Amos Owen. Imaginations & Borderless Television: Media,
Culture and Politics Across Asia. New Delhi, India: Sage,
2005. Paperback. 290 pages. ISBN: 0-7619-3395-6. $23.50.
by Samaa Aly El-Batrawy
is about exploratory research into the growth and development
of transnational TV in Asia, analyzing its impact on advertising
industries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia.
Special attention is given to how governments perceived transnational
satellite TV as a threat and how successful they were in controlling
its access. Through surveys and content analysis, the study
focused on key transnational TV markets drawn from India, Malay
and Greater China as case studies. Imaginations and Borderless
Television furthers the knowledge on the impact of satellite
on the media industry in developing countries across Asia.
Transnational media obviously fascinate Thomas. He traveled
to 10 countries around Asia, most more than once. A former review
editor for TBS Journal, Thomas taught marketing, and international
business at the Maastrict School of Management as a specialist
in the Asian television industry. He has taught at four universities
in Australia, Southeast Asia and South Pacific. His presence
in different countries across Asia for so many years made him
aware of the variables that affected the communication industry
and system in the region, lends credence to his research. The
application of multi-method approach using interviews, comprehensive
case studies and adapting ethnographic methodology makes the
book interesting and authentic for readers.
the reality about transnational TV in Asia from an insider’s
perspective since the author visited the countries involved
and interviewed sources in their work places. Interviews were
conducted with advertising agencies, marketers, media owners,
policy makers and opinion leaders.
The book focuses on the transnational TV and its development
in the first five years. Data were collected in 1994-95 and
in 1999-2000, and the book was originally written in 2003, which
dates some of the information. As it's an exploratory research,
the interviews were semi-structured. Issues raised were all
based on the research questions.
includes many interesting tidbits, like analyzing government
policies towards transnational TV in the three regions, focusing
on a country selected from each region for its representation
of the major market with reference to its history, geography,
cultural policies, and broadcasting history, followed by an
explicit comparison of the experience of the transnational TV
between the three case studies.
Some of the preliminary findings of this research have been
published in academic and policy journals, or presented at academic
conferences. Although this book could work as a reference for
MNC's (Multi National Corporations), civil society groups, advertising
agencies and those who have a special interest in broadcast
media, it’s readable and interesting to the general reader.
The author's style of writing is simple and very clear. The
grouping of information under subtitles helps the reader to
focus and holds his interest. Three appendices and a glossary
makes this a useful book for scholars seeking to replicate his
studies in other parts of the world.
focusing on Asia, the experience with transnational TV researched
in this book would be applicable and useful for developing countries
around the world as they share common features. Particularly
useful was the author’s review and classification of Asian
channels and his explanation of governmental policies that range
from repressive to free.
and Borderless Television is an excellent book, explaining
the start of the transnational TV in Asia, and its impact on
all aspects of life; culturally, economically, and politically.