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ISIL's Execution Videos: Audience Segmentation and Terrorist Communication in the Digital Age


Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

This article offers a bottom-up understanding of the media strategy employed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as it relates to the production and dissemination of its hostage execution videos. Through an empirical analysis of sixty-two videos of executions produced by ISIL in the year following its establishment as the “Islamic State” in 2014, this study examines the videos as a major component of ISIL's media strategy. Through these media products, ISIL seeks to spread a political message aimed at both local and global, ingroup and outgroup consumption through audience segmentation, while striving to influence both local and global audiences through the use and production of graphic violence. This article also discusses the strategy governing the production and release of ISIL's execution videos; how it relies on the global media to transmit its intertwined political and religious agenda in the digital media age.

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