Media Across Borders

Lead Research Organisation: Roehampton University
Department Name: Media, Culture and Language

Abstract

What happened when the UK TV series The Office was adapted for French audiences as Le Bureau? Or when Vishal Bhardwaj adapted Othello in the Bollywood musical Omkara? Or when the Tomb Raider video game had to be altered significantly for the Japanese market?

The Media Across Borders research network explores the myriad ways in which media content is translated and adapted across cultural borders. The network will bring together academic scholars and industry professionals, with the objective to deepen understanding of these processes of media content adaptation and to consider the broader significance of cultural translation within the creative industries. It will take up its work with two one-day workshops focused on the ways in which the film, television and video game industries adapt content for a variety of national contexts and media platforms. The two workshops will be followed by an international conference, aimed at widening the debate to include more media and to open up the network to a broader range of participants.

The research development network aims to model a new approach to the translation of ideas from one culture to another, defined above all in terms of language and locality (national, regional, local), but also taking into account fan cultures and different genre and media cultures with their distinct historically developed conventions. The network seeks to reveal and understand the cultural particularities of the various adaptations while simultaneously noting what is shared. Taking a holistic and anti-reductionist approach, the network will pay close attention to the diverse and complex ways in which media content travels the globe and is appropriated locally by producers, marketing teams and fan audiences. Drawing on international academic expertise, the network aims to offer a fresh perspective on contemporary digital media that looks beyond the national context to consider global popular culture and the transnational implications of media content adaptation.

Interest in media adaptation, both in the media industries and in academia, is growing: Articles in trade journals, and seminars concerned with the franchising of media content at major industry events have increased manifold in recent years. New technologies and the ongoing consolidation in the media industries have led to an enormous growth in the exchange of cultural artefacts across borders, particularly in the form of franchised media content sold for adaptation. In our digitalized, globalized world innovative and audience-drawing media productions are 'discovered' ever more quickly and reworked on a growing scale for worldwide distribution and consumption.

Given the central importance of the international market to the creative industries, our research has the potential to build a productive dialogue between industry and the academy. Locally adapted television formats, including shows such as Big Brother, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? and Deal or No Deal, generated global revenues of EUR 9.3bn between 2006 and 2008. More than a third of this money went to British production companies (Jäger and Behrens, The Frapa Report, 2009). A large scale analysis of German and US television schedules revealed that over 30% of primetime programming of the large national networks consisted of formatted programming (Esser, 2010). The mobile and home video game sectors are worth more than $100 billion (PWC, 2011), and global industry trends suggest the localisation business will continue to increase.

Building on these events, this network will evolve into an ongoing international forum for the exploration of the intricacies of content adaptation and the potential benefits and limitations it can have in both economic and cultural terms.

Planned Impact

The impact of the Media Across Borders research development network can be gauged in economic and societal terms. In particular it aims to benefit the creative industries, for which the adaptation of media content has become a daily business, by
1. Aiming to enhance the knowledge and skills of companies and organisations involved in the adaptation business through workshops; establishing a growing and lasting research network; developing a toolkit for the translation and adaptation of media content that will be made freely available on the network's website; offering other valuable material and links on the website; and through the grant holders' offer to participate in industry events and trade publications.
2. Helping to enhance the efficiency, performance and sustainability of businesses involved in media adaptation. Findings, where applied by companies, should help both media production and translation companies to adapt media content more successfully. This will increase company revenues and achieve long-term sustainability.
3. Contributing toward wealth creation and economic prosperity in the UK. For the British creative industries this research is of particular relevance. As an industry strand of strategic importance to the country, the British media industries are already in a good position: The UK is historically strong in international trade; has the advantage of the global dominance of the English language; the country has a mature media industry, the biggest in the world as a portion of GDP, directly employing 1.1 million people; a large creative talent pool and a good reputation; and a well-developed distribution infrastructure. In recent years Britain has developed into one of the world's most advanced digital TV markets and the world's most successful exporter of franchised television programmes, including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. As a result it accounted for over 33% of global revenues from the format business in 2008 (Jäger and Behrens, The Frapa Report, 2009) and has produced some major production and distribution companies operating at the international level (e.g. All3Media, Fremantle). In the video games sector it has been successful with original new Intellectual Property for games such as Fable, Little Big Planet, SingStar and Buzz. Supporting these areas of new strengths will enhance business revenue and innovative capacity and lead to the further creation and growth of companies and jobs.

Overall, the network thus hopes to produce substantial economic benefits for those stakeholders within the UK that have an interest in capacities of cultural translation and adaptation and are looking for skills gaps in this area to be filled.

