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Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald

Paul mcDonaldProfessor of Cultural and Creative Industries

Vice Dean (People & Planning) for Arts in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities

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


Paul joined the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s in August 2015 as Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries.

He is currently Vice Dean (People and Planning) for Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and was previously Head of Department for 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, film exhibition, studio photography and publishing.

Paul hold 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’s general research interests focus on:

  • screen media industries
  • digital distribution of film, television and music
  • political economy and history of media piracy
  • symbolic commerce of Hollywood film stardom
  • interactions between Hollywood and the law

He welcomes applications for PhD topics in any of these areas.

He is currently working on publications or projects in three areas:

  • critical perspectives on screen entertainment industries
  • comparative analysis of digital distribution in the publishing, film, television, music and gaming industries
  • media industry agglomeration and the formation of London as a global media capital

Working with colleagues in CMCI, he is coordinating the international conference Media Industry Studies: Current Debates and Future Directions which takes place at King’s in 18-20 April 2018.

 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 Africa, 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 (De Montfort University). Examining C4’s contribution to the UK’s cultural life as both a producer and a broadcaster of film, this work was made possible by a four year 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 also 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 former 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

Paul has previously 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 convenes the option module Entertainment Industries.

His teaching is informed by perspectives and insights from a range of research traditions, including: critical media industries research, political economy of the media, media economics, media historiography, film studies, and cultural history.

Combining these influences, Paul’s teaching continually aims to lead students towards developing insights and skills for interrogating the industrial and market conditions in which media are produced, circulated and consumed. Foundational to this work is an understanding of media content as both symbolic and commodity form.

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.

From 2011 to 2016, Paul was a Trustee of the British Universities Film and Video Council.

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