Digitization, globalization, and deregulation have contributed to media systems undergoing a period of profound change, which alters production, distribution and consumption of media content.
The project's goal has been to provide knowledge about the consequences of such disruptive changes, and analyze the implications of these changes to meet media policy goals of an open and informed public discourse, and a correspondingly informed understanding among the public.
The project has combined longitudinal studies of media use and media policy with field studies of the current Norwegian media sector. This combined approach enables us to analyze the effect of media policy in detail, as it has occurred both on the field level and the individual level, and to provide historically embedded knowledge that shed light on contemporary challenges.
We have analyzed how digitalization and globalization have affected diversity and quality through field studies of the Norwegian media sector, which has included both new and traditional players. This has been combined with analyzes of individual media use in Norway over a 20-year period. To study the relationship between high choice media systems and political knowledge, the project has used comparative data from 18 established democracies over the same two decades.
The project has provided a much-needed empirical description of how digitalization and globalization affect today's media systems at both field, organizational and individual level. The empirical results contribute to raising fundamental questions about the potential for public media policy in a situation with an exponentially increase in news content, and the field has opened up to a number of new players. The results indicate that increasing media choice in terms of platforms and content have only resulted in incremental increase in numbers of news avoiders in Norway. Still, those with low education tend to avoid news to a greater extent today than in previous decades. Comparing political knowledge over time is difficult, but comprehensive analyzes point in the direction that there is no greater inequality in political knowledge in established democracies over time. Nevertheless, the results indicate that those who largely use social media to consume news have less knowledge of current societal issues. The analyzes further show that a systematic and holistic approach is useful for understanding policy formulation and media policy processes. In particular, it appears important to identify the frameworks dominating the media field, the strategies and opportunities of established actors and challengers, as well as under what conditions so-called «policy windows » occur, ie situations where new media policy solutions can be established. The results also show that the established mass media institutions in Norway have managed to maintain their position as the most important premise providers of such frameworks of understanding, even though their position otherwise faces stiff competition from global, digital companies.
Prosjektet har bidratt til å utvikle kompetanse når det gjelder måling av mediebruk og politisk kunnskap. Prosjektets studier og analyser er godt integrert i internasjonale forskningsfelt, og prosjektets resultater har direkte betydning for disse. Tilnærmingen vi har utviklet for å forstå politikkdannelse på mediefeltet, den historiske studien av debatten om digitaliseringens konsekvenser og mulige politiske løsninger bidrar til å gi perspektiver på hva digitalisering er og har vært i ulike faser, og hvordan definisjoner av problemer og forslag til løsninger henger sammen. Den komparative analysen av allmennkringkasting i Norge og Storbritannia bidrar til å kontekstualisere norske debatter og politiske prosesser med tilsvarende prosesser og debatter i andre land. Den longitudinelle studien av nyhetsbruk forteller at folk ikke velger bort nyheter, men at nyhetsbruken likevel har endret seg dramatisk, noe som er sentralt for framtidig programutvikling og politikkutvikling.
The project combines a longitudinal perspective on media consumption and media policy development, with contemporary institutional field studies focusing on the interplay between key actors. This combined approach enables us to consider the effect of media policy in detail, as it has occurred both on the field level and the individual level, and to provide historically embedded knowledge that can shed light on contemporary challenges. Field analyses of the Norwegian media industry taken in the broad sense, including new, emerging actors, such as digital intermediaries, as well as established key players will allow us to analyze the impact of digitalization in relation to external and internal diversity, as well as quality. This is combined with the analysis of a unique and complex data set on individual news consumption that includes information on sources/platforms used as well as content, and how this has developed in different user groups over the past two decades, i.e. the development in exposure diversity at the individual level. Finally we make use of a large, comparative data set that enables the study of the development of political knowledge within different national media systems over time to probe the link between source diversity in a given system and an enlightened, politically knowledgeable population.
Ultimately, our design allows us both to provide most-needed empirical descriptions of current developments in media systems linked to digitalization and globalization, and to ask fundamental questions about the potential space for public media policies in an era of exponential increase in news offers, and in a situation where the policy field has been opened up to a range of new actors.