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Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content

Western Media in China, India, and Japan

Ulrike Rohn

What media content attracts audiences across cultures and what does not? What does the cross-cultural audience demand depend on? The author takes a new approach to understanding cultural barriers to the success of foreign media content by analyzing the entry strategies of Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corporation, and Bertelsmann with regard to China, India, and Japan in terms of their respective localization efforts. In-depth interviews with companies’ representatives give an insight into how they view the need for locally-produced media in these countries. The author develops and employs the Lacuna and Universal Model that provides a new theoretical classification of reasons for the cross-cultural success and failure of media content, as well as the Vertical Barrier Chain that locates cultural barriers in the wider context of legal, political, and economic barriers to successful entry into foreign media markets.
The Author: Ulrike Rohn is Researcher at the Institute of Journalism and Communication at the University of Tartu (Estonia). Previously, she researched and taught at the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Jena (Germany), where she also earned her Ph.D. She has worked and lived in many different countries, including China, India, and Japan.