Media in the 21st century: The Global Village

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Marshall McLuhan coined the term “The Global Village” to describe the mass production and consumption of media images and content around the globe. The term refers to the coming together of the countries of the world into one gigantic world of media landscapes. As an example, CNN, the popular U.S. news channel, and BBC, the venerable British channel, are available everywhere. A similar phenomenon in entertainment is the Star Group, televised worldwide.

There are two online information and knowledge channels, National Geographic and Discovery, that are available globally. There is a sense of oneness and shared media consumption throughout the world due to the ready availability of the same content everywhere. The term Global Village refers to this phenomenon. With the liberalization of many countries in the world in the 1990s, global broadcasters entered countries like India in a big way. The opening up of the Indian media landscape to foreign channels was a revolution in how media is consumed and produced in the country, despite the fact that China had, and still has, restrictions on what kind of content can be viewed in that country. Media consumption in India has led to a liberalization of the Indian mindset, according to expertise. The West was introduced to many Indians for the first time, and the consumption of western lifestyle imagery and consumer choices led to an increase in Indian aspirational values. The result was an emergence of a burgeoning consumer culture that marked the Indian consumer arena since the late 1990s. This means that Indians are no longer monochromatic television viewers who had to watch only one channel, but are instead consuming media images from around the world.

Around the same time, many African countries were exposed to satellite television for the first time. Consequently, the Africans learned about the western situation and the relatively comfortable lifestyles that Westerners enjoy. There is a widening of political, economic, and social discourse in many countries due to the explosion of media choices. There was a demand for greater freedom and a better standard of living, which manifested itself in the way the people in these countries began using the media to voice their concerns. It can be said that TV, in particular, and satellite television in particular, were game-changers for many countries that were throwing off their old habits and attitudes and embracing the Western way of life. There is no need to elaborate on the role that Satellite TV played in emancipating women, providing entertainment, and exposing the young to a western way of life that eventually led to the MTV Generation that started voting with their feet about the kind of products they wanted to buy and consume.

Ultimately, the Global Village has made the vision of “One Market Under God” a reality, which has benefited both marketers who were able to market their products globally, as well as consumers who had a variety of options to choose from. Last but not least, the youth also gained a greater understanding of politics and a liberated attitude.