No. 70 Television traffic - a one-way street?

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1 No. 70 Television traffic - a one-way street? A survey and analysis of the international flow of television programme material Unesco

2 Request for permission to reproduce the Reports in full or in part should be addressed to Unesco s Office of Publications. The following reports and papers have so far been issued and are obtainable from National Distributors of Unesco Publications or from the Department of Mass Communication, Unesco, Place de Fontenoy, Paris. REPORTS AND PAPERS ON MASS COMMUNCATON Number 21 Current Mass Communication Research - Bibliography of Books and Articles on Mass Communication Published since 1 January 1955, December Periodicals for New Literates: Editorial Methods, lune (out of print). 23 Cultural Radio Broadcasts. Some Experiences, December (out of print). 24 Periodicals for New Literates. Seven Case Histories, November 1951 (out of print). 25 Adult Education Groups and Audio- Visual Techniques, The Kinescope andadult Education, 1958 (out of print). 21 Visual Aids in Fundamental Education and Community Development, 1959 (out of print). 28 Film Programmes for the Young, 1959 (out of print). 29 Film-making on a Low Budget, 1960 (out of print). 30 Developing Mass Media in Asia, 1960.(out of print). 31 The nfluence of the Cinema on Children and Adolescents. An Annotated nternational Bibliography, 1961.(out of print). 32 Film and Television in the Service of Opera and Ballet and of Museums, 1961 (out of print). 33 Mass Media in the Developing Countries. A Unesco Report to the United Nations, (out of print). 34 Film Production by nternational Co-oreration World Film Directory. Agencies Concerned with Educational, Scientific and Cultural Films, (out of print). 36 Methods of Encouraging the Production and Distribution of Short Films for Theatrical Use, (out of print). 31 Developing nformation Media in Africa. Press, Radio, Film, Television, (out of print). 38 Social Education through Television, (out of print). 39 The Teaching Film in Primary Education, 1963.(out of print). 40 Study of the Establishment of National Centres for Cataloguing of Films and Television Programmes, 1963 (out of print). 41 Space Communication and the Mass Media (out of print). 42 Screen education. Teaching a critical approach to cinema and television, The Effects of Television on Children and Adolescents, Selected List of Catalogues - for. Short Films and Filmstrips Edition Professional Training for Mass Communication, 1965.(out of print). 46 Rural Mimeo Newspapers, Books for the Developing Countries: Asia, Africa, Radio Broadcasting serves rural development, Radio and television in the service of education and development in Asia, Television and the social education of women, An African experiment in radio forums for rural development. Ghana, 1964/ Book development in Asia. A report on the production and distribution of books in the region, Number 53 Communication sate1jites for education. science and culture, mm film for adult audiences, Television for higher technical education of the employed. A first report on a pilot project in Poland, Book development in Africa. Problems and perspectives, Script writing for short films, Removing taxes on knowledge, Mass media in society. The need of research Broadcasting from space, Principles of cultural co-operation, Radio and television in literacy The mass media in a violent world, The r6le of film in development The practice of Mass Communication: Some lessons fiom research research A guide to satellite communication Television for Higher Technical Education of Workers. FinalReport on a Pilot Project in Poland Cinematographic nstitutions Mass media in an African context. 1913

3 Television traffic - a one-way street? A survey and analysis of the international flow of television programme material by Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio V k s Unesco

4 English Edition SBN French Edition SBN Composed in the Workshops of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Z Place de Fontenoy, 7S700 - Pans, France Printed by Boudin, Pans Prinred in France 0 Unesco 1974 [B]

