This talk responds to a call for media studies to take supply chains and global media geographies more seriously, offering a trans-sectoral and transpacific account of the emergence of some of the conveniences we associate with digital platforms. Convenience is often explained as the reason for the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and app-mediated services like Uber. Yet what models inform the current aesthetics, feeling, and logistics of what we might call “platformed convenience”? This talk follows one lineage of platformed convenience – the feeling and model of what I term “lean convenience” – noting how just-in-time delivery feeds into the model of on-demand services. Tracing the emergence of just-in-time from the American supermarket to the Toyota Production System, and following lean convenience from the Japanese reinvention of the convenience store to on-demand services like Netflix, this talk shines light on the systems and geographies that influence our platformed conveniences today.
Marc Steinberg is Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal, and director of The Platform Lab. His research focuses on animation, media industry studies, and digital media, focusing on the role of digital platforms in mediating cultural production and experience. He is the author of Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Platform Economy: How Japan Transformed the Commercial Internet (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), Media and Management (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), and “From Automobile Capitalism to Platform Capitalism: Toyotism as a Prehistory of the Digital Economy” (in Organization Studies). He is currently at work on a project on platforms and convenience culture.