In the academic field, the network hopes to have economic impact by
1. Increasing chances to attract R&D investment from global business after the successful dissemination of the initial network findings.
2. Generating revenue through the training of people for the translation and adaptation profession. For example, Roehampton University's MA in Audiovisual Translation is already popular amongst professionals, and evening seminars attract large numbers of both academics and practitioners. In addition, staff and students have generated revenue with translation and subtitling projects over the past four years.

Finally, the research development network will have societal impact in that it
1. Advances our understanding of cultural differences and similarities as well as problems of translation and cultural appropriation.
2. Helps policy makers with interest in culture, the creative industries and the media to build on the findings in regard to both cross-cultural and national (or regional and local) concerns.
3. Improve international relations through advanced understanding of cultural differences and similarities and enhanced skills in translation and cultural adaptation.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description In the five years of it existence the Media Across Borders network has confirmed its belief that the cultural adaptation ('localisation') of creative products is an increasing and necessary practice. In 2016 it published an edited collection to this end (Media Across Borders: Localising TV, Film and Video Games, Routledge), which includes theorisations of localisation, case studies and critical reflections. In September 2016, the University of Roehampton launched a new MA in Intercultural Communication in the Creative Industries, which focuses on the localisation of creative products (TV, film, games, advertising). The Media Across Borders anthology is the basis for one of the core modules. Individual findings are too numerous and complex to describe here. Please see individual publications for this.
Exploitation Route Apart from the new MA and what students learn there, there are indications that policy makers and TV producers are interested in Andrea Esser's research, which has resulted from a conference invitation from Media Across Borders member Joe Khalil (Northwestern University, Qatar) and her recent collaboration with MAB member Jean Chalaby (a special issue on the TV Format Trade, including a single-authored article on the consolidation of the TV entertainment market and its impact on UK Tv production). The work has been read by several TV producers and policy makers in the UK, Germany and the US and has received praise. I also have been invited by various policy makers to present it at industry fora.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description The grant was to set up a network. As such there have been few concrete 'research findings' emanating from the funded network's launch activities that could be 'used'. Talking to Creative Skill Set, an industry body for the creative industries and two other industry partners about potential research projects that would benefit the industry was the most important outcome from the two funded workshops. Talks are still ongoing. Other 'uses' of the network launch activities are that network members have been in constant contact sine 2012, exchanging information, discussing and initiating research collaborations, co-publishing network-related articles, editing books and special journal issues together, and bidding for national and international research grants. Contact with industry partners is ongoing, four of which participated in an industry keynote panel at the second Media Across Borders Conference, held in June 2015 at the University of Roehampton. In 2014 Andrea Esser was invited to act as an international consultant for a large grant from the Danish Research Council for a project entitled 'What Makes Danish TV Drama Series Travel?' (Aarhus University, 2014-2018). During her six months stay at Aarhus University she also gave a talk for Danish industry executives at CreativeMornings Aarhus, entitled Popular Culture in the Climate of Globalization' (27.2.15). In August 2016 she was invited by Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea, to give a talk on the global TV Format Trade during the Busan TV programme market and advise on their new industry-facing TV production programme (6-13 May). In September 2017 the University of Roehampton launched a new MA in Intercultural Communication in the Creative Industries. This MA is an outcome of the work of the Media Across Borders network and Roehampton's internationally recognised MAs in Audiovisual Translation (both Andrea Esser and Miguel Bernal-Merino are involved in this MA). In February 2017, one of Andrea Esser's journal articles, published in 2016 in the International Journal of Communication, 'Challenging U.S. leadership in entertainment television? The rise and sale of Europe's international TV production groups,' (special section 'Shift or Stasis: Questioning Global Communication Power,' 10, 3585-3614), was translated into German by empirical media journal Media Perspektiven, published by public service broadcaster ARD (http://tinyurl.com/zkpnoub). Upon publication Andrea Esser was invited to present her work to the German Chamber of Commerce.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description AUFF Guest Researcher Grant
Amount kr 339,256 (DKK)
Organisation Aarhus University 
Sector Academic/University
Country Denmark
Start 09/2014 
End 02/2015
 
