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Standing on the shoulders of tech giants: Media delivery, streaming television, and the rise of global suppliers

Chalaby, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-8250-0361 & Plunkett, S. (2020). Standing on the shoulders of tech giants: Media delivery, streaming television, and the rise of global suppliers. New Media and Society, 23(11), pp. 3206-3228. doi: 10.1177/1461444820946681


This article uses the case study of Internet Protocol (IP) delivery for streaming television to demonstrate how technology and globalization combine to change what media firms do, how they create value, and with whom. Media delivery - the sum of the value-adding tasks necessary to transfer content from source to audience - has become a mosaic of technologies that sustain a complex and fast-evolving video ecosystem. Broadcasters had been in charge of the full transmission process once, of tasks deemed core to their business. Today, media delivery is externalized to the market and devolved to a network of suppliers. These suppliers are no ordinary firms, but tech giants that have developed deep global capabilities. They gain further leverage by being cross-sectoral, serving clients across multiple industries. Who are these suppliers? What makes them unique? And what are the implications for the television industry?

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: cloud computing, content delivery networks (CDNs), global suppliers, global value chain (GVC) analysis, media globalization, media industries, media infrastructure, outsourcing, streaming television, tech giants
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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