9On the “Platformization” of the Culture and Communication Industries

This chapter continues my critical analyses of the extension of web and mobile platforms in – or “above” – extremely diverse fields of human activity, in particular towards a large number of areas historically located outside the field of culture and communication: sexual and romantic encounters, tourism and accommodation, engineering and manufacturing, transport, “personal services” or energy supply. This list is obviously not exhaustive.

A first question that can be asked is whether the multiplication of these actors is in itself a novelty, and it is probably necessary to recognize that the intermediation model is not fundamentally new. The importance of intermediation apparatuses can be illustrated with the development of Minitel in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Similarly, the intermediation model (and multifaceted markets) was undoubtedly already at work with television and broadcasting in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly with the launch of the first private channels and the increase in their interdependence with the advertising industry. These are well-documented elements in the political economy of culture and communication, which Bernard Miège (2017) summarizes very well. If the emergence of the web continues and reinforces this trend, my purpose is not to retrace this historical evolution.

This chapter merely presents three points, which are also research hypotheses that I submitted to the participants ...

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