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Impact of Globalization on British Television: Analytical Essay

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Discuss the impact of globalisation on British television. Does it matter whether or not there are programmes about Britain, made by British programme-makers, on British screens?

Nowadays, all around the globe, we can see globalization on television, which means every single country have their own programmes and programmes from other nationalities or formats that was not made by them. Over the years, the United States can prove that they are the country that made more shows, films, and programmes. Otherwise, the country that sells more tv formats is the Netherlands, with the Endemol Shine Group (they have more than 4,300 registered formats. In the United Kingdom, the most important company is BBC, this channel was born in 1936, The BBC was the first broadcaster in the world to provide a regular ‘high definition television service. Nowadays, BBC, with other production companies, made programmes and dramas for British and non-British people around the world, they sell the format or even the entire series. A very good example is the new series of BBC, “Dynasties”, BBC sells this entire series around the world, for example, SIC, a Portugal TV channel.

ITV and Channel 4 were and are very important in British television. ITV was born in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC. Ages later Channel 4 was born, with the mission that makes difference, with the promise that will be a channel for young people. The thing is, BBC, Channel 4 and ITV just need to have a British show for British people or is important to have some different content?

First of all, we need to consider that any programme lives for have the biggest number in audience/ views, and this creates a big challenge for all the creators around the world this fantastic industry to create more and better for have more viewers. This big industry that moves a lot of money, made this one of the industries that we spend more money on.

According to with “Contemporary British Television”, the expansion in the number of channels in the world is huge, and British people with internet access can see other products from the other side of the world. Now we can access programmes by a range of interactive devices, and access to platforms as Netflix and Amazon Prime helps in media globalization. But is Netflix and Amazon Prime television? Or a type of television? The truth is some people see drama made for television on Netflix, a good example is “Bodyguard” a series made by BBC with Netflix the first run was on BBC but after a couple of weeks, the series was available for Netflix users around the world. Another example of that co-production is the documentary “The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes” made by Netflix with BBC. These is good examples of programmes/ dramas that were made for a British production, according to of course with Netflix, but British, made for British, but available for citizens in the globe.

But this is just one example of something that British people do for the world, “Sherlock”, “The Office”, “Lovesick”, “Black Mirror”, “The Fall”, “The End of the F***ing World”, “Dead Set”, “Luther”, “The Inbetweeners”, “Broadchurch”, “Peaky Blinders”, “The IT Crowd” and “Happy Valley”, they are the most recent products made by British.

So really television matters? ‘Television is important. But not as important as the people who work in it think it is” Stephen Carter, Ofcom Chief Executive. For the people that work on television, of course, matter, it is their work. But for the people that see? For the customer? Really Matter? In fact, nowadays, television is a very important media, as information, education, and entertainment, it’s something that makes the day for old people. So, how TV can keep us informed, with news, news channels, for example, BBC News, Sky News, Sky Sports News (this is a genre of news, but keep us informed as well, but on sports section) and news programmes as Channel 4 News on Channel 4, BBC News at six on BBC. But those programmes are, educational as well, otherwise, on British television, we have educational programmes with just that proposed, for children. As entertainment on British television, we can see, some drama or programmes as “This Morning” on ITV, “Sunday Brunch” on Channel 4 and “Pointless” on BBC. Also, another big question is, it is Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other platforms television? Of course, it is different television, but in the content, we have drama and documentaries in the same format, with episodes and series with more a less the same time, 45 minutes, 1 hour. So the only thing different it is the possibility to see when we want without advertisements. Yes, television is more than documentaries and dramas. Is something that doesn’t make the oldest people feel lonely is someone, speak somewhere and speak with you about his life, or other life, or a quiz game, reality shows, chat shows, most of the time is where we discover the problems of the world (entertainment or news).

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Another question that we can ask, is Which type of programmes the United Kingdom imports to their market? As said before, Endemol is the biggest Europe producer, and most of the programmes are made by this producer some of them are “Big Brother”, “Ambulance”, “Brain”… But why British producers don’t create this type of shows, why channel as ITV, BBC and Channel 4, need to buy the format to Endemol Shine Group. The answer is simple, it’s cheaper! For example, the script is made by the original producer, they just need to adapt to the English version and adapt for players, the set is already drawn, they just need to make some adjusts to the studio, some of this shows they can record 3 shows in one day so they save a lot of money with this! Another thing that matter on this is, that some of these shows have the most views on British Tv, so it’s more money on advertisements.

But why do programmes from the other side of the world matter? The answer is simple, is really matters. Essential is the public experience, the public can live the experience on the other side of the world thru television. If British people saw an Indian programme about Indian food, the public will feel on Indians. Or imagine a drama made by Portuguese people, why the British can’t see. Of course, they can with subtitles, and British people can see and feel other communities, and don’t forget that this type of content is available in all world so British people can see the comment and appreciate content from all over the world and can improve their knowledge and interesting in different things.

Based on historical facts, in 2011, The Economist published this “Many of the world’s most popular television shows were invented in Britain. But competition is growing”. From 2011 to nowadays the competition is growing very fast, Bollywood is growing in the industry of drama and others shows, Yes, it’s real, the British market is losing for markets as the Netherlands. The programme “Who wants to be a Millionaire” in the 1990s has around 15m views in 2011 the numbers down for 5m. This is normal in this industry because as said before, in the market of British television we have a lot of competition that made the viewers change between programmes and channels. Otherwise, Britain still works very hard in unscripted programmes, like quizzes, songs competitions, and other reality shows.

In “A Future For Public Service Television: Content And Platforms In A Digital World” we can read, “Public service content outside the television world” on page 95 that sentence talks about the content for smartphones and tablets, today we can see our favourite shows in all platforms, British shows, or programmes from the other side of the world, and the public can see what they want when they want.

And this is the future on television, of course, the news still is on life in television, but programmes as quizzes, documentaries or dramas, we will see in little platforms like smartphones and laptops. The disadvantage to see on this type of platform is a drama like “Bodyguard” is the quality, because it is a small screen with fewer colours and the lowest bit rates, o the public can not feel the same experience when they decide to see on a smartphone than the television screen.

To conclude if the British programmes need to be made by British people for the British market, the globalization of the television market tells us the opposite, every single day we can see more co-productions and productions made by other productions in other countries, and formats write and develop by companies as Endemol Shine Group. In “A Future For Public Service Television: Content And Platforms In A Digital World” we can confirm this experience, that television is changing, the future of television is on smartphones, tablets and laptops, and the market on the United Kingdom changed with that because the British people can access easier. So, the challenge for British productions is to adapt and change their programmes for online platforms, but it is also good for a British citizen to see other realities.


  1. The Guardian (2015) UK TV industry and globalisation webchat – five things we learned [online] Available at:
  2. Goldsmiths University of London (2016) A Future For Public Service Television: Content And Platforms In A Digital World [online] Available at:
  3. Publisher – Faye Woods (2016) British Youth Television: Transnational Teens, Industry, Genre Williams (2003) Television: technology and cultural form John Ellis (2007) TV FAQ

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