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Global Television: Co-Producing Culture

Barbara J. Selznick
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Global Television
    Book Description:

    The face of U.S. television broadcasting is changing in ways that are both profound and subtle.Global Televisionuncovers the particular processes by which the international circulation of culture takes place, while addressing larger cultural issues such as identity formation.

    Focusing on how the process of internationally made programming such asHighlander: The Series and The Odyssey-amusingly dubbed "Europudding" and "commercial white bread"-are changing television into a transnational commodity, Barbara Selznick considers how this mode of production-as a means by which transnational television is created-has both economic rewards and cultural benefits as well as drawbacks.

    Global Televisionexplores the ways these international co-productions create a "global" culture as well as help form a national identity. From British "brand" programming (e.g,Cracker) that airs on A&E in the U.S. to children's television programs such asPlaza Sesamo, and documentaries, Selznick indicates that while the style, narrative, themes and ideologies may be interesting, corporate capitalism ultimately affects and impacts these programs in significant ways.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-505-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Introduction: McTelevision in the Global Village
    (pp. 1-30)

    Although by now this revelation is obvious and perhaps even clichéd, any scholarly examination of the international marketplace must acknowledge that the practices and meanings of “globalization” are complex and multi-faceted. Even the term globalization must be problematized, as we recognize that, in the marketplace, not all nations count equally; nor have national governments and borders ceased to matter. The world is not one big global village—in terms of economics or culture. In a discussion of culture especially, the concept of globalization gets tied to notions of nationalism, homogeneity, and commercialization. Culture—whether popular or mass culture—tells people...

  4. 1 History without Nation: Global Fiction
    (pp. 31-69)

    Producers of the growing number of internationally coproduced television programs on U.S. television in the 1980s and ’90s drew on the knowledge of film producers with experience in international co-production. Ideas about the genres, narratives, stars, and locations that made international films successful were, in general, reflected in their small screen counterparts. Although international co-producers in television benefited from the film industry’s presumed knowledge about what “worked” as international material, these media makers were also hampered by the reputation of low quality “Europudding” that was historically associated with internationally co-produced films.

    In a 1990Sight and Soundarticle, William Fisher...

  5. 2 Clear, Strong Brands: British Television as a Marketing Tool
    (pp. 70-105)

    The internationally co-produced television fiction discussed in the previous chapter was strongly influenced by the increasingly competitive environment of the television industry. The rise of cable and satellite in the 1980s and ’90s along with deregulation led to an erosion of the audience. Narrowcasting and niche audiences became the industry’s new buzzwords as broadcasters saw their shares of the mass audience decline. The need to differentiate networks from the growing competition became overwhelmingly important particularly for the new cable networks.

    The expensive proposition of starting a new network and marketing it effectively led some programmers to rely increasingly on international...

  6. 3 The Three C’s: Children, Citizenship and Co-Production
    (pp. 106-145)

    As discussed in the previous chapter, branding provides television programmers a means to target audiences in a fragmented viewing environment. International co-productions thrive in this more competitive environment where viewers select programs based on a number of different criteria and interests. One of the basic premises underlying the industrial growth of international co-production is that nationality is not a primary basis for people’s media choices. Viewers do not require that films and television programs—at least not in all instances—speak to them as members of a given nation-state. The assumption is that nationality, while perhaps a contributing factor, is...

  7. 4 Global Truths: Documentaries for the World
    (pp. 146-174)

    The ability of television to educate its viewers as citizens and shape their ideas about citizenship perhaps most obviously plays out in documentaries. As David Hogarth explains, global television has the potential to “document places and issues of collective importance for citizen-viewers around the world” (2). With their collaborative production and distribution techniques, international co-productions provide unique opportunities for documentaries. We must explore, then, what the international co-production, as a particular form of global television, does with its potential to depict the world for international audiences.

    Although a widely researched topic, film and television documentaries are generally studied in seemingly...

  8. Conclusion: Transculturation or the Expansion of Modern Capitalism
    (pp. 175-180)

    Global Television Co-Producing Cultureis expressly concerned with the culture created by the industrial process of international co-productions in television. John Tomlinson suggests that we think of culture as “the resources through which people generate narratives of individual and social meaning and purpose” (173). In this case, we need to examine internationally co-produced television programs not only as artistic products but also as conveyors of ideology and identity that help to shape how people live. Television programs are clearly examples of the former. While some may argue about the quality of television shows, that they are a form of expression...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 181-186)
  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 187-204)
  11. Index
    (pp. 205-210)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)