5 Preface The international flow of mass communication has been one of the focal areas in recent Unesco meetings on mass communication research. n 1969 a meeting of experts on mass communication and society, convened by Unesco in Montreal, stressed the r61e of the mass media in conveying information and in helping to form attitudes concerning other people and other countries: "While the media have the potential for improving and extending international understanding, intercultural communication does not necessarily or automatically lead to better international understanding. On the contrary, the opinion was expressed that what has come to be known as the 'free flow of information' at the present time is often in fact a 'one-way' flow rather than a true exchange of information. The same problem appears in the recommendations of an international panel of consultants convened by Unesco in 1971 to outline "Proposals for an nternational Programme of Communication Research": "What are the possibilities and limitations of international communications networks? What are the barriers and obstacles to the 'free flow of information'? How much is really an equal exchange of communication, and how much is a one way 'pipeline' from the industrially developed world to the developing countries? What should be national policy regarding 'cultural privacy' to protect the fragile pattern of autochthonous cultures against the massive intrusion of foreign mass media contents? Where is the demarcation line between a 'protective screening' and a harmful 'isolationist' policy which would deprive the nation of the cultural achievements of the 'universal' world?.. What happens within the pipeline? What are the shapes of networks? And what are the controlling factors on the flow of information across them? These are questions which will have to be answered by international study in order to give the broad picture into which national studies can logically fit". (2) n support of this programme of international study Unesco has provided financial support to two interrelated projects carried out in Finland. The first involved the production of an international inventory of the composition of television programmes, particularly from the point of view of programme material imported to a country from outside, combined with a survey of the international networks for sales and exchanges of programme material for television. This study has been carried out at the University of Tampere, and the present publication is mainly devoted to reporting its results. The second project has beenan international symposium, organized through the Finnish National Commission for Unesco at the University of Tampere in May The second part of this publication contains the essence of that Symposium. The authors are both affiliated with the nstitute of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Tampere, Finland. Professor Kaarle Nordenstreng, its Director, also participated in the Montreal meeting of 1969 and is a member of the international advisory panel of consultants on communication research to Unesco. Dr. Tapio Varis, Researcher of the Finnish Academy of Sciences, has been working on several aspects of international mass communication; his recent dissertation covered the whole spectrum of international broadcasting. ~~~~ ~ 1. Mass Media in Society; The Need of Research, Unesco Reports and Papers on Mass Communication No. 59 (19701, p Unesco document COM/MD/20 (19711, p

6 Table of contents Page Preface PART. NTERNATONAL NVENTORY OF TELEVSON PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND THE FLOW OF TV PROGRAMMES BETWEEN NATONS by Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis Chapter. The scope and methods of the study A brief history of the study Countries. data sources and programme categories Limitations of the study Chapter 1. The structure of TV programming mported versus domestically produced programmes A global view of TV programming Detailed results of the programme structure inventory North America Latin America and the Caribbean Western Europe Eastern Europe Asia and the Pacific The Near East and Africa Chapter 11. nternational flow of TV programmes National exports and sales Programme exports from the United States Programme exports from the United Kingdom. France and the Federal Republic of Germany Programme exports from other countries Exchanges through broadcasting unions Global patterns of the flow of TV programmes.... PART 1. ANALYSS AND DSCUSSON OF THE NTERNATONAL FLOW OF TV MATERAL Chapter V. Contributions to the Symposium on the nternational Flow of Television Programmes held at Tampere. Finland. May Dr. Urho Kekkonen. President of the Republic of Finland. Mr. Hamdy Kandil. the Arab Republic of Egypt..... Professor Elihu Katz. srael Proressor Herbert. Schiller. the United States of America. Professor Dallas W. Smythe. Canada Dr. Klaus Vieweg. the German Democratic Republic

7 Page Chapter V - Summary and discussion by Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis APPENDX. STATEMENT OF CONCLUSONS AND RECOMMENDATONS SSUED BY THE SYMPOSUM ON THE NTERNATONAL FLOW OF TELEVSON PROGRAMMES HELD AT THE UNVERSTY OF TAMPERE N FNLAND, May, APPENDM 11. LST OF PARTCPANTS

