Ramon Lobato is an Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the RMIT School of Media and Communication.
Ramon Lobato is a scholar of media and cultural industries. He has a special interest in video services, streaming, and piracy. The analytical focus of his research is on distribution networks, and how they structure audience access, discovery, and content diversity.
Ramon's first book, Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (British Film Institute, 2012), won the Limina Prize for best international film studies book at the Udine Film Forum. His second book, The Informal Media Economy (Polity, 2015, with Julian Thomas), developed an original approach to media industry analysis, using theories of economic informality to explain how media systems evolve.
Ramon’s current research investigates the impacts of digital video distribution. With an international team of collaborators, Ramon published the open-access edited collection Geoblocking and Global Video Culture (Institute of Network Cultures, 2016), a comparative study of streaming and circumvention practices. His most recent book is Netflix Nations: The Geography of Digital Distribution (New York University Press, 2019), which locates the rise of subscription video-on-demand services within the history of transnational television. An open-access version of Netflix Nations is available at http://opensquare.nyupress.org/. With his colleague Alexa Scarlata, Ramon has been tracking local content levels in Australian streaming services since 2017 to inform public debate and decision-making.
Ramon has published more than 50 book chapters, journal articles and reports on related topics and technologies. He was a contributor to the 2013 UNESCO Creative Economy report. His work has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Polish and Slovenian.
With Amanda Lotz, Ramon is co-founder of the Global Internet TV Consortium, a research network exploring the impact of multi-territory streaming services on national markets. He currently leads the Australian Research Council Discovery Project Internet Distributed Television: Cultural, Industrial and Policy Dynamics (2019-2022) with Prof Lotz and Prof Stuart Cunningham (QUT). In 2020 he will take up an ARC Future Fellowship (2020-2023) investigating the cultural impacts of smart TVs in Australia.
Ramon is Chair of the International Communication Association's Media Industry Studies interest group and serves on the editorial boards of journals including Media Industries, International Journal of Cultural Studies and Journal of Digital Media and Policy. With Joshua Braun, he co-edits the new MIT Press book series Distribution Matters.
- International Communication Association Popular Communication Division – Outstanding Young Scholar award (2016)
- Dean's Award for Outstanding Research, Swinburne University (2015)
- Faculty ECR Award for Research Excellence, Swinburne University (2014)
- Udine Film Forum - Best International Film Studies book prize (2013)
- Five funded ARC projects since 2011 (ARC APD, DECRA, DP, Linkage, Future Fellowship)
- BA Hons, University of Melbourne, 2006
- PhD (Cultural Studies), University of Melbourne, 2010
- Grad Cert in Learning and Teaching, Swinburne University of Technology, 2013
Ramon joined RMIT in 2017 after seven years at the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University. During his time he worked on a range of projects in the area of media, technology and policy. He also taught into Swinburne's Cinema and Screen studies programme, coordinating the units Cinema Studies and Global Screen Studies.
While at Swinburne, Ramon developed an interdisciplinary seminar programme in research methods for postgraduate students in the School of Arts, Social Science and Humanities. He maintains an interest in postgrad research training.
Before becoming a researcher, Ramon worked as a music journalist and editor.
- Lobato, R.,Scarlata, A. (2022). Regulating Discoverability in Subscription Video-On-Demand Platforms In: Digital Platform Regulation, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, Cham, Switzerland
- Scarlata, A.,Lobato, R.,Cunningham, S. (2021). Producing Local Content in International Waters: The Case of Netflix’s Tidelands In: Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 35, 137 - 150
- Lobato, R.,Thomas, J. (2021). The media geographies of Tom O’Regan In: Media International Australia, 180, 42 - 46
- Lobato, R.,Lotz, A. (2021). Beyond Streaming Wars: Rethinking Competition in Video Services In: Media Industries, 8, 89 - 108
- Lobato, R. (2021). Free, bundled or personalized? Rethinking price and value in digital distribution In: Digital Media Distribution, NYU Press, New York
- Lobato, R. (2021). Informality and Indeterminacy in Media Industries Research In: The Routledge Companion to Media Industries, Taylor & Francis, United Kingdom
- Lobato, R. (2021). The video years: Stuart Cunningham and screen industry research In: Media International Australia, 182, 54 - 58
- Lobato, R. (2020). Evolving Practices of Informal Distribution in Internet Television In: Routledge Companion to Global Television, Routledge, United Kingdom
- Lobato, R.,Thomas, J. (2020). Formats and Formalization in Internet Advertising In: Format Matters: Standards, Practices, and Politics in Media Cultures, Meson Press, Lüneburg, Germany
- Lobato, R. (2020). On the boundaries of digital markets In: Digital Peripheries: The Online Circulation of Audiovisual Content from the Small Market PerspectiveDigital Peripheries: The Online Circulation of Audiovisual Content from the Small Market Perspective, Springer, Berlin
3 PhD Completions6 PhD Current Supervisions
- Australian television in the smart TV ecosystem. Funded by: ARC Future Fellowships 2018 onwards from (2020 to 2025)
- Internet-Distributed Television: Cultural, Industrial and Policy Dynamics. Funded by: ARC Discovery Projects 2019 from (2019 to 2022)
- Music Usage Metrics and the Future of the Australian Music Industry (Administered by QUT). Funded by: ARC Linkage Projects via Other University 2015 from (2017 to 2019)
- Geoblocking, circumvention and the organisation of digital media markets. Funded by: ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2015 from (2015 to 2018)