Big Brother pp 33-59 | Cite as

The World is Watching

  • Jonathan Bignell


Television programming’s ability to cross national and cultural borders has long been acknowledged, and this chapter considers the reasons for broadcasters’ desire to produce versions of Reality TV formats around the world. The chapter discusses the critical frameworks and assumptions that make different kinds of sense of the international popularity of this form of programming. The first requirement for Reality TV programmes to be watched in different nations and cultures is the availability of television sets on which to watch them. The global spread of television sets and television distribution systems across the developed world appear at first sight to provide evidence for postmodernist theories of contemporary media culture which emphasize homogeneity (Bignell 2000b). From the middle of the 1980s transnational television flows have increased due to the use of distribution technologies including cable and satellite and the increase in the variety of distribution systems that can deliver programmes such as live streaming over the Internet. Writers on the phenomenon of modernity have argued that modernity reorganizes time, space and social agency, and that the mass media are crucial to this process (Thompson 1995; Giddens 1995). Material production, social control and cultural activity can be acted out independently of local times and space.


Live Streaming Soap Opera Game Show Cable Channel Executive Producer 
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© Jonathan Bignell 2005

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  • Jonathan Bignell

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