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Global Media, Culture, and Identity: Theory, Cases, and Approaches

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Deakin University. La Trobe University. Macquarie University. Monash University. Queensland University of Technology. RMIT University. This tension, of ingroup membership and individuality, is anchored in the daily life and social practices of ethnic individuals. Ting-Toomey pointed out that:. Self-identification provides the motivational key to communicative actions. How we conceive our sense of self and how we want to be perceived by others are fundamental communicative questions.

In addition, it is through communication that we can reframe and modify our self-views. Thus, self-identification is maintained, re-created, and changed through mutual enhancement processes p. Our identities are in constant flux and continually negotiated. They are not static entities. The role of a television connection adds another layer of complexity to our understanding of identity in the 21st century, especially as children interact with texts that are presented as culturally ambiguous. Therefore, international trends in the audiovisual landscape include an increase in the number of private terrestrial channels, the loosening of government control over public stations, and the expansion of satellite networks.

It is because of the economic incentive of international expansion that globalization has been able to successfully support the global reach of television networks and transform a medium that was developed, in many parts of the world, as an extension of the state. As a result of the international expansion of television networks, audiences have more program choices including a wide variety of U.

In fact, Redstone has been outspoken about his desire to make Nickelodeon and MTV the global entertainment choice for children of all ages. Viacom PR, Currently, the international network consists of 28 channels and 22 branded blocks of programs on terrestrial channels as well as 32 websites in a variety of languages. In fact, Nickelodeon, as a channel, is seen in Some of the programs that are popular around the globe include Rugrats , SpongeBob Squarepants present , and Dora the Explorer present.

While some of these programs are no longer in production, they continue to be syndicated internationally. The program has been available through satellite channels across Europe and can be seen in France, Spain, Portugal and on Nick Nordic in Holland. The deal with the United Kingdom, however, provides much broader access for children who do not have cable or satellite television.

In an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the cartoon series SpongeBob Squarepants, in Nickelodeon released SpongeBob SquarePants, The Movie in more than 30 countries around the world. The success of SpongeBob SquarePants is nothing less than a phenomenon. The television series has been sold into more than markets around the world and has grossed 2. Similar to most markets, Viacom uses local talent to create a portion of original local content for its international networks, but relies heavily on imported favorites like Dora the Explorer for younger audiences and MTV programs like MTV Cribs present or Jackass In the race to be at the forefront of expansion and the leader of entertainment, Nickelodeon is tapping into the widely popular and profitable Japanese anime market.

Rather than spend money to import a completed product, U. The benefit of the co-production is that the Japanese and U. As a result, money and time can be saved by tweaking the product and avoiding translation issues. For example, if broadcasters want comedy from a Japanese anime, U. Instead, companies can inject their own humor early on in the scripting stage to avoid potential disaster Stewart, Many cheer MTV as the pioneer that localized its programming to be relevant to and for the local audience.

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By the mid s MTV realized that to succeed in local markets it needed to compete with domestic players by providing audiences with local content. Focusing on U. For example, in India, competition from Channel [V], a local music channel, provided the impetus for MTV to move to featuring more Hindi musicians. Specifically, la Pastina and Staubhbaar argue that television audiences prefer to watch programs they perceive as culturally relevant — even when the broadcaster is a foreign network.

Currently, MTV reaches million households around the world and is a trendsetter for global youth pop culture.

An example of the glocalization of music can be found in South Korea. Taking trends commonly associated with rap and hip-hop, such as breakdancing, and adding unique twists has resulted in a global fusion product. K Pop combines elements of U. This merger will give Chinese users access to 15, hours of MTV, Nickelodeon original video content, and music videos licensed by five top Chinese and Asian music companies for online viewing or downloading Viacom press release, In addition, Nickelodeon launched a multi-billion dollar franchise of consumer products featuring SpongeBob and Dora in Asia and other markets Edgecliffe-Johnson, For tween and teen audiences watching MTV, the excitement may be in watching something foreign.

The localization process has made MTV even more appealing, but nevertheless the package is inherently American and indeed a Viacom product. Even in countries where domestic programming has been encouraged and even mandated by the state, private station owners and audiences continue to favor American imports.

In the case of Nickelodeon, cartoon formats are lucrative and easily exported. In the U. In many ways, international expansion is an extension of this proven strategy. Specifically, Viacom has the opportunity to make more money on a product that does not require new cost or overhead. For example, Nickelodeon sells toys, video games and DVDs under license agreements in 22 countries and launched SpongeBob products in Japan even though the program had not yet been popular on television Edgecliffe-Johnson 6 August Although communication researchers lamented the exportation of U.

Viacom has been localizing content since it began expanding internationally. The impetus for localization is not necessarily protecting cultural identity, but is much more pragmatic — local content works best at attracting audiences.

Globalization and Culture: The Three H Scenarios

The process of localization comes from a market desire and could be considered nothing more than a superficial covering for the U. Viacom has dubbed its cartoons on Nickelodeon and made Nick. The economic success of Viacom in the future is unlikely to falter; it is the consequence of exposure to this type of commercial pop culture that concerns the authors.

It makes sense then, to believe that television programming plays a role in the formation of an ethnic identity and the underlining cultural values. When children and teenagers watch Viacom networks outside the U. Typically the values associated with American programming are the ones that are inherently part of the culture. It is clear that children in an international context are exposed to a variety of global texts, which perpetuate a Western dominant ideology and as discussed, one part of this ideology is individualism.

Global Media, Culture, and Identity: Theory, Cases, and Approaches by Rohit Chopra

Individualism and collectivism are two of the most heuristic dimensions of cultural variability Hofstede, ; Triandis, While individualistic cultures, such as the U. The major difference between individualism and collectivism is the reliance on and importance of the group. Exporting cartoons around the globe is convenient, cheap, and profitable. Dubbing is easily accessible and translation is easy when the program is animated. Most children do not have any idea that these programs were created somewhere other than their home country.

This raises an important issue — what does this mean for identity formation when the texts are not culturally specific, when they are ambiguous with no cultural context, but rather have definite "Western" or corporate ideologies imbedded? Often, in the programs created by networks such as Nickelodeon and Viacom, children see characters who are individualistic heroes often engaged in violent acts and sexy young girls whose appearance is valued over their ambition. In a global context, the children's networks may indeed be in part creating an identity that is not tied to any particular culture, but one that is manufactured by transnational media corporations whose commitment to children is only to ensure maximum profits.

With global and mass-market appeal, children are persuaded every day to incorporate the ideology and identity of certain characters that come to life on the screen. The lived-experience of becoming Dora, or SpongeBob, or a character on Laguna Beach transcends identity into a form of reality, creating a small crisis for children, who are at an age when they question who they are in relation to the larger environment.