Figures and Tables


Electronic colonialism theory 18
Relationships in the capitalist world economy 25
Breakdown of nations in the three world-system zones, 2010 27
Declining foreign bureaus, 2010 45
Walter Rostow’s stages of economic growth 46
ITU major sectors, 2010 107
A satellite orbiting Earth 109
Examples of OECD’s mass media research reports, 2010 120
Top four search engines in the US, 2009 134
Global media leaders, 2010 149
Time Warner and AOL’s strategic goals, 2002 152
Major Time Warner properties, 2010 154
Major Disney properties, 2010 158
Major Viacom properties, 2010 166
News Corporation holdings, 2010 170
Major NBC Universal properties, 2010 175
Top 10 major communication stakeholders by revenue in 2008 according to Nordicom 189
Non-US and EU major communications stakeholders 197
Disney tears up our heritage 206
Big five music companies, 2010 232
MTV worldwide, 2010 237
MTV’s global youth culture, 2010 239
CNN’s foreign and domestic competitors, 2010 246
Cable networks expanded, 2010 251
Broadcasting Board of Governors’ activities, 2010 265
Global news agencies, 2010 275
The market size of Japanese animations, 2005 313
Box office revenues for feature-length animations in Japan, 2005 313
Exports of Japanese TV programs by region, 2005 317
Exports of Japanese TV programs by genre, 2005 317
Main importers of Indian films in the late 1990s, 2009 318
The breakdown of Bollywood film revenues, 2005 319
Exports of Korean audiovisual products, 2009 327
Top 10 advertising companies in 2009 according to Advertising Age International, 2009 336
Top 10 global advertisers by expenditure in 2008 according to Advertising Age International 337
The 12 most important communication companies in the world, 2010 354


Japanese films remade or to be remade by Hollywood, 1977–2004 315
Domestic spending in Japan’s filmed entertainment industry, 2005 315
Overseas earnings of Indian films, 2001–8 320
Domestic spending in Indian-filmed entertainment industry, 2002–5 321
Oversea population of Indian diasporas, 2009 322
Exports of cultural products in Korea, 2007 326
Importers of Korean cultural products by product categories, 2009 326
Domestic spending in Korea’s filmed entertainment industry, 2001ߝ5 328


Junhao Hong is a professor in the Department of Communication, State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also a Research Associate of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. From 2004 to 2006 he was President of the Chinese Communication Association. His research areas include international communication, media and society, and the impact of new communication/information technology. He has published several authored and edited books, dozens of book chapters, and a number of research articles in various international referred journals. He is an expert on Asian communication trends and issues.

Lawrence Pintak is Founding Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Previously, he was Director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo and publisher/co-editor of the online journal Arab Media and Society (). He is the author of The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Change (I. B. Tauris, 2010), and several other books about the media and international affairs. Pintak is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and he has contributed to many of the world’s leading news organizations in his 30-year career in journalism on four continents. His work regularly appears in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Columbia Journalism Review online, Daily Star Beirut, Arab News and a variety of publications around the world.

Alexa Robertson is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University (Sweden), and teaches in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she is also part of a group working on Transformations in Screen Culture. Her research focus is on the comparative analysis of television news broadcasts from different European countries, in a theoretical context of globalization and identity. Her book, Mediated Cosmopolitanism, is being published by Polity Press in 2010.

Nancy Snow is Associate Professor of public diplomacy at Syracuse University where she teaches in the dual degree masters program in public diplomacy sponsored by the S. I. Newhouse School of Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. At the time of writing she is on leave as Associate Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, and Adjunct Professor of Communications in the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. She is the author or co-editor of six books, including the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (with Philip Taylor), Propaganda, Inc. and Information War. She has taught public diplomacy at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and consulted with many other nations on their rebranding efforts, including Israel, Canada, Spain, Germany, and England. She is senior fellow in the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and lifetime member of the Public Diplomacy Council at Georgetown University and Fulbright Association.


After September 11, 2001 the peaceful satisfaction of many nations that began with the end of the Cold War and the demise of communism came to an early and abrupt end, foreshadowing the rise of a new enemy – global terrorism. Along with this new elusive enemy came new wars and a profound increase in global communication. From embedded journalists with videophones covering the wars, to new media outlets, such as Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiyya, and Al-Hurra, to photos being sent home and around the world on the internet, the role and scope of international media shifted dramatically. This third edition captures the major aspects of this new and in many cases disturbing era, updates the materials contained in earlier editions, plus contains totally new chapters on the importance of global public diplomacy (Chapter 4), the European scene (Chapter 9), the volatile Arabic media scene (Chapter 13), and China/Asia (Chapter 14).

This book portrays international communication from differing perspectives – it examines a number of major trends, stakeholders, and global activities, while promoting no particular philosophical or ideological school, whether of the left or the right. Rather, it seeks to provide information about major international trends of a theoretical, cultural, economic, public policy, or foreign relations nature. Moreover, in order to provide a framework for understanding the interconnection between the international communication environment and the global economy, Global Communication documents major historical events that connect the two. It also highlights communication industry mergers and acquisitions that frequently transcend national boundaries.