8 Part 1. nternational nventory of Television Programme Structure and the Flow of lv Programmes Between Nations Chapter THE SCOPE AND METHODS OF THE STUDY 1.1 A BREF HSTORY OF THE STUDY This particular study dates back to early 1971, when two Finnish colleagues in the field of communication research became interested in documenting the international flow of mass communication materials and particularly of television programmes. n February 1971 the Head of Research at the Finnish Broadcasting Company at that time, Dr. Nordenstreng, and an instructor in journalism and mass communication at the University of Tampere, Mr. Varis, designed a mail questionnaire for an "nternational inventory of television programme structure" and distributed it to nearly 80 countries, to be filled in by those responsible for TV programming. The institutions behind this "two-men enterprise" were the Research nstitute of the University of Tampere - through the co-operation of its director, Dr. Yrj6 Littunen - and the Finnish Broadcasting Company, whose co-operation was not limited to t!ie department for research and long-range planning; particular support was given to the study also by the department of foreign relations and by the Director of Radio, Nlr. Eino S. Repo, who at that time was President of the 0.. R. T. The motivation for such an inventory was a natural consequence of the discrepancy between the growing importance of international mass communication throughout the world, on the one hand, and the lack of "hard data" indicating the real state of affairs, on the other. Much had been written, for example, about the "global village", and some writers had introduced terms such as "cultural imperialism", but there was little documentation in quantitative terms or on a global scale concerning e. g. the composition of television programmes in various countries or the "balance of exchange'' between countries in this area of communication commodities. (1) The original problem of the study was simply to discover, within a framework of internationally comparable categories, what was the crude composition of TV programmes in different types of societies and what were the proportions of domestically produced and imported programmes in the "TV output profile". Strange as it may sound, at that time even such elementary information was either missing or at best fragmentary. The first harvest of the global inventory was quite scanty: by the end of May 1971, a properly filled-in questionnaire had been received back from no more than 11 countries. However, even these results, as reported at an international symposium ("New frontiers of television") in Bled, Yugoslavia, in June 1971, (2) served to indicate significant tendencies in world television. After obtaining an encouraging response to the pilot stage of the study, the authors decided to continue by adding more countries to the sample; the next goal consisted of some countries representing various political and cultural systems and developmental stages. Up to that time, the study 1. Among the few social scientists who made serious approaches to the problem are Herbert. Schiller (Mass Communications and American Empire, New York 1969) and Spartak Beglow (Millionaires Create the Opinion of Millions, Frankfurt am Main 1971). Some systematic facts 'of TV programming are included in the "Annual worldwide TV survey" Communications, Movie-TV-Marketing (Tokyo 1971) and since 1971 also in the Unesco Statistical Yearbook Paris 1972). 2. Tapio Varis, "Approaching international inventory of television programme structure: preliminary report of a pilot study" (18 pp. ). 7

9 had depended completely on the help given it by the Finnish Broadcasting Company and the University of Tampere - and on the "surplus interest" of the researchers themselves. n early 1972, a research grant of $5,000 from Unesco changed the nature of this enterprise decisively. t was now possible to do some travelling and hire some auxiliary assistance, and Mr. Varis was able to devote his full time and attention to the project. Furthermore, the original inventory, in which the emphasis was on describing the composition of TV programmes in individual countries, was supplemented by a survey of the international "pipelines" mediating TV programmes between countries, i. e. the international systems of sales and exchange. The study was completed in early 1973, by which time more than 50 countries were ineluded in the inventory. Major systems of international programme sales and exchange were also studied, although in some cases access to basic information proved impossible, due either to the lack of any systematic bookkeeping or to conflicting commer- cia1 and political interests. t may be noted that even if the study finally amounted to a nearly comprehensive survey, it was never designed - or expected by Unesco - to become an exhaustive inven- tory covering all TV stations and exchange networks of the world. Thus the present study should be seen as an ad hoc enterprise which has been carried out to complement and stimulate the regular accumulation of official statistical data gathered by Unesco. A comprehensive report on the study was submitted to Unesco and published in the report series of the Research nstitute of the University of Tampere (No. 20/1973, 264 pages) in April (1) The present report is a condensed version of the original, which contains much more detailed information about individual countries than has been possible to include here. n this report the emphasis is on an overall global picture, This picture, however, is not less accurate in the present version than that outlined in the comprehensive report. 1.2 COUNTRES, DATA SOURCES AND PR OG R AMM E CAT EG ORES The final number of countries for which at least one TV station or channel has been included in the programme structure inventory is fifty (a list is to be found in Table 2). These are fairly unevenly distributed across different areas since for instance North America and Europe (both Western and Eastern) are included almost exhaustively, whereas there are only five countries representing the whole continent of Africa. But if we consider only those countries where television has been established, the present sample of 50 countries proves highly sufficient: in the beginning of the 70's there was almost 250 million TV sets in these countries, equivalent to some 90 per cent of the world total ( million around ; by this year it has certainly exceeded 300 million). Table 1 summarizes the global distribution of TV receivers and the estimated size of TV audience in various parts of the world as compared with the number of TV sets in use in the 50 countries ofthis study. t may be concluded that, as far as the inclusion of countries is concerned, the inventory has been universal enough to reveal the global trends in TV programming. But there is often another problem of selection to be faced within a country : there may be several national and/or local stations operating partly or completely independently of each other. t was not always possible to submit such a complex national system to a comprehensive survey for the purpose of this study; instead, a national sample was made covering fewer stations, and an estimate of the national average was based on the analysis of their programming structure. Such was the procedure e.g. in the particularly complex case of the U. S. A. ; this national analysis was carried out for the authors by Professor Thomas Guback at the nstitute of Communications Research, University of llinois. For another complex TV country, the USSR, it was decided to select three nationally representative examples : the Central Television, broadcast from Moscow throughout the country during certain hours, the Leningrad station and the Estonian station. Consequently, the picture given by this study of the profile of TV programming around the world may be presumed to be fairly representative: there is no reason why one should not be able to rely OD the overall picture revealed by the results. n this connexion reference must be made to the problem posed by the system of school television or "official" educational television; in some countries it occupies programme time of the normal channels - and more or less merges with the rest of programming - while in other countries it is run as a separate service (on a separate channel). Since it was not possible to make a careful survey of educational television systems for this study, the present inventory is to a certain degree unsystematic in this respect : formal educational programmes have usually been included but sometimes left out (e.g. in srael). The published programme statistics of TV stations - if there were any - were mostly useless for this study since they all employed different systems of categorization. Furthermore, they 1. t formed at the same time the main part of the doctoral dissertation of Mr. Tapio Varis, accepted by the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere in May Copies of this comprehensive report are available for $8 at the Research nstitute of the University of Tampere, SF-33 Tampere 10, Finland. 8

