Understanding Media Globalization

A Global Value Chain Analysis

Authored by: Jean K. Chalaby

The Routledge Companion to Global Television

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138724341
eBook ISBN: 9781315192468
Adobe ISBN:


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The research problem this chapter seeks to elucidate is as follows: in which sense do the media industries form a global system? And if the media work that way, which forces bind companies together across borders? This chapter argues that the answer lies in the formation of global value chains (GVCs). Outsourcing and vertical disintegration are reshaping these industries that increasingly function as transnational production networks, bringing together sets of businesses collaborating on the creation, production and commercialization of cultural products. The cross-border partnerships have created transnational interdependence among companies, whereby firms are embedded in cross-border production networks, competition is deterritorialized and production processes are transnationalized. The ‘global’ in global media system, this chapter finally argues, stems from the coordinating effect of GVCs: they are at once a structural reality – media industries are globalizing because value-adding sequences have become international – and a structuring reality – as corporations and national markets are increasingly coordinated by GVCs.

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