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Television across the Borders: The Distribution of US Series on Italian-Speaking Swiss TV and the Role of Public Service Broadcasting

digital Television across the Borders: The Distribution of US Series
on Italian-Speaking Swiss TV and the Role of Public Service
Broadcasting
Article
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
issue COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2016 - 1. Snapshot Culture. The Photographic Experience in the Post-Medium Age
title Television across the Borders: The Distribution of US Series on Italian-Speaking Swiss TV and the Role of Public Service Broadcasting
author
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 04-2016
issn 03928667 (print) | 18277969 (digital)
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One of the Swiss television arena’s most interesting characteristics is undoubtedly its linguistic, cultural and territorial make-up, due to its division into three macroregions: the German-, French- and Italian-speaking zones. Two significant phenomena coexist in each region. One is the cultural and linguistic proximity of foreign radio and television systems, whose channels are widely consumed within the Confederation, too; that applies both to public service networks (such as ARD, ZDF, RAI or France Télévision) and to their commercial counterparts (like RTL, VOX, the Mediaset channels, La7 and TF1). The other phenomenon is the strong presence of the public service broadcasting, SRG SSR, which in turn is structured into seven channels: three in German, two in French, and two in Italian. In the Swiss television system, the public service broadcaster has played and still plays an important role as a bulwark of the national identity. This article analyses the strategies used by RSI, the public television service in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region, in acquiring and scheduling a kind of television product usually considered “global”: American-made TV series. The paradoxical hypothesis advanced is that public service television fulfils part of its mission, while resisting competition from the neighbouring countries’ channels, precisely by adapting and scheduling this “global” product.

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