chapter  4
15 Pages

Infotainment Inc.: the ascent of a global ideology: Daya Kishan Thussu


This chapter focuses on the growth of infotainment as a result of the worldwide commercialization of broadcast journalism, arising from the combined processes of privatization, deregulation, digitization and the opening up of new markets, which has led to a marked shift from a public-service to a ratings-conscious television news. The proliferation of all-news channels, broadcasting to a heterogeneous global audience and dependent on corporate advertising has encouraged a tendency among broadcasters to move away from a socially relevant news agenda – privileging information and education over the entertainment value of news – to a more market-led, ‘soft’ version of news, with its emphasis on consumer journalism, sports and entertainment. I discuss these changes in a global context and relate this to the specific case of television news in India – home to one of the world’s most complex media landscapes. Finally, I explore the key implications of such trends for news agendas and editorial priorities, and, more broadly, for public media, arguing that infotainment is emerging as an ideology for legitimizing US-led freemarket capitalism.