Localizing the global: successful strategies for selling television programs to China

Article


Weber, Ian. 2003. "Localizing the global: successful strategies for selling television programs to China." International Communication Gazette. 65 (3), pp. 273-290. https://doi.org/10.1177/0016549203065003004
Article Title

Localizing the global: successful strategies for selling television programs to China

Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorWeber, Ian
Journal TitleInternational Communication Gazette
Journal Citation65 (3), pp. 273-290
Number of Pages18
Year2003
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0016549203065003004
Web Address (URL)http://gaz.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/65/3/273
Abstract

Globalization of Asian markets has focused attention on the flow of western cultural products into Asian countries as they attempt to manage global economics at a local level. Countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and China have responded to what is deemed western cultural hegemony by initiating protectionist media policies to limit perceived negative influences of foreign cultural imperialism on their societies and maintain appropriate levels of cultural autonomy. China, in particular, introduced a raft of media and cultural policy changes throughout the mid- and late 1990s in preparation for its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2001, as a way of balancing modernization and tradition under the banner of `spiritual civilization'. The key to these strategies is the limiting inappropriate western cultural products, while simultaneously strengthening its domestic television industry through a range of strategies, including the selective importation of products from culturally sensitive overseas Chinese and favoured western television programme suppliers. This article examines the strategies employed from 1995-2002 by four television operators (CETV, AOL Time Warner, News Corporation and MTV) to access China's highly regulated mediascape. These strategies are defined by the common element of localization, which links into the main tenets of the Chinese government's spiritual civilization programme. However, these localizing strategies manifested in many and varied ways, as organizations attempted to adhere to the government's discursive construction of `common cultural tradition' and `common economic philosophy'. The success in forging the local (values) with the global (economics) relies on the government's ability to create, mediate and sustain social perceptions of Chinese modernity through the discursive construction of what Appadurai refers to as `imagined worlds'. Today, the concept of an `imagined China' is reflected in the flexible frameworks found in China's current cultural and economic management models, evoked through the formalization and implementation of spiritual civilization and which manifest within government media policy and regulations.

KeywordsChina; globalization; localization; programming; television
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360299. Creative and professional writing not elsewhere classified
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