PhD Courses in Denmark

Transnational Video-on-Demand Cultures

Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University


The growth and global expansion of video-on-demand platforms has fundamentally transformed the production, storytelling, distribution, reception and regulation of audiovisual content. This PhD course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective on these transformations of the audiovisual industry, its products and audiences engagement, asking how exactly we can research the changes that happened over the past decade.

Netflix and Amazon account for two thirds of subscribers in the European Union, but there are in fact over 700 other video-on-demand services in the EU alone and many more across the globe. So, how can we describe and compare these manifold business models, value chains and niches? New players on the market and their demand for exclusive and innovative content has increased competition over talent and changed relationships within the global value chains of content production and distribution. So, how can we trace these shifting dynamics and reflect on what they mean for ‘legacy media’ and local audiovisual industries? 

Aesthetics and narratives of ‘original’ streaming productions are marketed to be not only different from but better than what we found on television and in the cinemas, exploiting serialisation and genre-hybridity in new ways. But how can we look past the promotional narratives of VoD originals and determine their contribution to audiovisual culture and societal debate? Streaming viewers navigate between plethora of content, para-texts and media cultures, they scroll, they ‘binge’ and they engage online. But how exactly can we make their experiences visible and determine how they differ from audiences raised in the broadcast eras?

The course is offered by the Graduate School of Aarhus University’s Arts Faculty and runs as a collaboration between the Centre for Transnational Media Research (Aarhus University) and the initiative for Transnational Research (Filmuniversität Babelsberg). 

The lectures, readings and group activities are led by renown international scholars.
- Prof. Susanne Eichner (Film University Babelsberg)
- Reader Janet McCabe (Birbeck, University of London)
- Associate Prof. Tim Raats (VUB Brussels)
- Associate Prof. Vilde Schanke Sundet (Oslo University)
- Assistant Prof. Cathrin Bengesser (Aarhus University)
- Associate Prof. Pia Majbritt Jensen (Aarhus University)

This course addresses the theoretical, empirical and methodological challenges posed by transnational video-on-demand cultures. It covers the fields of
- Production studies, with a focus on commissioning and co-production practices of VoD platforms
- Audience studies, with a focus on innovative methods for studying young audiences
- Textual analysis, with a focus on genre, representation, diversity and (trans-)national culture
- Media economy, with a focus on local media industries’ position in the global market
- Policy research, with a focus on European reactions to the dominance of US-based services

The course is taking place in an online-only format. The course targets PhD students and early career researchers in the fields of media studies, communication and cultural studies. The course is open to international participants. Participation in the course is free of charge. Participants are expected to engage in ca. 35h of preparatory activities and documentation of the course, which will be rewarded with 3 ECTS.


The course will enable participants to develop their
- understanding of how the aesthetic product intersects with the industrial processes of production, distribution and reception in media cultures
- critical reflection on discourses of disruption and change 
- skills in researching media industries through the use of interviews, data and document analysis
- skills in the analysis of audiovisual texts
- skills in qualitative audience research within transnational contexts 
- professional profiles as researchers
- academic network among peers


Literature will be distributed to the participants via Sharepoint ahead of the course.

Target group:

Open for PhD candidates at all levels (media studies, communication studies, cultural studies, social sciences or related disciplines) who study aspects of production, distribution, aesthetics, policy or audiences of video-on-demand and television with a transnational perspective. We also invite Post-Docs and fellow faculty researchers!


Lectures, group work, workshop



Application deadline:

Please sign in via this link no later than 15 April 2022.

After completing the sign-up above, please send a one-page abstract of your thesis to Your abstract should include the current working title of your thesis, your affiliation and mention how far you are along in your PhD.

Should there be more registrations for this course than we can accommodate, we will select those applicants to whom the course is most relevant based on their abstracts. You will be notified about your participation by 20 April 2022.