The Absence of Structural Americanization: Media System Developments in Six Affluent Democracies, 2000–2009

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

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Several comparative media researchers have hypothesized that the media systems of affluent Western democracies are becoming more and more structurally homogeneous—that they are becoming “Americanized.” This article uses data on newspaper industry revenues, commercial television revenues, Internet use, and funding for public service media from a strategic sample of six countries to test the structural version of the convergence hypothesis, looking at the period from 2000 to 2009. (The countries included are Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.) The analysis demonstrates an “absence of Americanization” as the six media systems have not become structurally more similar over the last decade. Instead, developments are summarized as a combination of (1) parallel displacements, (2) persistent particularities, and (3) the emergence of some new peculiarities. Theoretically, economic and technological forces were expected to drive convergence. The article suggests that the reason these forces have not driven convergence in recent years may be that the interplay between them have changed as part of a broader shift from the mass media, mass production, and mass markets characteristic of twentieth-century Western societies and toward the fragmented media landscapes, tailored production, and niche marketing increasingly characteristic of early-twenty-first century affluent democracies.
TidsskriftThe International Journal of Press/Politics
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)392-414
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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