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Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald

Paul mcDonaldProfessor of Cultural and Creative Industries

Head of the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 1100
Culture, Media and Creative Industries
King’s College London 
2.08 Chesham Building
Strand Campus
WC2R 2LS  


Paul joined CMCI in August 2015 as Professor of Culture, Media and Creative Industries.

Previously he held the positions of Professor of Cinema and Media Industries at the University of Nottingham (2011-15), Professor of Cinema at the University of Portsmouth (2007-11), Reader in Film at Roehampton University (1999-2007), Senior Lecturer in Media at South Bank University (1996-1999), and Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance at the University of Salford (1990-96).

Before entering academia, Paul trained as a professional actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in various areas of the media industries including animated film production, studio photography and film exhibition.

Paul has a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Warwick and a BA Honours, First Class, in Film and Drama (major) with Philosophy (minor) from the University of Reading.

Research Interests and PhD supervision

Paul has played a leading role in developing the field of critical media industry studies. His current research is focused in the areas of:

  • Screen media industries
  • Political economy and history of media piracy
  • Digital distribution of film and television
  • Symbolic commerce of Hollywood film stardom
  • Interactions between Hollywood and the law

He welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests.

With Professor Michael Curtin (University of California, Santa Barbara), since 2002 Paul has co-edited the International Screen Industries series from British Film Institute Publishing. To date, this series has published studies of regional film or television industries in Europe, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States, together with studies of the global television marketplace and the video game business.

From 2010 to 2014, Paul was co-investigator for Channel 4 and British Film Culture, a project led by Dr Justin Smith (University of Portsmouth). Examining C4’s contribution to the UK’s cultural life as both a producer and broadcaster of film, this work was made possible by a Research Grant (Standard) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. A key outcome from the project was the Channel 4 Press Packs 1982-2002 database (password required), produced in collaboration with the British Universities Film and Video Council.

Paul has received a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and an AHRC Research Leave award. His research has also benefited from the financial support of the British Academy.

In collaboration with Dr Elizabeth Evans (University of Nottingham), Paul has led two projects on audience engagements with online services for the distribution of film and television content: the first looked at the market and audiences for video-on-demand in the UK; the second conducted similar work in Brazil, India and South Korea. These projects were run under the auspices of the Connected Viewing Initiative, co-ordinated by the Media Industries Project of the Casey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara and funded by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Paul is a founding member of the Editorial Collective for the journal Media Industries. He also serves on the editorial boards of Celebrity Studies and Transnational Cinemas.

He is the founder and co-chair of the Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group in the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and founder and co-ordinator for the Screen Industries Work Group in the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies.

Since 2007, Paul has served on the Strategic Reviewers Group and the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Selected Publications

Major publications include:

  • Paul McDonald, Emily Carman, Eric Hoyt and Philip Drake (eds) (2015) Hollywood and the Law. London: BFI Publishing.
  • Paul McDonald (2013) Hollywood Stardom. Malden, MA: Wiley.
  • Paul McDonald and Janet Wasko (eds) (2008) The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Paul McDonald (2007) Video and DVD Industries. London: British Film Institute.
  • Paul McDonald (1999) World Film Distribution - Vol.1: North America, and Paul McDonald, Adam Thomas and Adrian Wistreich (1999) World Film Distribution - Vol.2: International. London: EMAP Media/Market Tracking International,

For a complete list of publications, please see Paul's full research profile.


Paul’s teaching is informed by perspectives and insights from a range of research traditions, including: critical media industries research, film studies, media economics, and cultural history.

By combining these influences, Paul’s teaching continually aims to aid his students towards developing the insights and skills for interrogating the industrial and market conditions in which media content is produced, circulated and consumed. Frequently these investigations are focused through analyses that explore media content as both symbolic and commodity form.

In CMCI, he convenes the core module Analysing Cultural and Creative Industries and teaches on the Contest Culture and the Research Approaches modules.

Since 2003, Paul has been a member of the Higher Education Academy.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Paul McDonald is happy to speak to the media on any aspect relating to Hollywood cinema, film stardom, media piracy, and the online distribution of film and television.

Since 2011, Paul has been a Trustee of the British Universities Film and Video Council.

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