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The rise of britain's super-indies: Policy-making in the age of the global media market

Chalaby, J. (2010). The rise of britain's super-indies: Policy-making in the age of the global media market. International Communication Gazette, 72(8), pp. 675-693. doi: 10.1177/1748048510380800


This article analyses Britain’s remarkable performance in the European television industry. In the space of a few years the UK has risen to become the world’s leading exporter of TV formats and the world’s second exporter, behind the Unites States, of finished TV programmes. The first section compares and contrasts British TV exports data with that of France, before examining the emergence of London as Europe’s media hub. The second part argues that this significant progress is essentially due to deft policy making. In 2003, the British government operated a strategic shift in favour of content producers and created a new intellectual property regime. This regime has enabled producers to keep hold of their rights and become asset-owning businesses, eventually giving rise to a new breed of production companies: the super-indies. This paper shows how these super-indies have acquired the scale to compete in an international TV market and drive today’s British TV exports. Contrasting again Britain’s performance in the European TV trade with France, this article also analyses historical influences and claims it is Britain’s imperial past that helps her performance in the European TV marketplace. In addition to the globalization of the English language and the cultural affinities this nurtures, the trading heritage of the British Empire has facilitated Britain’s political elite’s understanding of the role that trade and the market can play in the creative industries, and enabled them to frame a broadcasting policy that is adapted to the global age.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: British TV exports; Broadcasting policy; comparative media studies; content rights; French TV exports; independent TV production sector; intellectual property; super-indies; transnational TV formats
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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