Broadcast Television Whither thou goest?
Broadcast TV Penetration • 2nd most prevalent medium globally • Historical roots in broadcast radio • Virtually anywhere electricity is available, there are tv sets
Challenges & Opportunities • Competing ICTs • Problems faced by broadcast TV networks in US • Survival strategies for US broadcast TV networks
Problems faced by TV broadcast networks in US • Diminishing audiences • Falling advertising revenues • Reduced overall influence • Telecommunications Act of 1996 • Increased competition • TV networks targets for takeover • Network-Affiliate tensions
Survival Strategies for US Broadcast TV Networks • Expanding overseas operations • Backlash on “cultural imperialism” • Extending int’l distribution via Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) networks & Direct to Home (DTH) service in Europe, Asia, Latin America • Expanding programming • Entering new markets • E.g. CIS, Eastern Europe • Seeking partners • Cable-Broadcast alliances
Direct to Home (DTH) Broadcasting • Access limits • Control issues • Why international audiences tune in
Government Satellite TV • Preceded by int’l radio broadcasting • Purposes: instrument of foreign policy; mirror of society; symbolic presence; coercer & intimidator educator; entertainer; seller of goods & services • Begun in 1980s • UK: BBC World Service (protested/banned in China & Saudi Arabia) • US: US Information Agency WorldNet; Merged with Voice of America Radio/TV in 1998
Commercial Satellite TV • US: CNN • UK: Independent Television News (ITN) • Sky News • Orbit Television (relationship with Al Jazeera?)
TV & Public Diplomacy “If you can write a nation’s [the world’s?] stories, you needn’t worry about who makes its laws…” George Gerbner • Governmental, NGO and Corporate actors all seek to influence public opinion via TV • Policies & news framing • Paid advertising • Events that will ensure media attention • Concept of “Soft Power” by Joseph Nye
Soft Power • Herb Schiller: governments frequently benefit from private forms of public diplomacy • Joseph Nye: The US can benefit from the “soft power” of its cultural industries, software, and media
Terrorism & Public Diplomacy • Terrorism can be considered “low-level warfare” • Unlikely to achieve military-type objectives • But very likely to garner global media attention, thus draw public attention to a cause -->Terrorist act as media event
Questions for Discussion: • How would WST & ECT theorists assess Al Jazeera? • What should the US broadcast and satellite networks do with Al Jazeera materials from groups like Al Qaeda & Chechen separatists? • Should the US government be involved in establishing policy on this?
Future of Int’l Broadcasting Because of the proliferation of publics, electronic media, & groups with internationally focused causes to publicize Use of broadcasting likely to increase: • For explicit public diplomacy • For less overt political purposes • E.g. Entertaining, informing, selling goods & advertising • Allied Media Corp. & Al Jazeera