Streaming Media Licensing and Purchasing Practices at Academic Libraries

University instructors and students have a huge appetite for streaming media, and demand is growing apace as the format achieves mainstream market dominance over earlier technologies such as DVDs. University libraries purchase and license the bulk of this content intended for campus-wide (as opposed to personal) consumption and are facing numerous challenges associated with integrating streaming media into their collecting strategies. Pricing models can make it difficult to fully meet patron demands, and some collections feature content that is not consistent with the library’s mission. To compound matters further, streaming media businesses focused on providing educational content are rapidly evolving due to mergers and acquisitions and the development of new business models among the sector’s dominant companies. As the urgency of these issues has grown, researchers have undertaken several important efforts to track how libraries are approaching the streaming media market and troubleshoot the challenges they are encountering, focusing especially on strategies for balancing patron demand with managing costs. Building on those data gathering efforts, this report shares findings from the most comprehensive survey to date of academic library streaming media approaches at four-year institutions in the US and Canada.