Description Co-organising 'Media Mutations/Media Across Borders conference: The Format Factor. Television Shows, Brands and Properties in the Global Television Scenario' (2017) 
Organisation University of Bologna
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have reviewed paper proposals, helped draw up the conference schedule and will be speaking speaking the closing remarks.
Collaborator Contribution The colleagues in Bologna, who run the annual Media Mutations conference there, are the hosts and main conference organisers.
Impact No other outcomes yes. Multi-disciplinary: TV studies, sociology.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Co-organising 'Television in the Age of Transnationalisation and Transmedialisation' conference (2015) 
Organisation European Communication Research and Education Association
Department Television Studies Section
Country Belgium 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I organised the conference and hosted it at Roehampton, 22-23.6.15.
Collaborator Contribution The ECREA Television Studies section helped promote the conference across Europe.
Impact 'Television in the Age of Transnationalisation and Transmedialisation' conference, London, University of Roehampton, 22-23.6.15.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Founding of 'Transnational Cinemas' Scholarly Interest Group for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies 
Organisation University of Bedfordshire
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Iain Robert Smith co-founded the 'Transnational Cinemas' Scholarly Interest Group for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in 2013 alongside Media Across Borders member Austin Fisher.
Collaborator Contribution Austin Fisher co-founded the 'Transnational Cinemas' Scholarly Interest Group for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in 2013 alongside MAB co-investigator Iain Robert Smith.
Impact Dialogue, conference panels, (future) conference organisation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Four-country audience research project on musical talent shows 
Organisation Aarhus University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Myself and three researchers from the above mentioned European universities, all members of the Media Across Borders project, have conducted a small scale cross-country audience research project in 2013 and 2014 as a pilot study in view of using this as a starting point for grant applications at a later point. Each of us conducted between 4 and 5 focus groups in our respective countries and brought the resuls together for a comparative analysis.
Collaborator Contribution See above.
Impact (Forthcoming, 2015) Co-authored with P.M. Jensen, H. Keinonen and A.M. Lemor, Musical talent shows and their audiences (WT), in Moran, A., P.M. Jensen, K. Aveyard (eds), Global Television Formats. State of the Art. Bristol: Intellect.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Four-country audience research project on musical talent shows 
Organisation Saarland University
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Myself and three researchers from the above mentioned European universities, all members of the Media Across Borders project, have conducted a small scale cross-country audience research project in 2013 and 2014 as a pilot study in view of using this as a starting point for grant applications at a later point. Each of us conducted between 4 and 5 focus groups in our respective countries and brought the resuls together for a comparative analysis.
Collaborator Contribution See above.
Impact (Forthcoming, 2015) Co-authored with P.M. Jensen, H. Keinonen and A.M. Lemor, Musical talent shows and their audiences (WT), in Moran, A., P.M. Jensen, K. Aveyard (eds), Global Television Formats. State of the Art. Bristol: Intellect.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Four-country audience research project on musical talent shows 
Organisation University of Tampere
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Myself and three researchers from the above mentioned European universities, all members of the Media Across Borders project, have conducted a small scale cross-country audience research project in 2013 and 2014 as a pilot study in view of using this as a starting point for grant applications at a later point. Each of us conducted between 4 and 5 focus groups in our respective countries and brought the resuls together for a comparative analysis.
Collaborator Contribution See above.
Impact (Forthcoming, 2015) Co-authored with P.M. Jensen, H. Keinonen and A.M. Lemor, Musical talent shows and their audiences (WT), in Moran, A., P.M. Jensen, K. Aveyard (eds), Global Television Formats. State of the Art. Bristol: Intellect.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Special issue on TV Formats for VIEW: Journal of European Television History and Culture 
Organisation Royal Holloway, University of London
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between Prof. John Ellis (Royal Holloway), J. F. Guttierez Lozano (University of Málaga, Spain) and myself to co-edit a special issue on TV Formats. I wrote the first draft of the editorial and edited several of the contributions.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. John Ellis, who is on the board of VIEW and who came to the Media Across Borders conferences in 2012 and 2015, invited me and Juan (also a Media Across Borders member) to co-edit this issue.
Impact Special journal issue in VIEW: Journal of European Television History and Culture
Start Year 2015
 
Description Special issue on the TV Format Trade for International Journal of Television 
Organisation City, University of London
Department Department of Computer Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have co-edited this special journal issue with Prof. Jean Chalaby (City) and co-written the editorial.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Jean Chalaby (City) invited me to co-edit this issue with him and wrote the first draft for the editorial.
Impact 1) Co-authored editorial: The TV format trade and the world media system: Change and continuity, 3-7. 2) Single-authored article: TV Format sector consolidation and its impact on the configuration and 'stickiness' of the UK entertainment production market, International Journal of Digital Television, 8:1, 143-145.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Consultancy at games company 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In December 2013, Miguel Bernal-Merino was invited as a consultant and trainer for a 'Game localisation training', organised by the French company Blizzard Entertainment, based in Versaille. Blizzard are the most important video game developer publisher in the industry. 35 n-house game localization professionals attended the workshop.

