This chapter assesses the main drivers of patterns of trade in audiovisual goods. It condenses a study on audiovisual trade and policy carried out by the author for the OECD (Doyle, 2012, forthcoming). The audiovisual sector, which covers both television and film, is a significant component of the digital creative economy. Not only are television and film important in respect of employment and wealth creation, but these industries are also highly significant in cultural terms and as such are prone to a range of special policy measures and interventions designed to stimulate and support local content production in these industries. Not surprisingly then, international trade in audiovisual goods and services is affected by a range of underlying economic and market factors, by public policies and by changing technologies. In the early days of broadcasting, television systems tended to develop very much within national territories and were shaped by national circumstances and regulations. Even into the twenty-first century, television broadcasting remains a surprisingly national phenomenon (Morris and Waisbord, 2001), but, thanks to advances in distribution technology, the television industry has become somewhat more internationalized over time (Chalaby, 2005). A major force for change has been the arrival of extra delivery channels. With the advent of cable and satellite and, more recently, with growing use of digital compression techniques and the development of the Internet, a situation of spectrum scarcity which had previously constrained market entry into broadcasting has now been transformed and replaced by one of relative abundance.
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