FullSizeRender.jpg

Amanda D. Lotz, PhD

Professor
University of Michigan, Departments of Communication Studies and Screen Arts and Culture

Fellow
Peabody Media Center

Amanda Lotz is a media scholar, professor, and industry consultant. Her expertise includes media industries, the future of television, the business of media, net neutrality, and digital distribution.

A quick look at how U.S. television is changing and the future of television from The Television Will Be Revolutionized.

Coming in January

Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television

Is Netflix television?

Television audiences and its industry alike have been confused by the emergence of new ways to watch television. On one hand, the programs seem every bit like the television we’ve long known, while the way we can watch, what we can watch, and the business models supporting them differ significantly.

Portals: A Treatise on Internet-Distributed Television pushes understandings of the business of television to keep pace with the considerable technological change of the last decade. It explains why shows such as Orange is the New Black or Transparent are indeed television despite coming to screens over internet connection and in exchange for a monthly fee. It explores how internet-distributed television is able to do new things – particularly allow different people to watch different shows chosen from a library of possibilities. This technological ability consequently allows new audience behaviors and new norms in making television.

Portals are the “channels” of internet-distributed television, and Portals identifies how the task of curating a library of shows differs from channels’ task of building a schedule. It explores the business model—subscriber funding—that supports many portals, and identifies the key differences from advertiser or direct purchase that require development of a model of subscriber-funded media. Portals considers what we know about the future of television, even though we remain early in a process of transformative change.

New Work--In Progress

Being Wired: How Cable Transformed U.S. Television and the Internet Revolutionized It All

My current project pieces together the twenty-year transformation of U.S television. The story begins in 1996 and, contrary to what many thought at the time, is not a story of death, but of the collision of new technologies, changing business strategies, and unprecedented storytelling.

Being Wired explores U.S. television’s transition through two extraordinary disruptions. First, the success of original, scripted cable series transformed long held norms of television storytelling, perceptions of what U.S. commercial television could be, and several of the established practices for making television. As the book begins in 1996, advertiser-supported cable channels have to beg talent to produce series for their channels. Within a few short years, the dynamic is reversed, and cable becomes the epicenter of television’s new identity as a sophisticated and interesting cultural form. Chapters in Sections One and Two use milestone series including La Femme Nikita, OZ, The Shield, Monk, and Mad Men to tell the story of changing business practices in the industry.

But before the new norms of a broadcast/cable television landscape could be established, the emergence of broadband distribution of video threatened nearly every aspect of the television business, while also tremendously improving the experience of watching television. Broadband distribution not only brought additional program providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu into an already abundantly competitive space, but also finally forced adjustment of business models that were barely holding together. The cable service industry that was largely forgotten during the flurry of attention to cable channels and their distinctive and innovative programming revealed that it had transitioned into the internet service industry. By the time anyone realized that the future of television—broadcast or cable—was intricately tied to the internet, the cable industry had established an incredible advantage in incumbency.

In addition to the many technological changes broadband distribution introduced to television, Section Three uses series such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and House of Cards to explore how the business of making television changed as cable channels created their own studios and expanded internationally.

By 2015—the year that became the tipping point from the television of the broadcast and cable era to the beginning of the post-network era of broadband distribution—new indications of the future of television emerged by the week. Legacy industry competitors launched broadband-distributed services such as HBO Now and CBS All Access to chart a path into the new era. With appetites whetted by increasingly prevalent streaming and on-demand services, viewers’ desire to self-determine viewing practices assaulted industry norms such as channel bundles, the linear television schedule, advertising, and even the notion of the channel. Contrary to many predictions, broadband distribution didn’t come to kill television, but to revolutionize how it reaches viewers.

Listen here for the audio from a recent talk--the first public try-out of the second third of this new project.

Upcoming Talks and
Presentations

Intersections of Whiteness Conference, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany -- Keynote Address, Watching White Men on TV: Intersectionality in Fictional Media, January 11-13, 2017

January 16, 2017 Utrecht University

January 17, 2017 University of Amsterdam

January 18, 2017 Kings College, London

January 19, 2017 CAMRI Research Seminar, University of Westminster, London

January 31, 2017 University of Rome La Sapienza

February 7-8, 2017 University of Copenhagen

February 9-10, University of Aarhus

April 20-21, 2017 Researching Media Companies Producing Audiovisual Content Conference, Lillehammer University

 

News and Media

Discussed Netflix' announcement that it would allow downloading of some content.

