Technological developments (e.g. the rise of digital and online TV platforms) and policy measures (e.g. liberalization) have changed the power structures in the audiovisual media landscape, especially the relationships between TV broadcasters and distributors. In the last decades, audiovisual distribution has evolved from a local utility to a global business, and has driven the ongoing mutation of the media industries. Despite its important role, TV distribution has hardly been investigated by media researchers (as most attention goes to TV production and reception). The project therefore focuses on the changing political economy of TV distribution and seeks to unravel the (changing) power relationships with TV broadcasters. Since power relationships in TV markets often depend on the political and economic context, it is important to identify those contextual ‘power parameters’ that determine the power relationship. By means of a comparative case study approach, combining in-depth expert interviews and document analysis, the political
and economic context of TV distribution across four European countries will be compared, and the respective importance of the different power parameters will be assessed. Due to its topicality, the research is of high importance for researchers, policymakers and media practitioners.