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A Case of Asynchronous Media Change in the 1950s: How US-American TV Series Came to Early West German Television

Andre Dechert | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The influence of radio and cinema on the first television program designs in West Germany, and other nations, can be explained by a theory which has recently been put forward by communication scholar Gabriele Balbi. According to Balbi, in a first step new media imitate old media in manifold ways before they develop characteristics of their own and become a truly new medium. However, the ‚producers‘ of early West German national television were not only looking to radio or cinema for clues on how to design the program of Deutsches Fernsehen (DFS), West Germany’s first and only national television channel from 1954 to 1961/63. DFS‘ executives and executive employees were also looking to other nations, particularly to those – like the United States – that were years ahead in television’s evolution. Especially the implementation of the entertainment series in West German television is strongly rooted in visits to the United States and newly gathered information and impressions. To exemplify this argument, I delve into examples which demonstrate that West German television executives and executive employees were either creating television series on the basis of US-American television series or were broadcasting the latter after synchronization. In this context, major findings of diffusion research constitute a useful addition to current theories on media change.

The Return of the Cultural Exception and its Impact on International Agreements

Marlen Bartsch | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This essay examines the influence of the French concept of the “cultural exception” on European media policy and international agreements. After briefly reviewing the historical background of the cultural exception in France, the essay describes how demands for the cultural exception and those for diversity affect inter-/transnational agreements within the European Union and around the world. Special focus is placed on the current secret EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) negotiations that nearly failed because of France’s insistence that media and culture be exempted. The author argues that the concept of the “cultural exception” has been revived in recent years. However, due to the dual character of media (which is both a cultural and economic good), and the lack of a global media policy, the culture and trade debate will continue.

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