10 often were designed to impress rather than inform, i.e. the statistical data were treated as another means of sales promotion. And what is most crucial in the present case, the "yearbook statistics" usually completely overlook the origin of the programmes, i.e. information as to whether programmes are domestically produced or foreign and from which countries they have been imported. As has already been mentioned, the inventory of programme structure was carried out using a questionnaire designed for this purpose. The questionnaire grouped the output of a TV station or a channel into the 13 programme categories listed below (the verbatim brief form used in the questionnaire is given first and complemented here by some clarifications) : 1. Regular daily news, news bulletins and commentaries. The category may also include brief reports of sports results, when these are not separately identified by time length in programme schedules or niven - in the statistics of TV-stations. 2. Current affairs, political broadcasts, urgent broadcasts on special occasions (crisis, space flights etc.). This category also includes press conferences and magazine-format programmes. 3. Documentaries (informational films, talks etc. ). E.g. these include all in-depth treatments of specific subjects, those concerning the sciences or the arts, and all social programmes which are not of current affairs type. Programmes of historical or technical content are also included in this category. 4. Educational and school TV. School TV includes television courses, formal school programmes usually for credit, often integrated into institutional curricula. 5. Sports (match results and coverage of games). This category includes physical exercise and Yoga demonstrations, fishing, hiking, recreation, card playing, etc. 6. Series films and repetitive plays (light fictional entertainment). All situation comedies, Westerns, mysteries, hospital dramas, soap operas, detective and police dramas, etc., are included provided that they are repetitive, that there is some common factor in each part (person, plot, family, group, etc. 1, and that they have some kind of a plot. Some exceptions, however, occurred. For example such presentations as "The Wives of Henry V" by the BBC, which are composed of several parts but are classified as drama, were included in the category of drama. Some programmes which in Europe are regarded as entertainment serials, such as "The Forsyte Saga" from Great Britain, go on the air in the United States through the National Educational Television as historical programmes. 7. Long films (movies). This category includes films previously released (or to be released) for normal theatrical distribution. 8. Entertainment shows (songs festivals, quizzes, etc. ). This category includes such programmes as talk shows, variety shows, travelogues, interviews of stars and celebrities, "hodgepodge" hours (even if some parts are "serious"). 9. Drama. Programmes in this category include serious drama, modern drama, adaptations. n these programmes th,e script, acting, and direction give evidence of an attention to detail and perfection far surpassing the quality usually appearing in category 6 (see above). 10. Folk tradition (folklore). This category refers to programmes in the folk tradition or centering on ethnic or racial minorities. 11. Children's and teenagers' programmes. This category - - includes cartoons, etc. Occasionally these programmes overlap with category 6 (serials). 12. Religious programmes. This category includes moral guidance, church services discussions conducted by religious figures, programmes supplied by religious groups. 13. Pure music (opera, recitals, symphony, pop, etc. concerts). This categorization was regarded as a compromise between the systems used in various countries. Consequently, it was natural that in many cases respondents were not satisfied with these categories. The categories nevertheless proved quite successful in practice. n some cases the 13 categories were too specific and some categories have been combined in the tables. t has been particularly difficult to distinguish between regular daily news and current affairs. Again some countries gave the information on long films and film series together for administrative reasons, etc. Evidently the placing of a programme in the present programme categories is often a question of interpretation, and a programme cannot always be indisputably included in a single category only. Consequently the programme categories are not completely homologous from one country to another since the same category may include programmes of different character in various countries; a certain caution has therefore to be preserved in instituting international comparisons. Basic tendencies can nevertheless be observed on the basis of for instance the proportion of entertainment programmes, compared with information and educational programmes (though entertainment may also be informative and educational). On the other hand, in some countries the total broadcasting time cannot be classified exhaustively into any of these 13 categories; there are a number of other programmes, e. g. commercials and so-called non-programme material. Though the questionnaire did not include any category for miscellaneous programmes or for commericals, an attempt to estimate their quantity on the basis of total broadcasting hours has been made. However, the reporting of time cccupied by plain advertising is unfortunately very unsystematic in this study, and it has been more often totally overlooked than properly taken into account. Another inventory is needed to exhaustively cover 9