Workshop participants' understanding of the importance, the how to, the difficulties, and the implications of localisation for game development has improved as a result of the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.activisionblizzard.com/about-us
 
Description Discussion panel at international industry conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 'Sales and localisation: Does your planning match your expectations?' panel at the Gaming QA and Localisation Conference (26th June 2013) in London sparked questions and discussion amongst the 350 game professionals attending the conference.

The interest in issues around localisation (i.e. its importance, difficulties, benefits, implications for strategy and game developmetn processes) in the games industry seems to be growing in the game industry, which until very recently has seen localisation as something that may have to happen after a product has finished and only if absolutely necessary. This thinking seems to be shifting and localisation is coming to be seen as a vital part of game development and distribution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.gameqaloc.com/europe/
 
Description Event consultant and moderator for industry conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Roundtable discussion sparked a lot of questions and an engagng discussion with the audience.

The interest in issues around localisation (i.e. its importance, difficulties, benefits, implications for strategy and game developmetn processes) in the games industry seems to be growing in the game industry, which until very recently has seen localisation as something that may have to happen after a product has finished and only if absolutely necessary. This thinking seems to be shifting and localisation is coming to be seen as a vital part of game development and distribution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description Industry event consultant 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Miguel Bernal-Merino acted as a consultant to the 'GDC 6th Game Localization Summit' at the annual Game Developers Conference, which took place in San Francisco, California (US), 18th March 2014. The sumit enagaged participants, video game and localization professionals, in a lively debate about the need, the processes and the consequences of localisation in game development and distribution.

The interest in issues around localisation (i.e. its importance, difficulties, benefits, implications for strategy and game developmetn processes) in the games industry seems to be growing in the game industry, which until very recently has seen localisation as something that may have to happen after a product has finished and only if absolutely necessary. This thinking seems to be shifting and localisation is coming to be seen as a vital part of game development and distribution.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited speaker at event aimd at academics, students and policy makers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Miguel Bernal-Merino's talk "Multimedia Translation in the Digital Age" at the Europe House in London (21st May 2014), attended by about 100 academics, students and policy makers sparked debate and interest in localization.

After the talk participants asked for training opportunities in localisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited speaker at industry conference for game professionals, academcis and students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Miguel Bernal-Merino was an invited speaker, talking about "Become a global contender!" at the Northern Game Summit, Kajaani University, in Finland. 26th September, 2014; a conference that attracted 450 game professionals, academics and students. The talk sparked substantial interest, many questions and a lively discussion.

Talk widened and strengthened industry contacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Media Across Borders workshop (1) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop brought together television and video games localisation executives with the objectives to a) identify common ground, b) discuss production for the international market via the localisation route, and c) establish knowledge and skills gaps in the translation and adaptation business. Industry participants included Marta Lois Gonzalez (SEGA Europe), Sonia Souto and Flavia Timiani (Disney Interactive), Vanessa Wood (Sony Computer Entertainment), Joerg Bachmaier (BBC Worldwide), Mike Beale (ITV Studios), Vasha Wallace (FremantleMedia), Kaspar Pflueger (RTL Hrvatska), Max McGonigal (CrowTV) and Alessandro Traverso (HIT Entertainment). All work in roles and media businesses that are extremely international but in a localised form. A summary of the discussions can be found on http://mediaacrossborders.com/?page_id=1222.

The discussion prompted us to contact CreativeSkills Set, an industry body for the creative industries in the UK, to discuss potential future collaborations (http://creativeskillset.org/about_us). We also have been continuing to speak to the above people on an individual basis for research purposes, potential bids for a follow-up-grant, and for work experience and interview possibilities for our students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://mediaacrossborders.com/?page_id=1222
 
Description Media Across Borders workshop (2) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact This workshop event was aimed at bringing together academics and professionals working in localisation. Thirty-two academics and ten industry professionals debated the following topics in six workshops: TV Formats - Production & Distribution; Film Across Borders; Video Game Localisation; National Label, Global Brand; Researching Transnational Media; and The Translation of Audiovisual Media. (For more detail please see http://mediaacrossborders.com/?page_id=1255) The workshops, scheduled across two 1½-hour timeslots with 11-17 participants each, were preceded and followed by organised networking opportunities, starting with a game of Rueda Cubana (a Spanish form of speed-dating) and ending with a joint dinner. Together these activities proved very effective, achieving a high quality and quantity of dialogue and networking.

The event helped build the network and gave participants, academics and industry participants, sufficient time to get acquainted and stay in touch afterwards. It proved a very effective tool for building a network, something a large conference could not have achieved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://mediaacrossborders.com/?page_id=1255