The Role of Media in Global Culture: An Expert's Perspective

This article explores the role of media in global culture from an expert's perspective. It examines early theories of media influence, discusses how transnational media can intensify hybridity in cultures around the world and looks at how global electronic telecomm

The Role of Media in Global Culture: An Expert's Perspective

The role of media in the globalization of culture is a subject of much debate in international communication theory and research. Early theories of media influence, such as the 'magic bullet' or 'hypodermic needle' theories, suggested that the media had a powerful effect on audiences. Since then, the discussion about media influence has been ongoing, with no resolution or consensus among researchers as to the extent, scope and implications of media influence.At the same time, a body of literature has emerged that questions the scope and level of influence of transnational media. While some scholars within this tradition have questioned cultural imperialism without providing conceptual alternatives, others have drawn on an interdisciplinary literature from the social sciences and humanities to develop theoretical alternatives to cultural imperialism.The media industry is well-suited for globalization, or the spread of world trade across traditional political boundaries.

As mentioned above, the low marginal costs of media mean that reaching a wider market can generate higher profit margins for media companies. Additionally, since information is not a physical good, shipping costs are generally insignificant. Finally, the global reach of the media allows them to be relevant in many different countries.Global electronic telecommunications networks have also reduced the time it takes to transmit messages across space. We can expect that audiences will continue to fragment and that digital media startups attempting to create audiences from fragmented communities will become increasingly common, even if they are difficult to sustain.The media world has seen the convergence of media content on digital platforms, the ability of people to participate in one-to-many communication as if they were major broadcasters, and the emergence of structures that allow many-to-many communication.

The ideas exchanged in organizational communication and interpersonal communication are often established, reinforced or denied by media messages. Media products that fail to resonate with the public don't last long, even though they may seem to be in tune with current tastes and trends.However, Hollywood has lobbied the World Trade Organization - a largely pro-globalization group that pushes for fewer market restrictions - to rule that this French subsidy is an unfair restriction on trade (Terrill, 1999). Dishonest individuals, networks of hackers and botnets (computers programmed to create fake social networks), as well as legitimate members of the online community can all provide content along with messages produced by professionals.It is therefore reasonable to assume that transnational media intensify the hybridity that already exists in cultures around the world. However, it appears that the concept of globalization has replaced cultural imperialism as the main conceptual umbrella under which much research and theories have been conducted in international communication.A good example of this phenomenon of global culture and marketing is James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic.

If before the 1990s most dominant media systems were relatively national in scope, since then most media outlets have become increasingly global, extending their reach beyond nation-states to win audiences. This bias was evident both in terms of quantity - since most media flows were exported by Western countries and imported by developing countries - and quality - since developing countries received scant and harmful coverage in Western media.