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

Ramon Lobato is a researcher specialising in media and cultural industries. This website contains contains pre-print and open-access research by Ramon and his collaborators. Feel free to get in touch.
Ramon Lobato

Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders

Edited by Amanda D. Lotz and Ramon Lobato

NYU Press, New York, January 2023. ISBN:

The rise of streaming has dramatically transformed how audiences consume media. Over the last decade, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+, have begun commissioning and financing their own original movies and TV shows, changing the way and the rate at which content is produced across the globe, from Mexico City to Mumbai. Streaming Video maps this international production boom and what it means for producers, audiences, and storytellers. Through eighteen richly textured case studies, ranging from original Korean dramas on Netflix to BluTV’s experimental Turkish series, the book investigates how streaming services both disrupt and maintain storytelling traditions in specific national contexts. To what extent, and how, are streamers expanding norms of television and film storytelling in different parts of the world? Are streamers enabling the creation of content that would not otherwise exist? What are the implications for different viewers, in different countries, with different tastes? Together, the chapters critically assess the impacts of streaming on twenty-first century audiovisual storytelling and rethink established understandings of transnational screen flows.

Netflix Nations: The Geography of Digital Distribution

By Ramon Lobato

NYU Press, New York, January 2019. ISBN: 9781479804948

Television, once a broadcast medium, now also travels through our telephone lines, fiber optic cables, and wireless networks. It is delivered to viewers via apps, screens large and small, and media players of all kinds. In this unfamiliar environment, new global giants of television distribution are emerging—including Netflix, the world’s largest subscription video-on-demand service. Combining media industry analysis with cultural theory, Ramon Lobato explores the political and policy tensions at the heart of the digital distribution revolution, tracing their longer history through our evolving understanding of media globalization. Netflix Nations considers the ways that subscription video-on-demand services, but most of all Netflix, have irrevocably changed the circulation of media content. It tells the story of how a global video portal interacts with national audiences, markets, and institutions, and what this means for how we understand global media in the internet age. Netflix Nations addresses a fundamental tension in the digital media landscape – the clash between the internet’s capacity for global distribution and the territorial nature of media trade, taste, and regulation. The book also explores the failures and frictions of video-on-demand as experienced by audiences. The actual experience of using video platforms is full of subtle reminders of market boundaries and exclusions: platforms are geo-blocked for out-of-region users (“this video is not available in your region”); catalogs shrink and expand from country to country; prices appear in different currencies; and subtitles and captions are not available in local languages. These conditions offer rich insight for understanding the actual geographies of digital media distribution. Contrary to popular belief, the story of Netflix is not just an American one. From Argentina to Australia, Netflix’s ascension from a Silicon Valley start-up to an international television service has transformed media consumption on a global scale. Netflix Nations will help readers make sense of a complex, ever-shifting streaming media environment.

Geoblocking and Global Video Culture

Edited by Ramon Lobato and James Meese 

Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2016. ISBN: 9789492302038

How do global audiences use streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix and iPlayer? How does the experience of digital video change according to location? What strategies do people use to access out-of-region content? What are the commercial and governmental motivations behind geoblocking? Geoblocking and Global Video Culture explores the cultural implications of access control and circumvention in an age of VPNs. Featuring seventeen chapters from diverse critical positions and locations – including China, Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, Cuba, Brazil, USA, Sweden and Australia. Contributors: Ramon Lobato, James Meese, Juan Llamas-Rodriguez, Cameran Ashraf, Marketa Trimble, Adam Rugg, Florian Hoof, Roland Burke, Jinying Li, Çiğdem Bozdağ, Chris Baumann, Aneta Podkalicka, Chris Baumann, Sandra Hanchard, Vanessa Mendes Moreira de Sa, Hadi Sohrabi, Fidel Alejandro Rodriguez, Evan Elkins

The Informal Media Economy

[Request full text]

By Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas

Polity, 2015. ISBN: 9780745670324

How are grey market imports changing media industries? What is the role of piracy in developing new markets for movies and TV shows? How do jailbroken iPhones drive innovation? The Informal Media Economy provides a vivid, original, and genuinely transnational account of contemporary media, by showing how the interactions between formal and informal media systems are a feature of all nations – rich and poor, large and small. Shifting the focus away from the formal businesses and public enterprises that have long occupied media researchers, this book charts a parallel world of cultural intermediaries driving global media production and circulation. It shows how unlicensed, untaxed, or unregulated networks, which operate across the boundaries of established media markets, have been a driving force of media industry transformation. The book opens up new insights on a range of topical issues in media studies, from the creative disruptions of digitisation to amateur production, piracy and cybercrime.

* Read the International Journal of Communication review

Amateur Media: Social, Cultural and Legal Perspectives

Edited by Dan Hunter, Ramon Lobato, Megan Richardson, Julian Thomas

Routledge, 2013. ISBN: 9780415709071

The rise of Web 2.0 has pushed the amateur to the forefront of public discourse, public policy and media scholarship. Typically non-salaried, non-specialist and untrained in media production, amateur producers are now seen as key drivers of the creative economy. But how do the activities of citizen journalists, fan fiction writers and bedroom musicians connect with longer traditions of extra-institutional media production? This edited collection provides a much-needed interdisciplinary contextualisation of amateur media before and after Web 2.0. Surveying the institutional, economic and legal construction of the amateur media producer via a series of case studies, it features contributions from experts in the fields of law, economics and media studies based in the UK, Europe and Singapore. Each section of the book contains a detailed case study on a selected topic, followed by two further pieces providing additional analysis and commentary. Using an extraordinary array of case studies and examples, from YouTube to online games, from subtitling communities to reality TV, the book is neither a celebration of amateur production nor a denunciation of the demise of professional media industries. Rather, this book presents a critical dialogue across law and the humanities, exploring the dynamic tensions and interdependencies between amateur and professional creative production. This book will appeal to both academics and students of intellectual property and media law, as well as to scholars and students of economics, media, cultural and internet studies.

Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution

By Ramon Lobato

British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2012. ISBN: 9781844574117

How do people access movies today? What are the most popular and powerful channels for media distribution on a global scale? How are film industries changing in the face of media convergence and digitisation? To answer questions such as these, argues Ramon Lobato, we must shift our gaze away from the legal film business and toward cinema's shadow economies. All around the world, films are bought from roadside stalls, local markets, and grocery stores; they are illegally downloaded and streamed; they are watched in makeshift video clubs, on street corners, and in restaurants, shops and bars. International film culture in its actually-existing forms is a messy affair, and it relies to a great extent on black and grey media markets. Examining the industrial dynamics of these subterranean film networks across a number of different sites – from Los Angeles to Lagos, Melbourne to Mexico City – this book shows how they constitute a central rather than marginal part of audiovisual culture and commerce. Combining film industry analysis with cultural theory, Shadow Economies of Cinema opens up a new area of inquiry for cinema studies, putting industry research into dialogue with wider debates about economic informality and commodity circulation. Written in an accessible style, this book offers an original 'bottom-up' perspective on the global cinema industry for researchers and students in film studies, cultural studies, and media and communications.

* Awarded the Limina Award for Best International Film Studies Book (2013) at Udine Film Forum  

bottom of page