Americanization of the Media
Americanisation as applied in the Americanisation of the media can be interpreted in a number of ways depending on context (Straubhaar, 2007). The first interpretation of Americanisation of the media relates to the international communication, cultural imperialism, satellite transmissions and privatization of media among other interpretations. The term Americanisation is mostly used outside the borders of the United States; the term refers to the influence of the global media to be like the American media houses. In the United States, the term Americanisation is applied to the annexated populations or immigrants as they get acculturated with the American values and customs. Another meaning of Americanisation is attached to the processes of editing foreign media materials to fit the needs and wants of the American people (Boddy, 2007).
It has been noted that the American media has influenced the culture of other nations, particularly greatly influencing the youths in the community. Some of the copied aspects from the American media include: cuisine, popular culture, business practices, technology and political techniques among others. The world is dominated by the American television industry and films. American media has been applied as the chief media in which nations see and copy the American customs, fashions, way of life and scenery (Straubhaar, 2007).
Surveys have indicated that television programs that are United States based are re-broadcasted all over the world with engagement of the American broadcasters and some channels through the subsidiaries. Some of the well known international subsidiaries identify with the CNN International, HBO (Home Box Office) Asia and CNBC Europe. HBO is a movie channel based in the United States and offers a series of movies for twenty four hours in a day. HBO Asia distributes movies as a joint venture with Viacom, Time Warner and Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Studios who are the media giants in Asia. HBO broadcasts in Philippines, Brunei, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Macau, Maldives, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Palau, Nepal, Pakistan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand among others nations.
CNBC offers financial and business news targeting Europe, Africa and Middle East. CNN International is a widely recognized American media as it offers digital terrestrial television channels, English language cable, IPTV and through the satellite. CNN is a product of Turner Broadcasting System which partners with the Time Warner broadcasters. CNN offers news, politics, current affairs, opinions, sports, business and features programming from sources all over the world. It has been noted that CNN is widely available almost in all nations. Surveys indicated that the international reach of CNN covers for more than two hundred million households spanning to over two hundred nations of the world. CNN is a free to air channel, an indication that most people can access the diverse programmes. Common slogans of CNN are connected to ‘most trusted brand in the new industry’, ‘going beyond the American borders’ and ‘being the leader in the world of news’. CNN is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (Lotz, 2009). Reflecting on the few leading media houses, it is crystal clear that United States dominates the global media, although the influence is declining as the global media shift towards customising their programmes in fitting to the needs and wants of the target market (Tunstall, 2008).
The world is facing changes with socialization and globalization; American media have been part of these changes through the introduction of the popular culture. The world has been facing diverse changes from civilization, to colonisation and then to the era of independence (McCarthy, 2001). The same changes were carried forward to the cold era where the soviets were outdone by the capitalists that control the world even in the twenty first century. The term globalization is pumping new information in diverse nations in reference to social changes, economic changes, technological changes and in political changes which are greatly influenced by the international media. Global media are shifting their focus to include customised programmes that are in line with the target market (Tunstall, 2008).
Globalization has resulted to the integration of the global economies through financial flows and through trade as labour (people) and technology (knowledge) traverses the global borders. International media has been influential in the political, cultural and environmental dimensions that are shaping the current society. American media is believed to have created a competitive edge for their products and services in the target market, which is part of the corporate imperialism (Fabes et al, 1989).
International media has resulted to cultural assimilation or cultural imperialism. International media is destroying the authenticity attached to the local cultures in preference of the popular culture. Researchers argue that globalisation is directly connected to the Americanisation of the global societies (Spigel, 2001). Critics continue to assert that imposition of the American culture in the world is a reality, and the media houses have been influential in encouraging the practice. Some of the examples of globalization or Americanisation identify with the spread of the American media to all parts of the world like the CNN. Some American products are also found in each and every nation, like the Coca-Cola soft drinks that has penetrated to the global market. There are high chances that multinationals will engage the media in penetrating to all the nations of the world, hence American taking control of the global businesses even at the local levels (Tunstall, 2008).
United States has the strongest economy and army in the world. The nation has taken gigantic measures in persuading the entire world in acting and thinking like them; and it has used the media houses to pass over the message (Boddy, 2007). So far, America is succeeding in the Americanisation processes. American products and services are readily acceptable in many cultures of the world, although local leaders are supporting localised media, products and services in avoiding being brainwashed (Tunstall, 2008).
Globalization and commercialization has encouraged enormous global changes particularly in the media markets. Current global markets are characterised with common cultural characteristics and advanced technology. The changes has been contributed by the cultural perceptions and the social perceptions in regards to the common structure that has been designed by the global policy of commercial competition and free market approach of the telecommunication and media services (Lotz, 2009). Globalization associated with the media markets are accustomed to social changes, cultural changes and alignment to the global media culture that is controlled by the United States. The world in the twenty first century is characterised with information superhighway due to the dominance of global competition and free speech. Small media houses has linked with the global leaders in the media industry, most of which originates from the United States. Different nations are encouraging localization of media channels as a way of encouraging the heritages (Spigel, 2004).
In conclusion, diverse media channels such as internet, radios and televisions has become part of life such that people use them on daily basis. The media has been influential in current patterns and trends (Tunstall, 2008). The media houses are positively and negatively influential depending on the context. America dominates the global media such as CNN, CNBC and HBO among others; America use globalization as a tool of Americanisation of the media and the world as a whole where the people are insisted to think and act like the Americans (Fabes et al, 1989).
Boddy, W. (2007). The television will be revolutionized. New York: New York University Press.
Fabes, R. et al. (1989). A Time to Reexamine the Role of Television in Family Life. Family Relations , 337-341.
Lotz, A. D. (2009). What Is U.S. Television Now? The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science , 49-59.
McCarthy, A. (2001). Ambient television: Visual culture and public space. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Spigel, L. (2004). Introduction in Television after TV: Essays on a medium in transition. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Spigel, L. (2001). Portable TV: Studies in domestic space travel, In Welcome to the dreamhouse: Popular media and postwar suburbs. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Straubhaar, J. D. (2007). World Television: From Global to Local. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Tunstall, J. (2008). The media were American: U.S. mass media in decline. Journal of Communication , 396–405.
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