Discussed Netflix' announcement that it would allow downloading of some content.

Talked with Julie Rose about how recent Twittercasts might suggest the future of live TV.

Talked with Julie Rose about how recent Twittercasts might suggest the future of live TV.

Talked with Scott Tong about the challenges facing Viacom now that leadership drama has been resolved.

Talked with Scott Tong about the challenges facing Viacom now that leadership drama has been resolved.

Enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with Mediaweek (Australia) editor Dan Barrett about trends in the US television industry

Enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with Mediaweek (Australia) editor Dan Barrett about trends in the US television industry

Would the economics of televising Olympics held in multiple cities work? Talked with Megan Greenwell about this idea.

Would the economics of televising Olympics held in multiple cities work? Talked with Megan Greenwell about this idea.

Talked with Matt Townsend on BYU Radio about the future of television and Netflix' place in it.

Talked with Matt Townsend on BYU Radio about the future of television and Netflix' place in it.

When the Netflix Effect emerged with Breaking Bad, who would have guessed it would also provide a second life to Grey's Anatomy.

When the Netflix Effect emerged with Breaking Bad, who would have guessed it would also provide a second life to Grey's Anatomy.

The Telecomm Act of 1996 is 20 years old! Talked about its consequences and legacy with Cynthia Canty and Dick Kernen.

The Telecomm Act of 1996 is 20 years old! Talked about its consequences and legacy with Cynthia Canty and Dick Kernen.

Some thoughts on news that Amazon adds a monthly option for Prime Video. In a nutshell, not the threat to Netflix most coverage suggests.

Some thoughts on news that Amazon adds a monthly option for Prime Video. In a nutshell, not the threat to Netflix most coverage suggests.

A conversation with Urban Information Network's talk show 7 Days about how television is changing. The existence of this show and network illustrates the opportunities.

A conversation with Urban Information Network's talk show 7 Days about how television is changing. The existence of this show and network illustrates the opportunities.

A helpful catalog of the many and varied ways of accessing TV circa 2016. Though the authors advocate cord cutting, I note consequences of shifting internet pricing such as efforts to move to usage-based billing.

A helpful catalog of the many and varied ways of accessing TV circa 2016. Though the authors advocate cord cutting, I note consequences of shifting internet pricing such as efforts to move to usage-based billing.

Talked the return of sponsored content with Adriene Hill.

Talked the return of sponsored content with Adriene Hill.

Discussed the challenges facing the Oscar telecast with Broadcasting & Cable's Mike Malone

Discussed the challenges facing the Oscar telecast with Broadcasting & Cable's Mike Malone

Listen here to Nora Young and I discuss the changing landscape of media entertainment.

Listen here to Nora Young and I discuss the changing landscape of media entertainment.

Shared some thoughts on the strategy behind HBO's Sesame Street acquisition.

Shared some thoughts on the strategy behind HBO's Sesame Street acquisition.

Thoughts on AT&T's unlimited data offer for DirecTV subscribers.

Thoughts on AT&T's unlimited data offer for DirecTV subscribers.

Discussing how changes in U.S. television industry has affected coverage of issues such as abortion.

Discussing how changes in U.S. television industry has affected coverage of issues such as abortion.

Discussing the historical and cultural resonance of television with BBC Radio.

Discussing the historical and cultural resonance of television with BBC Radio.

Thoughts on whether daytime television objectifies men.

Thoughts on whether daytime television objectifies men.

An interview with Michigan Radio’s Stateside program discussing the pending FCC vote on Net Neutrality.

An interview with Michigan Radio’s Stateside program discussing the pending FCC vote on Net Neutrality.

Thoughts on how binge-viewing opportunities have diminished the role of traditional programming schedules and linear viewing.

Thoughts on how binge-viewing opportunities have diminished the role of traditional programming schedules and linear viewing.

Discussion on HuffPostLive on the objectification of men on television.

Discussion on HuffPostLive on the objectification of men on television.

Some perspective on the "renaissance" of strong women on television.

Some perspective on the "renaissance" of strong women on television.

