Dr Paul Smith

Job: Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Cinema and Television History Centre (CATH), Media Discourse Group (MDG)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8399

E: pasmith@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/somc

 

Personal profile

Paul joined De Montfort University as a Lecturer in Media Studies in 2003.  Before joining DMU he taught and researched at London Metropolitan University, where he gained his PhD for a thesis analysing the introduction of digital television in Britain.  His main area of research expertise is media policy and regulation and he has published a number of books and articles on issues, such as public service broadcasting, the regulation of television sports rights and the introduction of digital television.  He is also interested in contemporary political communication and teaches in this area at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Publications and outputs 

  • War on video: Combat footage, vernacular video analysis and military culture from within
    War on video: Combat footage, vernacular video analysis and military culture from within Mair, Michael; Elsey, Chris; Smith, Paul V.; Watson, Patrick G. In this article we present an ethnomethodological study of a controversial case of ‘friendly fire’ from the Iraq War in which leaked video footage, war on video, acquired particular significance. We examine testimony given during a United States Air Force (USAF) investigation of the incident alongside transcribed excerpts from the video to make visible the methods employed by the investigators to assess the propriety of the actions of the pilots involved. With a focus on the way in which the USAF investigators pursued their own analysis of language-in-use in their discussions with the pilots about what had been captured on the video, we turn attention to the background expectancies that analytical work was grounded in. These ‘vernacular’ forms of video analysis and the expectancies which inform them constitute, we suggest, an inquiry into military culture from within that culture. As such, attending to them provides insights into that culture. open access article
  • A Whole New Ball Game? The Changing European Sports Rights Marketplace
    A Whole New Ball Game? The Changing European Sports Rights Marketplace Smith, Paul Using examples from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, this chapter analyses how the growing use of online delivery for sports content is changing the European sports rights market. The chapter highlights how the Internet is being utilised to offer live sports content directly to consumers, over-the-top (OTT), by new market entrants, from the United States and Europe, as well as existing pay-TV operators and sports organisations. Nevertheless, the main argument made here is that the contemporary European sports rights market is best understood as undergoing a period of evolution, rather than revolution. Europe’s sports rights market remains defined by traditional national/regional exclusive live rights deals. Furthermore, live rights to exclusive premium content, mostly domestic football leagues, remain the key source of market power within national pay-TV and wider communications markets. And, for the immediate future at least, the technical limitations associated with OTT mean that control over, or access to, traditional broadcasting infrastructure – terrestrial, satellite and/or cable – remains a major competitive advantage for established pay-TV operators within Europe’s national sports rights markets.
  • Playing under pressure: sport, public service broadcasting and the BBC
    Playing under pressure: sport, public service broadcasting and the BBC Smith, Paul Using the UK, and particularly the BBC, as a case study, this article highlights the difficulties faced by PSBs, who continue to see sports coverage as an important part of their public service remit. Following a brief account of the historical development of sports broadcasting in the UK, the article is divided into two main parts. The first part examines the main challenges faced by the BBC, namely a combination of the escalating costs of sports rights and a squeeze on its own finances. The second part of the article then moves on to focus on the continued importance of listed events legislation, which effectively guarantees that certain key national sporting events remain available on free-to-air television via PSBs. The article concludes that ultimately to be able to continue to enhance cultural citizenship through the provision of a range of live sports programming PSBs require more political support. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Next Big Match: Convergence, Competition and Sports Media Rights
    The Next Big Match: Convergence, Competition and Sports Media Rights Smith, Paul; Evens, Tom; Iosifidis, Petros Using examples from a number of different European countries, this article analyses the increasingly prominent position of traditional telecommunications companies, such as BT (UK), DT (Germany), France Telecom/Orange (France) and Telefonica (Spain), in the contemporary sports media rights market. The first part of the article examines the commercial strategies of telecommunications operators and highlights how their acquisition of sports rights has been driven by the need to ensure a competitive position within an increasingly converged communications market. The second part of the article then moves on to consider the regulation of the contemporary sports media rights market. Most significantly, this section emphasises the need for further regulatory intervention to ensure that increased competition for sports rights leads to improved services and lower prices for consumers, rather than merely endlessly spiralling fees for the exclusive ownership of premium rights that are then passed on to sports channel and/or broadband subscribers.
  • Television Sports Rights Beyond the West: The Cases of India and South Africa
