chapter  9
20 Pages

National Culture: A Contradiction in Terms?

More and more, television is becoming transnationalized under the influence of, sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory, economic and political forces. Audiences’ expectations are ratcheted up as they are exposed to highbudget productions, and accordingly higher and higher programme costs need to be amortized in larger and larger markets which increasingly cross national boundaries. Cost-spreading is achieved through programme sales, co-productions and all manner of inventive twinning, presale and co-venture agreements (see Collins, Garnham and Locksley, 1988; Porter, 1985; and Renaud and Litman, 1985). Economic pressures leading to transnationalization are matched by political pressures, including the efforts of European institutions, such as the European Commission, which seek greater economic and/or political integration between hitherto separate and sovereign states. The single European market in goods and services, including television (by 1992), is but one, albeit the most ambitious and comprehensive, integrative project (see inter alia Commission of the European Communities, 1984 and 1986; and Schwartz, 1985). The transnationalization of culture is both a cause and a consequence of the political and economic processes through which television is becoming transnationalized.