Lotz, Amanda.jpg

Bio/Academic CV

Download CV

Amanda D. Lotz is a professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan and fellow at the Peabody Media Center. She earned a Ph.D. in Radio-Television-Film and certificate in women’s studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000, and completed a two-year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Television Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on U.S. television, specifically the industrial shifts since the end of the network era and on representations of gender on television and in the media.

A revised, second edition of her CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award-winning book,The Television Will Be Revolutionized was published in late 2014. The Television Will Be Revolutionized explores television’s industrial changes from the mid 1980s through 2014 and how those changes adjust television’s role as a cultural institution. She also published Cable Guys: Television and American in 2014, which examines the negotiation of masculinities across a range of television programming in the early 2000s.

Amanda also published two co-authored books, Understanding Media Industries (Oxford University Press, 2012, second revised edition January 2016) with Timothy Havens, an introduction to key areas central to the analysis of media industries, and Television Studies: A Short Introduction (Polity, 2011), with Jonathan Gray, an overview of the intellectual development of television studies. She edited the collection Beyond Prime-Time: Television After the Network Era (Routledge, 2009), which brings together established television scholars writing new chapters in their areas of expertise that reconsider how programming forms other than prime-time series (such as sports, news, soap operas, and made-for-television movies, among others) have been affected by the wide-ranging industrial changes instituted over the past twenty years.

Amanda also continues to explore representations and discourses related to gender and feminism in the media, as she did in her first book, Redesigning Women: Television after the Network Era (University of Illinois Press, 2006), which explores the rise of female-centered dramas and cable networks targeted toward women in the late 1990s as they relate to changes in the U.S. television industry. She has published articles in: Critical Studies in Media Communication; Communication, Culture, Critique; Feminist Media Studies; Media, Culture and Society; Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture; Communication Theory; Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media; Television & New Media; Screen; Journal of Popular Film and Television; and Women and Language. Her work also appears in edited collections including: How to Watch TV, edited by Jason Mittell and Ethan Thompson (New York University Press, 2013); Making Media Work: Cultures of Management in the Entertainment Industries, edited by Derek Johnson, Derek Kompare, and Avi Santo (New York University Press, 2014); Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries, edited by Vicki Mayer, Miranda Banks, and John Caldwell (Routledge, 2009); Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting, edited by Sarah Banet-Weiser, Cynthia Chris and Anthony Freitas (New York University Press, 2006); NBC: America’s Network, edited by Michele Hilmes(University of California Press); The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed, edited by Mary M. Dalton and Laura R. Linder (SUNY Press, 2005); Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers, edited by Rebecca Ann Lind (Allyn & Bacon, 2003); A Handbook of Media Research Methodology (with Horace Newcomb), edited by Klaus Bruhn Jensen (Routledge, 2011, 2002); and she contributed the entries on Ally McBeal, Darren Star, Lifetime Television, Sex and the City, and Women’s Entertainment Television to the Encyclopedia of Television, 2nd ed., edited by Horace Newcomb (Routledge, 2004).

Amanda’s honors include a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship, membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and receipt of the Harold E. Fellows Scholarship from the Broadcasting Education Association in 1994 for study and work in broadcasting. She was named Coltrin Professor of the Year by the International Radio and Television Society in 2004 for her case study exploring the redefinition of television. She is a past chair of the Television Studies Interest Group for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies and served as book review editor for Cinema Journal. She serves on the editorial boards of Popular Communication: International Journal of Media and Culture, Media Industries Journal, Cinema Journal, and Feminist Media Histories. Her regular teaching assignments include: Understanding Media Industries; Critical Issues in Television: Post-Network Era; Gender and Media; History of Broadcasting and Television; Feminist Media Studies/Gender and Media (Grad); Analyzing Media Industries (Grad).

She lives in Ann Arbor. Her joys include her husband, two children, swimming with the masters swim team, baked goods, and summer in Michigan.

 

Published Elsewhere

Why TCA Executive Sessions Aren't Optional

Dec 02, 2016 Using a public good imposes responsibilities on broadcast networks. Facing the questions of the industry's journalists is one of them. 

What Twitter's Streaming Experiment Means for the Future of Live TV

October 4, 2016 Live events like sports seemed immune to streaming services' assault on traditional broadcast TV. Now that might change.