11 the share of commercials. t should be noted here that any system of cate- gorization, classification and quantification of TV programmes (or of any mass media material for that matter) always implies philosophical and ideological aspects. Though programme statistics are often reduced to the three basic categories of information, education and entertainment, this division provides no universal theory of classification for TV programmes. And the more elaborate and refined the fragmentation used, the more delicate the philosophical assumptions involved will be. While noting the unavoidable problems related to categorization, one should nevertheless remember that this is not a study of programme contents proper. The categories are based on the format of programmes rather than the particular content - including values - carried by the programmes. n each category of the present questionnaire there was a space for noting the origin of possible programmes produced by other countries. "Produced by other countries" was explained and defined in the questionnaire as the "picture (video or film) being of foreign origin; accordingly, foreign programmes with subtitles of domestic sound (playback) as well as dubbed programmes are classified as ' imported'.' The names and subject matter of serials and corresponding entertainment programmes were also requested. The original questionnaire was concerned with TV programmes broadcast during the year 1970: the responding stations were asked for information on the duration of their transmission time (measured in hours) within the whole of 1970 or within the latest available 12-month period. However, it soon appeared that annual figures were more difficult to elicit than those for a shorter period, and tests were therefore performed to compare the breakdown of a typical TV week with the breakdown of the annual figures. Comparisons were made for certain European countries and for South Korea. The results revealed no significant differences, and indicated that reliable information can be acquired through the analysis of week, provided only that this week is a statistically typical week of the year. Therefore, particularly after the preliminary stage of the study, responding organizations were encouraged to provide information alternatively for one week only instead of for the whole year. At the same time, in the final stage of the study the range of time covered was extended from 1970 to 1971 or even The questionnaire was duplicated in English, French, Russian and German, and it was first distributed by mail in February 1971 to more than 80 stations in 78 countries. The questionnaire was also distributed personally at the ntervision meet - ing in Budapest (February 1971) and at the ASBU meeting in Bagdad (February 1971). When by the end of May, 1971, only 16 countries had given any kind of response, the questionnaire was r ed to most of the countries in September Personal channels were also used to get a better return and to include additional countries. Data gathering continued in this way until the end of n some cases the questionnaire was filled in by the authors, with the help of research assistants, on the basis of available published information (e.g., for Great Britain and for the Federal Republic of Germany). As far as the United States is concerned, a separate study was carried out for this project, as mentioned above. The researchers have naturally not been able to check all the information given by foreign organizations, ndirect comparisons of sources have been made in some cases, but each individual television institution or corresponding organization is mainly responsible for the correctness of the data given. All the data received through questionnaires have been taken at face value, without other changes than those which may have arisen through correspondence with the persons who have supplied the data. n most cases the reliability of the breakdown has been checked by the television organization in question. As to the survey of international flow of TV programmes which accompanied the programme structure inventory, it was only partly based on the data provided by the questionnaire. Additional information - mostly unpublished and describing the situation on early 70's - was gathered from several sources, including executives and sales representatives of production and distribution com- panies (e. g. in U. S. A. ), headquarters of the broadcasting unions and governmental offices. Even if much effort was made to cover significant agencies in the international TV market, some essential holes have remained in the present study, due either to unwillingness of some companies to cooperate or to practical difficulties in embracing a most complex and unorganized field. 1.3 LMTATONS OF THE STUDY n reading and evaluating the present study - both the programme structure inventory and the survey of international flow of TV materials - one should remember that it has not been designed to cover all aspects of television. The objectives were limited as were the resources available. Certainly, for instance, a historical analysis of the trends in the world TV market would have been very illuminating for the purpose of this research; however, it has been omitted due to practical reasons. Another central determinant for programme output with regard to both domestic and foreign production is the ownership of the media. The inclusion of an institutional background to programme output would, however, also have exceeded the resources of this study. Finally, the economic aspects of international TV programme flow were left outside the scope of this study, except for some references made in surveying the American exports. 10

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