Global Entertainment Media: Content, Audiences, Issues

Global Entertainment Media: Content, Audiences, Issues

Global Entertainment Media: Content, Audiences, Issues

Global Entertainment Media: Content, Audiences, Issues


Global Entertainment Media offers a unique perspective on entertainment media worldwide. As one of the first comprehensive books to address entertainment mass media worldwide, it addresses students as TV watchers and takes them to new places, both geographically and intellectually. Editor Anne Cooper-Chen has gathered an international group of scholars to explore such concepts as psychology, gratifications, and effects of media entertainment and its relation to national cultures, as well as to discuss the business of international TV trade by transnational media corporations. In this volume, experts discuss the content, audiences, and cultural and legal aspects of their respective countries, all of which are major TV markets. The country-specific chapters draw on the individual insights, expertise, and currency of 10 resident authors. Contributions represent every hemisphere of the globe, offering detailed examinations of media entertainment in United Kingdom, Germany, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Japan, China, Brazil, and Mexico. The two concluding chapters provide cross-national case studies that look at familiar TV experiences--The Olympics and the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" show--in global and novel ways. Global Entertainment Media is intended for students in international media, comparative media, cross-cultural communication, and television studies, and it also has much to offer scholars and researchers in entertainment media.


Aristotle deliberated about what we should do with our leisure time. The Declaration of Independence refers to the “pursuit of happiness.” Mass media entertainment, if defined to include newspapers, stretches back to the 15th century in Europe and the 8th century in China. Yet as Zillmann and Vorderer (2000, p. viii) observe, “It is astounding, in fact, how little genuine scholarship and basic research have addressed questions as fundamental as … comedy … and tragedy.”

Entertainment television is a key part—even the key part—of modern mass culture, but scholars tend instead to study news and information, both domestically and internationally. Stephenson (1967, p. 206) stated, “Enough has been said to ask for far more serious regard of play, and not of information, as the primary concern of any communication theory.” Ten years later, Katz (1977, p. 113) challenged us “to take entertainment seriously.”

The elevation of news over entertainment in the study of international media carries through to textbooks, most of which concentrate on journalism (e.g., deBeer & Merrill, 2003) or news (Hachten & Scotton, 2002). This book is unique in shifting the emphasis to entertainment. In Ecuador, for example, nearly 90% of prime time programming is entertainment rather than information (Davis, 2003).

Thus this volume does not include analysis of news reporting per se, but the prime time program grids in chapters 3–12 will give readers a sense of news versus entertainment emphasis. The grids are also useful for noting the presence of imported TV programs, many of which—about one third worldwide (Banerjee, 2002)—come from the United States. Likewise, the program grids reveal the extent of sports programming in prime time. The country chapters do not attempt to discuss sports, but the psychology of watching TV sports is treated in chapter 1, while the meaning of sports as a global phenomenon is treated in chapter 13, “The Olympics.”

Observers of mass mediated culture seem to fall into two groups: critics and “celebrators” (Real, 1989, p. 31). Pessimistic critics “wring their hands over the deplorable state of the popular arts” (Real, 1989, p. 30). Social philosophers such as Jacques Ellul (1986) lament mass media's depersonalized technology. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman (1985 . . .

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