Appeals Court Upholds Net Neutrality Rules – Why You Should Care

June 16, 2016 A review of how and why net neutrality are important and what this legal test tells us about the future of the internet in the U.S.

What CBS All Access Reveals about the Future of Television

June 3, 2016 As a pioneering "studio portal" CBS illustrates how increased vertical integration may be a crucial strategy for portals and how different the task of curating a library may be from building a schedule.


Poised to Make Its Next Big Move, Netflix Isn’t In the Business You Think It’s In

May 2, 2016   As Netflix braces itself to disrupt the model of global television distribution, the company appears poised to remain influential – though, again, in unexpected ways.


How OTT Hides Television's Revolution

March 2016The persistent discussion of "OTT" as a separate category of television obscures the more profound implications of what has actually transpired--the emergence of a new mechanism for distributing television.


Why 2015 Was the Year that Changed TV Forever

A look at big shifts in U.S. television distribution in 2015.


Original or Exclusive? Shifts in Television Financing and Distribution Shift Meanings

Tim Havens and I consider the dilemmas created by new distribution practices and argue the importance of precision in terming shows "original" versus exclusive regardless of how they are marketed.


Congress Should Legislate Open Internet

An outdated regulatory regime cannot respond to the complicated intersection of technologies, delivery services, and content providers now the norm. The next wave of innovation will require a bold act from Congressional leadership showcasing America’s commitment to an Open Internet.


Three Digital Americas

Perhaps the surprise over this year's FCC actions can be explained by the fact that regulators and executives live in a different digital America than most of the country. Is high-speed internet access and competition for everyone, or just those who live in the enclaves media executives and regulators happen to live in?

 


How Profitable Was AMC’s Mad Men?

Far more profound than what has happened to Don Draper in the last eight years is what has happened to AMC. The channel moved from obscurity to a channel that would be missed if a cable system dropped it. Though Mad Men’s story was about advertising, AMC’s strategy for the show was not.


Medium.png

How Television’s Funding Model Traps It In the Past

Despite the constant flurry of news about “skinny” bundles and “over-the-top” (OTT) viewing, there is one very big reason to expect that the arrival of the “future of television” remains years off.


Fresh Off the Boat and the Rise of Niche TV

The new ABC family comedy Fresh Off the Boat is being hailed for returning, at last, an Asian-American family to US television – the first since 1994’s short-lived comedy All-American Girl. When looking at Fresh Off the Boat and All-American Girl – and analyzing their respective fates – it’s important to consider the extraordinary transformation of US television in the intervening decades. The changes – part of a shift toward more targeted programming – are so pronounced that it’s fair to ask whether today’s TV shows can even be compared to those of 1995.


Channel Bundles Persist--For Now--Despite Digital Disruption

There may be no more irksome issue for contemporary media consumers than the persistence of the “cable bundle” — the requirement to buy access to cable channels in large, provider-determined packages. This article explains why the bundle persists as well as some reasons to think its days as the dominant form of programming transaction may be numbered.


The End of "This Year's Best in Television"

The increasing anachronism of yearly “best of” television lists is clear. What were the best things I watched in 2014? The final season of Breaking BadLouieThe AffairTrue Detective; select episodes of HomelandGame of Thrones, and Sons of Anarchy; but also the first and second season of House of Cards—though season one was a product of 2013—and iTV’s Broadchurch, also of 2013.


Modern Family's Modern Fathers

21st century television fathers reveal the complexity of modern fatherhood.


Binging Isn't Quite the Word

I’ve been searching for a word to capture my new viewing habit. Though “binging” and the somewhat less pathologized “marathoning” have emerged to describe the behavior of consuming many episodes of a series in rapid succession, contemporary control and distribution technologies also allow a distinct, but not so rapid form of consumption.


Don Draper’s Sad Manhood: What Makes Mad Men Different from Breaking Bad, Sopranos

Modern men aren’t allowed the narcissism of Mad Men — but Don Draper’s not exactly a ’60s guy, either

Teaching

Comm 251: Understanding Media Industries

Understanding Media Industries guides students through an introductory exploration of the complex and rapidly evolving media industries in the U.S. The course examines the influence of media industry organization and practices on society at the same time that it offers students pursuing both scholarly and professional careers related to the media industries a comprehensive overview of how the industries work, why they work as they do, and the broader theoretical and practical implications of the media industries. Questions such as “why is media industry organization important?” “how do we make sense of media industry changes?” and “what are the key issues facing media industries?” animate our analysis. Here we understand the business of media as a component of its status as culture. Students should leave the course with expanded knowledge of the inner-workings of the media industries to which they will subscribe and consume from throughout their lives.

