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The Advent of the Transnational TV Format Trading System: A Global Commodity Chain Analysis

Chalaby, J. (2015). The Advent of the Transnational TV Format Trading System: A Global Commodity Chain Analysis. Media, Culture and Society, 37(3), pp. 460-478. doi: 10.1177/0163443714567017


This article argues that the format business transformed into a trading system in the 2000s, system being defined as a singular transnational space structured by networks of interdependent economic agents, firms, institutions and places. Following the global commodity chain/global value chain approach set out by Immanuel Wallerstein and developed by Gary Gereffi, this article then examines each dimension of the global TV format commodity chain that runs through this trading system. Beginning with the governance structure, this article counter-intuitively asserts that despite the current boom in TV production, it is a buyer-driven chain with power resting firmly in the hands of those making the acquisitions: the broadcasters. Considering the chain’s geographical configuration, this article identifies three tiers of format exporters and specific trade routes along which most TV formats travel. These findings enable us to reassess the claims made by the cosmopolitanization thesis about the nature of media globalization. Contrary to this thesis, this article asserts the need to comprehend media globalization within the context of an expanding capitalist world-system, and shows that the new transnational TV format trade and its commodity chain replicate the inequalities and power structures of former trading systems.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2015
Publisher Keywords: cosmopolitanism, global commodity chain analysis, International broadcasting, media globalization, transnational television, TV formats, TV production, world-system theory
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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