Just as the printing press and the assembly line were necessary events for the industrial revolution, so also the internet and modern communication technologies are essential for the international communication revolution. This book traces the influence and roles of major global communication technologies such as satellites, videophones, and personal computers. Collectively, these and other technologies have transformed the international communication environment, making possible the advent of global media systems such as CNN (Cable News Network), MTV (Music Television), the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and the internet.

As part of the background needed to examine global media and related sectors, it is important to understand the history of the international communication debate, which developed initially within the halls of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This debate about the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) is important because it identified two significantly different philosophies, each supported by a different set of scholars and nations. Because the debate reflects much of the concern about the philosophical, cultural, and artistic threats that are of paramount concern to many nation-states, the phenomenon of “electronic colonialism” – the impact and influence of Hollywood feature films and television, plus other media from industrial nations – is also detailed. One large and vocal group supports a free press perspective without regard to its economic and cultural consequences; the other group supports a more interventionist approach, calling on governments and other organizations to be concerned with essentially noncommercial dimensions of the international communication environment. Because of the roles each group played, the policy positions, agencies, and leaders on both sides of the debate are examined extensively. Several new major global stakeholders, including the significant role of the global advertising industry, are also detailed.

A second major theme of the book concerns the economic implications of international communication. Although the economies of the international communications industries cannot be separated from governmental and cultural policy debates, it is important to recognize that most communication organizations are independent, active, commercial, and aggressive players in the international communication arena. They have global influence and they affect the communication environment both at home and abroad. As such, attention is also given to communication enterprises such as the Hollywood feature film industry; media giants such as Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Bertelsmann, Sony, and News Corporation; as well as the internet, international wire services, such as the Associated Press and Reuters, and several multinational advertising agencies. As will be demonstrated, some of these organizations appear to be oblivious to the global policy debate and are willing to let the marketplace alone determine the winners and losers, whereas others are very concerned about the non-economic aspects of “trade” emerging from international communication.

All major global multimedia conglomerates are based in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Most of the concern about cultural issues emanates from nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Therefore, a world-system theory perspective is outlined in Chapter 1 to decipher some of the structural cleavages in the international communication field. Throughout this book, electronic colonialism and world-system theories are identified as a crucial part for the discussion and analysis concerning global stakeholders in the communication sector. These two theories help unify the various stakeholders as well as identify their collective impact on globalization.

Any book about international communication would be deficient if it examined only one of these two major themes. A review focused solely on NWICO without mention of CNN or the BBC, for example, would ignore the contemporary reality and economic aspects of global communication. Similarly, a book that emphasized the internet and other new communication options and opportunities to the exclusion of the philosophical debate would fail to provide the necessary historical and cultural perspectives. To a surprising extent, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union have shifted the debate in favor of the trade-focused parties. Only by detailing major themes and examining their interrelationships can a student of international communication come to understand the complexities of the global communication scene and the implications of the rapid change in global communication landscape that continues on a daily basis worldwide.

We should not underestimate the nature and depth of the transformation taking place in global communication. The era of the Enlightenment (c. 1600–1800) contributed to the intellectual transformation of Western societies, and so today we are going through a similarly profound alteration in our societies, fueled by the major structural changes in global communication, primarily the internet. Just as the major contributors to the Enlightenment era were Francis Bacon, John Locke, Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sir Isaac Newton, Catherine the Great, and others, so also today we have a critical mass of change agents who are forming the intellectual nucleus to create a new type of society with their profound insights and innovations. People such as Marshall McLuhan, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Charles Saatchi, Tim Berners-Lee, Margaret Whitman, Carol Bartz, Jim Balsillie, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, and others are collectively providing the intellectual architecture and means to transform and create a new information era. Hundreds more working in their homes, laboratories, or universities in various nations around the world have contributed to the ongoing revolution in international communication. Yet few of these individuals responsible for creating a new media framework or paradigm have truly understood the long-run ramifications of their contributions on the type of society we will have in 50 years’ time. In all likelihood, our future society will be dramatically different from the industrial society of even a mere 60 years ago at the end of World War II.

It is important to keep in mind that this intellectual transformation is not limited to economics, politics, trade, or education; rather, it will affect all of these areas as well as transform our concept of self and of community. Yet one major problem with this transformation is appearing already: this new society changed by the media is located only in select parts of the globe; primarily in those core nations that have already benefited from the previous industrial era. This overall intellectual transformation is occurring at the same time a large number of poor nations are still attempting to come to grips with enormous social problems ranging from illiteracy, poverty, subjugation, famine, civil wars, and poor health, particularly HIV/AIDS. As we move forward into a new era transformed by global media, one might also consider dichotomies created by the reality of a relatively small cluster of nations with full access to the internet, digital television, and wireless telephony, and, at the other extreme millions of people on the other side of the “digital divide” who have yet to make a phone call, or read a newspaper, or use a PC “mouse.” One cannot be certain how parts of a world so intrinsically linked to media will interact with the vast numbers of individuals who so far have lived without it; we will be watching closely.


I would like to thank my friends who tested the materials and provided useful feedback and suggestions. I also want to thank Brenda McPhail for her assistance, patience, and feedback. I also want to thank Rebecca and Ryan McPhail for keeping me abreast of the significance of new media, blogging YouTube, MTV, and the latest in technologies, like the iPod. Kerry Marks undertook several duties in excellent fashion relating to this new edition. Finally, I want to thank my students who survived earlier drafts of the new materials.

Thomas L. McPhail