    Television Sports Rights Beyond the West: The Cases of India and South Africa Smith, Paul The main object of this article is to highlight the important role played by television sports rights in two significant non-Western media markets, namely India and South Africa. Specifically, this article highlight how key trends commonly identified in Western countries have also been apparent in India and South Africa, namely the use of exclusive sports rights as a ‘battering ram’ to open up pay-TV markets and the resulting escalation in the value of premium rights. Just as significantly, the cases of India and South Africa also demonstrate the importance of sports broadcasting regulation in two main areas: first, major events legislation, designed to guarantee that certain major sporting events remain available on free-to-air television; and, secondly, the application of competition law in order to limit the use of sports rights as a source of market power within pay-TV. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Violence You Were/n’t Meant to See
    The Violence You Were/n’t Meant to See Mair, Michael; Elsey, Chris; Smith, Paul V.; Watson, Patrick G. This chapter starts with a consideration of the opportunities the internet affords us to become virtual witnesses to episodes of military operations and the deaths they result in. It is organised around an analysis of two such episodes caught on video and disseminated via the internet, (1) the Wikileaks ‘collateral murder’ video, and (2) the video of the targeted assassination of Hamas’s Military Commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, by the Israeli Defence Force in 2012. Drawing on ethnomethodological studies as well as Goffman’s examination of the ‘workshop complex’ (which we will outline), we examine what these videos could be said to show through an analysis of the ways we are directed to view them by those who have made them available to us. We will suggest the question of who takes such footage public ‘first’ rather than ‘second’ is an important one as the opening establishes the terms in which a video’s status as evidence will be discussed. Having reviewed each case, and what could be said to have been done via the release of footage to the public in them, we end by sounding a note of caution around the notion that videos of either kind represent a straightforward medium of ‘truth’. What it means to ‘watch war’, as Miezskowski has pointed out (2011), is not easily resolved and, we shall argue in conclusion, we need to treat video footage as posing as many problems as it seems to resolve.
  • The Relation between Content Providers and Distributors: Lessons from the Regulation of Television Distribution in the United Kingdom
    The Relation between Content Providers and Distributors: Lessons from the Regulation of Television Distribution in the United Kingdom Michalis, Maria; Smith, Paul Using the United Kingdom (UK) as a case study, this article analyses the growing commercial and regulatory significance of broadcaster–distributor relations within the contemporary television industry. The first part of the article argues that despite important changes in broadcast delivery technology, more recently shaped by the growth of the Internet, and the associated growth of options of receiving television content, the traditional delivery platforms (digital terrestrial, satellite and cable) remain by far the preferred choice for viewers in Britain. At the same time, public service broadcasters continue to be the biggest investors in domestic original non-sport content and account for over half of all television viewing. The strength of PSBs in content and their growing reliance on commercial proprietary subscription platforms (cable and satellite) and gradually on the Internet presents challenges in the nexus between broadcasters and distributors. The article focuses on the debate over retransmission fees between PSBs and Sky, and on the question of whether Sky should be required to offer some of its premium content to rival pay-TV platforms. These two examples highlight the impact regulatory intervention can have on the balance of power between broadcasters and distributors. The article concludes that such debates concerning the commercial relations between content providers and distributors will remain pivotal and become more heated given that similar issues are raised in the Internet environment. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Regulation of Television Sports Rights: A Comparative Analysis
    The Regulation of Television Sports Rights: A Comparative Analysis Smith, Paul; Evens, Tom; Iosifidis, Petros Based on seven different sports broadcasting markets (Australia, Brazil, Italy, India, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States), this article provides a comparative analysis of the regulation of television sports broadcasting. The article examines how contrasting perspectives on television and sport – economic and sociocultural – have been reflected in two main approaches to the regulation of sports broadcasting, namely competition law and major events legislation. The results of this analysis suggest that in many cases the balance between commerce and culture in sports broadcasting has shifted too far in favour of the commercial interests of dominant pay-TV operators and sports organisations. Here, the case is made for the pursuit of an approach to sports broadcasting regulation that seeks to balance the commercial priorities of broadcasters and sports organisations with the wider sociocultural benefits citizens gain from free-to-air sports broadcasting.
  • Interpretive asymmetries, diagnostic inquiry and the reconstruction of action in an incident of friendly fire
    Interpretive asymmetries, diagnostic inquiry and the reconstruction of action in an incident of friendly fire Mair, Michael; Elsey, Christopher; Watson, Patrick G.; Smith, Paul V. In this article, we examine a controversial friendly fire incident that took place during the early stages of the Iraq war. Our focus is on how a cockpit video of the incident was used post facto in a military inquiry to arrive at an understanding of the actions of the pilots involved. We shall concentrate specifically on a series of interpretive difficulties that highlighted the problematic status of the video as evidence and explore what their resolution might tell us about military practice, and the place of friendly fire within it more broadly.
  • The political economy of television sports rights.
    The political economy of television sports rights. Evens, Tom; Iosifidis, Petros; Smith, Paul

 

Click here for a full listing of Paul Smith's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

(2010) ‘The Politics of Sports Rights: The Regulation of Television Sports Rights in the United Kingdom’, Convergence, 16 (3): 316-33. 

