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Pi's passport: Identity and the peculiar economics of popular culture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes the ‘show’ side with a few remarks about ‘story’, and the idea of identity then shifts to the ‘business’ side to examine some reference points drawn from international trade in these goods. It focuses on the distribution of facts on the ground: the geographic reach of some of these commercial stories. The chapter also describes some ways that both the ‘show’ and the ‘business’ sides of the pop-culture equation influence this distribution. The increased viewership is insufficient to attract enough additional revenue to pay the much higher production price, let alone the kind of margin that can be earned on the imported title. Cultural premiums or discounts have a bearing on a product’s revenue. In fact in most countries, domestic television dramas, even when their so-called ‘production values’ are lower, tend to attract more viewers than imported shows and hence often earn higher revenues.

Keywords: cultural premiums; domestic television dramas; production values



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