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Rebranding gay: New configurations of digital media and commercial culture

Eve C Ng, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation is an account of cultural change associated with incorporations of digital media and LGBT media into the commercial domain. As a production study of LGBT digital media at two networks, Bravo and Logo, it takes a multi-methods approach, including interviews with cultural workers, attendance at industry events, analysis of primary documents and site content, and the use of secondary sources. In addition to LGBT channel content, in recent years Bravo and Logo have purchased or launched LGBT-focused websites that began with the involvement of non-media professionals. A new cohort of LGBT cultural workers has emerged through economic and cultural convergence, bringing fan producers and writers from gay print into the networks. At the same time, with the increasing professionalization of digital media labor, boundary crossings associated with convergence have declined. The professional dispositions of Bravo's and Logo's cultural workers have informed programming strategies decentering LGBT-focused material. Besides commercial considerations, these developments reflect 'post-gay' integrationist discourses that also comprise mainstream narratives of gay identity. Furthermore, while digital media facilitates the targeting of specific audience segments, the expectation for web material to be "fluffy" militates against critical analysis at highly trafficked sites. Although social networking and crowdfunding platforms enable some content diversity, the potential of digital technologies is tempered by the interaction of norms for commercial online content with the habitus of key LGBT gatekeepers.

Subject Area

GLBT Studies|Mass communications|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Ng, Eve C, "Rebranding gay: New configurations of digital media and commercial culture" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3589112.