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. The analytical focus of his research is on digital distribution networks, and how they structure audience access, discovery, and content diversity. Ramon has published widely within film and television studies, digital media studies, media industry studies, and cultural policy studies.
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. Since 2020 Ramon has led an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2020-2024) project investigating the cultural impacts of smart TVs in Australia. A report from this project is available on the APO website.
His most recent books include 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, and the anthology Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders (New York University Press, 2023, co-edited with Prof Amanda Lotz), which examines streaming original production across fifteen countries.
In addition, Ramon is the author of more than 50 book chapters and journal articles, and was a contributor to the 2013 UNESCO Creative Economy report. His work has been translated into Korean, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Slovenian.
Ramon has led several transnational research projects on video culture. With Amanda Lotz, Ramon co-founded the Global Internet TV Consortium, a research network exploring the impact of multi-territory streaming services on national markets. In 2016, he worked with Dr James Meese and an international team of collaborators to publish the open-access edited collection Geoblocking and Global Video Culture (Institute of Network Cultures, 2016), a comparative study of video streaming and circumvention practices. Between 2019 and 2022 Ramon led the ARC Discovery project Internet-Distributed Television: Cultural, Industrial and Policy Dynamics with Prof Lotz and Stuart Cunningham, culminating in the publication of the Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders.
Cultural policy is another focus area for Ramon’s research. With his colleague Dr Alexa Scarlata, Ramon has been tracking the local content performance of streaming services and connected-TV devices since 2017 to inform public decision-making in Australia. Their work includes submissions to government inquiries and analyses of local content policy in the context of digital platformization.
Ramon is a former Chair of the International Communication Association's Media Industry Studies Interest Group. He currently serves on the editorial board of International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of Digital Media and Policy, and Media Industries.
With Joshua Braun, Ramon co-edits the MIT Press book series Distribution Matters, which is dedicated to publishing innovative scholarship on media distribution and its social and cultural impact. The series welcomes submissions from across the fields of media studies, communication history, anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, internet studies, and cultural studies.
Ramon is available to supervise PhD projects on media industries, technologies and audiences for students with a background in media studies, communication studies, film studies, television studies, cultural studies, Internet studies, and related fields. Prospective applicants are welcome to get in touch to discuss their research.
- RMIT Award for Research Excellence – Technology, Communication and Policy lab (2020)
- 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.,Douglas, J.,Scarlata, A.,Cunningham, S. (2023). Cultural policy between television and digital platforms: the case of SVOD regulation in Australia In: International Journal of Cultural Policy, , 1 - 16
- Scarlata, A.,Lobato, R. (2023). Broadcaster video-on-demand in Australia: Platforms, policy and local content In: Media International Australia, , 1 - 16
- 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.,Douglas, J.,Lobato, R. (2022). Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) original production in Australia: Evolution or revolution? In: Media International Australia, , 1 - 16
- 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
3 PhD Completions7 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)