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Amos Owen Thomas

Abstract

While early global/regional channels in Asia were seen as instruments of Western imperialism, they were soon followed by channels created by and targeted at subregional, national, or even subnational-ethnic markets. Much has been written about the impact of channels of global/regional origin on Asian audiences, but the phenomenon of audiences in one Asian subregion for television channels from another has seldom been addressed. Utilising a case-study of the pan-Asian broadcaster StarTV and the Indian-based broadcaster ZeeTV, the research investigates the viewership for these transnational channels in West Asia. It first chronicles the development of television policies in West Asia before examining the growth of South Asian television within its subregion and beyond. The limited data seems to indicate the viability of transnational satellite television targeting expatriate/migrant minorities together with cosmopolitan locals, rather than just nationally-bounded markets. These diverse audiences for satellite television in Asia also suggest that rather than being defined as West-over-East, the concept of media imperialism may be in need of theoretical reformulation in a postmodern era.

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