(2008) ‘BBC Charter Renewal and the ‘Crisis’ of Public Service Broadcasting’  in Ross, K. and Price, S. (eds.) Popular Media and Communication: Essays on Publics, Practices and Processes: Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 130-51 (also translated into Spanish for a special edition of Infoamerica on Public Service Broadcasting: (2010) ‘’Politica de television del Reino Unido: Renovacion de la Carta de la BBC y ‘crisis’ del servicio public, Infoamerica, 2 (3-4): 155-71.  

(2007) The Politics of Television Policy: The Introduction of Digital Television in Great Britain, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press.

(2007) (with Steemers, Jeanette) ‘BBC to the Rescue! Digital Switchover and the Reinvention of Public Service Broadcasting in Britain’, Javnost/the Public, 14 (1): 39-55. 

(2006) ‘The Politics of UK Television Policy: The Making of Ofcom’, Media, Culture and Society, 28 (6): 929-40.

Research interests/expertise

  • Media policy and regulation
  • The buying and selling of sports rights
  • Public service broadcasting
  • Media ownership   

Areas of teaching

Paul’s teaching focuses mainly on the political economy of the media and covers topics such as UK media policy and regulation; media history and political communication. 

Qualifications

  • PhD (London Metropolitan University) 
  • M.Sc. (London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London)
  • BA Politics and History (Queen Mary’s College, University of London)

Courses taught

  • MEDS 1000: Introduction to Media, Culture & Society
  • MEDS 2005: Television Studies
  • MEDS 3110: Political Communication 
  • MEDS 3000: Media and Communication Dissertation

Honours and awards

Nominated for Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (DMU, Leicester) (July 2011, July 2010)

 

Membership of professional associations and societies

Paul is a member of Meccsa and the Political Studies Association (PSA).

 

Conference attendance

‘Too Much or Not Enough? Competition Policy and UK broadcasting Regulation’, Transformations in/of Broadcasting’, University of Leeds, July 2012. 

‘The European Television Sports Rights Market: Balancing Culture and Commerce’, Private Television in Europe: 20 Years of Television Without Frontiers and Beyond, Brussels University, April 2011. 

‘The Rise of Competition Policy: The Remodelling of UK Broadcasting Regulation’, PSA Annual Conference, University of London, April, 2011.

‘From Government to Governance; The Case of UK Television Policy’, PSA Annual Conference, Manchester University, April, 2009.

‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like the End of Spectrum Scarcity: Ofcom, the BBC and the Future of Public Service Broadcasting’ Joint MeCCSA/AMPE Conference, Bradford University, January 2009.

‘From Government to Governance: The European Union and the Making of UK Television Policy’, Continental Connections, De Montfort University, July 2007. 

‘Crisis? What Crisis? The Politics of BBC Charter Renewal’, Joint MeCCSA/AMPE Conference, Coventry University, January 2007.

‘BBC Charter Renewal and the ‘Crisis’ of Public Service Broadcasting (Again)’, RIPE@2006 Conference: Public Service Broadcasting in a Multimedia Environment: Programmes and Platforms, University of Amsterdam, November 2006.

‘The Politics of UK Digital Television Policy: One Dead Monkey, Two Big Gorillas’ Joint MeCCSA/AMPE Conference, Leeds Metropolitan University, January 2006.

‘The Politics of UK Television Policy: The Making of Ofcom’, Joint MeCCSA/AMPE Conference, Lincoln University, January 2005.

‘The Politics of UK Television Policy: The Introduction of Digital Television’, European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR), Mannheim, Germany, March 1999. 

Current research students

Paul is currently supervising a PhD on the role of new media during the 2010 British general election campaign.

 

Professional esteem indicators

Paul has acted as an expert reader for a number of leading academic publishers, including Palgrave Macmillan, Sage and Edwin Mellen.  He has also written review articles for academic journals, including Media, Culture & Society and Government & Opposition.

 

Paul Smith

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