Audiences Alex Dunderdale BAIMP1 2008

To what extent, and in what ways, has globalization transformed the media and its audiences? Increased prominence of economic, cultural and technological integration between countries has no doubt had an impact on our (society’s) personal lives. Significantly, globalization has also led to increased access to a broad range of media – entertainment, increased interest in world news and larger access to communication technologies. By the world becoming more and more incorporated, it is developing faster and faster – especially in relation to the production, and distribution of media. It has been claimed by critics that “the United States is far too powerful and that it exercises cultural imperialism over smaller nations by overwhelming them with movies and television programs produced in the United States” (McChesney, 2005). Nowadays, a lot of media groups are owned by non-US companies – but influence works both ways. Whilst non-US media groups have opportunity to influence a huge range of audiences, they themselves are subject to other country’s media, and have perhaps been affected by the increased exposure to these. Take, for example, the popularity of many of America’s sitcoms; “Friends”, and “Fraiser” are now a regular part of UK television. On the other hand, American audiences have been subject to other material that they previously had not seen; for example, Pokemon, the children phenomenon from Japan and even Bollywood film. The argument here is that, due to globalization, the audiences within countries have changed; migration, increased access to traveling, has caused each country to have to cater for a variety of cultures. The diversity within media in developed countries is now so great, and is still evolving as more and more people settle in countries foreign to their culture. Entertainment within media has also been swayed by globalization as audiences have gained access to a large range of content; television, cinema and print in particular. Most significant is westernization; the effect western culture has had on eastern media; not only with what audiences see, but what it is composed of. This theory works both ways, as acculturation – multiple societies continuously interacting, and being influenced by one another. Recent creations of American media such as Transformers and G.I. Joe have undoubtedly been influenced by the popular anime/manga culture from eastern society. These examples were created due to the interest placed in them; as globalization led to an increased range of media, audience’s preferences have began to evolve, and fondness of new material has arisen. “Howl’s Moving Castle”, an extremely popular Japanese animated fantasy film is an example of this new interest. Although a fantasy creation, this film is majorly based on Japanese background and traditions. Less than a year after release, Walt Disney Pictures took an interest in the film and published it – dubbed English – in North America. The popularity of the film here demonstrates the audience taking an interest in foreign media and values. This is further exhibited in the reputation it gained when it was released nationwide; European, Canadian and Australian audiences were all intrigued by the unfamiliar concepts, and it became very popular. By having new media incorporated into another society, it does not change the audience as to

convert them, rather giving them access to new content. It is possible to apply the uses and gratifications theory on audiences here; although they cannot relate to the text as such, they are using it as a means of entertainment; to escape from the “everyday problems and routine”. The new media also gives audiences access to a type of culutural transmission; no doubt, a key to learning about other societies without ever leaving home. This is also relative to how technology has changed audiences, as well as this mass unification of the world’s media. Access to media from across the world undoubtedly has made audiences more aware and is likely to have caused audience’s behavior to have changed. For example, have audiences from England become more violent as a result of seeing so much violence (mainly including guns) from American media? It is interesting to consider this whilst looking at the such concepts as the media effects model, as well as David Gauntlett’s argument against it. It is very possible that the violence portrayed and increased rates of crime and violence, are directly relational; that the media is having such a dramatic effect as to cause audiences to go out and change to partake in violent acts. Alternatively, as Gauntlett suggests, the media could simply be being used as a boycott for increased violence here, whereas the actual reason is the people or other factors. Increased coverage of violence is either considered irrelevant, or a coincidence. Gauntlett’s study on the relation between young offenders and television demonstrated that they did not in fact relate to any of the fictional characters they see at all, and struggled to remember them, never mind be influenced by them; strongly agreeing with the concept that television does not correlate to behavior. However, it is always possible that already-violent members of society can use this media, as part of the uses and gratifications theory, and then go on live the life seen there. There are many angles at which the question could be approached, but as it is a psychology matter, there is no way to be completely certain on exactly what effect this media has had. Other examples of media like this are Wider integration of new technologies within media (due to globalization) have also increased the ability for people to communicate amongst each other; not long ago it was rare to speak to a foreigner without travel, whereas nowadays anyone can sign up to a forum or message board and be conversing with people from a number of cultures in minutes. Countries sharing their ideas and concepts has led to advancements such as broadband, telephones and even smaller accomplishments such as new methods for research. When looking at globalization this way, in relation to media, it should be looked upon with great esteem – having brought around many advancements that have allowed media to develop and be distributed. Find a fucking theory for this. Globalization has brought us a generally improved lifestyle; countries drawing on each other’s skills and material to develop not only media technology, but technology that we now take for granted. Media’s access to such technologies have allowed it to evolve onto different formats, and to convey messages to audiences in a number of different ways. Aside from technology, globalization has also led to a change in audiences. Audiences are now able to view material from all over the world, having access to many different cultures and concepts – viewers needs can be satisfied now by foreign media, and easily. It is also possible that changes in modern media (due to globalization) have altered the behavior of society – for example, violence – if not in our culture then in

References: Lyons, J, 2006. Globe Media Journal http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/fa05/gmj-fa05-lyons.htm (Accessed 11 March 2008) Gauntlett, D, 1998. Approaches To Audiences. Roger Dickinson, Ramaswani Harindranath and Olga Linne. http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm (Accessed 16th March 2008)