Comm 426: Gender and Media

In this class we will critically examine and evaluate the cultural construction and representation of gender and sexuality in contemporary American mass media and trace their development in the 21st century. We will focus on a variety of mass-produced commercial media texts, particularly surveying magazines, advertising, talk shows, news, and romance narratives. Although gender is the primary identity construction examined in this course, we will also pay close attention to other aspects of identity that define American women and men, such as ethnicity, class, and sexuality. We will investigate representational issues in relation to their political repercussions and draw from a broad range of academic literature, including feminist television criticism, film theory, cultural studies, and communication theory.

Comm 822: Feminist Media Studies

This course provides graduate students with an introduction to key debates and ideas and various critical and cultural approaches to feminist studies of gender and media, including textual, institutional, and audience methodologies. Our primary objective will be to establish a foundational basis necessary for considering the relationship between sex, gender, feminism, and media in the United States. The course will begin with a survey of reading drawn from communication, cultural studies, and television and film theory in order to establish the discrepant approaches to the study of gender and feminism in these various media traditions. This course is intended to provide students with an initial set of tools that they might apply to particular media and topics of interest; it also attends closely to matters of methodology.

Comm 827: Analyzing Media Industries

This class provides an overview of the methods and theories supporting the critical study of media industries through a survey of cultural studies, political economy, sociology, and film studies literature. We also examine case studies drawn from these traditions. The course offers a theoretical foundation in the key ideas that have driven the study of media industries, a methodological foundation in the central methods used, and a consideration of current debates in the field.

Academic Publications

A list of journal publications and book chapters can be found on my University site.

Recent Publications

Lotz, A. D. (2016) “The Paradigmatic Evolution of U.S. Television and the Emergence of Internet-Distributed Television” Icono 14 Journal of Communication and Emergent Technologies, volume 14 (2), pp. 122-142. doi: 10.7195/ri14.v14i1.993

 Abstract: Television industries around the world have weathered profound change as technologies advanced and services developed to allow internet-distributed television to compete alongside broadcast and cable-distributed television. This article, drawn from the context of the U.S., explores the emergence of internet-distributed television as a mechanism that provides the affordance of nonlinear distribution. It assesses the preliminary organization of internet-distributed television by portals and explores the similarities and differences between portals and networks/channels with an eye toward conceptualizing emerging business practices and strategies.

Key Words: Television - Internet-distributed - Netflix - Subscriber-funded - Portals - Affordance - Nonlinear

Contact

 

University Business

lotz@umich.edu

Consulting and Speaking Inquiries

drtvlotz@gmail.com

 

Mailing address

North Quad #5445
105 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Office: 734.615.4036

@DrTVLotz

 

 

 


Detail 2

The following is placeholder text known as “lorem ipsum,” which is scrambled Latin used by designers to mimic real copy. Quisque congue porttitor ullamcorper. Vivamus a ante congue, porta nunc nec, hendrerit turpis.

Nullam sit amet nisi condimentum erat iaculis auctor. Nullam sit amet nisi condimentum erat iaculis auctor. Vivamus a ante congue, porta nunc nec, hendrerit turpis. Donec eget risus diam. Fusce at massa nec sapien auctor gravida in in tellus.


Detail 3

The following is placeholder text known as “lorem ipsum,” which is scrambled Latin used by designers to mimic real copy. Vivamus a ante congue, porta nunc nec, hendrerit turpis. Aliquam bibendum, turpis eu mattis iaculis, ex lorem mollis sem, ut sollicitudin risus orci quis tellus. Maecenas non leo laoreet, condimentum lorem nec, vulputate massa. Aenean eu justo sed elit dignissim aliquam.

Suspendisse nec congue purus. Donec eget risus diam. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse nec congue purus. Integer tempus, elit in laoreet posuere, lectus neque blandit dui, et placerat urna diam mattis orci.