journal of Communication 12.3 (2019): 356-71 (with Wilfred Wang)

“Formats and formalization in Internet advertising.”

Format Matters: Standards, Practices, and Politics in Media Cultures, eds. Alexandra Schneider, Axel Volmar and Marek Jancovic, Meson Press, Berlin. 65-80.

“Writing about streaming portals: the drama of distribution.”

Writing about Screen Media, ed. Lisa Patti. London: Routledge. 159-162.

Crunching the numbers on streaming services’ local content: static growth, but more original productions.

The Conversation, 15 October (with Alexa Scarlata)

“Netflix is opening its first Australian HQ. What does this mean for the local screen industry?”

The Conversation, 18 June (with Stuart Cunningham)


Internet-distributed television research: a provocation.

Media Industries 5.2 (2018) (with Amanda Lotz and Julian Thomas)

Rethinking international TV flows research in the age of Netflix.”

Television and New Media 19.3 (2018): 241-56. 


Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, ed. Celia Lury et al. London: Routledge.

”Local film and TV content makes up just 1.6% of Netflix’s Australian catalogue.”

The Conversation, 15 October (with Alexa Scarlata)

On discoverability.”

Flow Journal, June

”Local content in the Netflix age.”

Inside Film, April/May

”IPTV piracy and global television distribution.”

Flow Journal, November


“Australian content in SVOD catalogs: availability and discoverability.”

Submission to Department of Communications Australian and Children’s Screen Content review, September 21, 2017. (with Alexa Scarlata)

“Streaming services and the changing global geography of television.”

Handbook on Geographies of Technology, ed. Barney Warf. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

“The friction of digital markets.”

Flow Journal, November

“Google’s ad problem and the future of online media.”

Inside Story, 31 March



Geoblocking and Global Video Culture

Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures (co-edited with James Meese)

Including authored chapters “The new video geography” and “Australia: Circumvention goes mainstream”

“Informal translation, post-cinema and global media flows.”

The State of Post-Cinema: Tracing the Moving Image in the Age of Digital Dissemination, eds. Alena Strohmaier, Malte Hagener & Vinzenz Hediger. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016. 127-145. (with Tessa Dwyer)

“The cultural logic of digital intermediaries: YouTube multichannel networks (MCNs).”

Convergence 22.4 (2016): 348-360.

“Cultural politics on demand.”

Inside Story, 31 May


"The international politics of VPN regulation."

Ars Technica, 26 February



“Piracy and promotion: Understanding the double-edged power of crowds.”

Film Marketing into the Twenty-First Century, eds. Nolwenn Mingant, Cecilia Tirtaine and Joel Augros, 122-131. London: British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2015.    


“Kim Dotcom and the economic image of the cloud.”

Media Fields 10 (2015).

“Cultures of sharing in 3D printing: What can we learn from the license choices of Thingiverse users?”

Journal of Peer Production 6 (2015) (with Jarkko Moilanen, Angela Daly, and Darcy Allen)

“The cyberlocker gold rush: tracking the rise of file-hosting sites as media distribution platforms.”

International Journal of Cultural Studies 17.5 (2014): 423-35. (with Leah Tang)

Review articles for Inside Story (1, 2)


“The paradoxes of piracy.”

Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South, eds. L. Eckstein and A. Schwarz, 121-34. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

“Informal mobile economies.”

Routledge Companion to Mobile Media, eds. Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth, 114-22. London: Routledge, 2014. (with Julian Thomas)


M/C (Media/Culture) Journal special issue, 17.2 (with James Meese)

“Unlocking the geoblock: Australians embrace VPNs.”

The Conversation, 2 October.

2013 and earlier

"The formal and the informal" and "Informality, development and the creative economy: the case of Nollywood".

UNESCO Creative Economy Report 2013. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 26-29.

Various articles in Inside Story, 2013-2017

“Living and labouring as a music writer.”

Cultural Studies Review 19.1 (2013): 155-76. (with Lawson Fletcher)

“A sideways view of the film economy in an age of digital piracy.”

Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies 1.1 (2012).

“An introduction to informal media economies.”

Television and New Media 13.5 (2012): 1-4.

"Transnational piracy research in practice: A roundtable interview with Joe Karaganis, John Cross, Olga Sezneva and Ravi Sundaram.”

Television and New Media 13.5 (2012): 447-458. 

“The business of anti-piracy: New zones of enterprise in the copyright wars.”

International Journal of Communication 6 (2012): 606-625. (with Julian Thomas)

“Communication networks, cities and the informal economy.”

Cultures and Globalization, Vol 5: Cities, Cultural Policy and Governance, eds. H. K. Anheier and Y. Raj Isar, 32-43. London: Sage, 2012. 

“Prestige and professionalization at the edges of the journalistic field: the case of music writers.”

Amateur Media: Social, Cultural and Legal Perspectives. Eds. Dan Hunter, Ramon Lobato, Megan Richardson and Julian Thomas, 111-24. London: Routledge, 2012. (with Lawson Fletcher)

“Rethinking genre studies through distribution analysis: Issues in international horror movie circuits.”

New Review of Film and Television Studies 9.2 (2011): 188-203. (with Mark Ryan)

“Constructing the pirate audience: On free culture, cyber-libertarianism, and popular copyright critique.”

Media International Australia 139 (2011): 113-124. 

“Histories of user-generated content: Between formal and informal economies.”

International Journal of Communication 5 (2011): 899-914. (with Julian Thomas and Dan Hunter)

“Creative industries and informal economies: Lessons from Nollywood.”

International Journal of Cultural Studies 13.4 (2010): 337-354. 

“Australian crime films.”

Intellect Directory of Australian and New Zealand Cinema, eds. B. Goldsmith and G. Lealand, 115-17. Bristol: Intellect, 2010. 

“The politics of digital distribution: Exclusionary structures in online cinema.”

Studies in Australasian Cinema 3.2 (2009): 167-178.

“Invisible audiences for Australian films? Cinema and its many publics.”

Metro 160 (2009): 162-165.

“The six faces of piracy: Global media distribution from below.”

The Business of Entertainment, Volume 1, ed. Robert Sickels, 15-36. Westport: Praeger.

​​​​​​“Crimes against urbanity: The concrete soul of Michael Mann.”

Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.3 (2008): 341-52. 

“Secret lives of Asian-Australian cinema: Offshore labour in transnational film industries.”

Studies in Australasian Cinema 2.3 (2008): 213-228. 

"Amazing Grace: Decadence, deviance, disco.”

Camera Obscura 22 (2008): 134-39. 

“Subcinema: Theorizing marginal film distribution.”

Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies 13 (2007): 113-20. 

“Gentrification, cultural policy and live music in Melbourne.”
Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy 120 (2006): 63-75.


bottom of page