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Chapter 25: How Global is the ‘Global Media’? Analysing the Networked Urban Geographies of Transnational Media Corporations
25 How global are the ‘global media’? Analysing the networked urban geographies of transnational media corporations Allan Watson INTRODUCTION World cities research has predominantly focused on the role of advanced producer services in the formation of world city networks. However, global networking processes involve a wider variety of economic activities than advanced producer services alone. This chapter studies an alternative dimension of world city network formation, one in which transnational media corporations (TNMCs), rather than advanced producer services, perform the central role. TNMCs play a central role in globalization. First, giant TNMCs now rank amongst the largest firms in the world, with economic and cultural networks that extend throughout the world city network. In recent years, globalization, digitization, networking and deregulation have acted to remove most of the limits to their corporate media expansion, resulting in the rapid growth of the global commercial media market (Warf, 2007; Castells, 2009). Second, media organizations play a central role in the development of a global communications infrastructure that facilitates global flow of information and cross-border commercial activities. The ability of TNMCs to network globally has been enhanced by this infrastructure, in particular the Internet, which has arguably given media firms the potential to compete in a market space that is potentially borderless and global (Flew, 2007). However, for Flew (2007), one of the traps in the literature on media globalization is to assume, based upon the global reach of media technologies and the rapid growth of TNMCs, that there has been a seamless...
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