Distress Signals – Hilary Cochran and Cameron Smith

The documentary, Distress Signals, was filmed over twenty years ago. Therefore, due to the age of this video, there is a large disconnect between what is relevant today and what was relevant then. The film highlights how America is the envy of a large number of countries thanks to it being at the forefront of media ingenuity. We see that other third world countries will come to America and buy show times of popular television shows and screen them in their own countries in order to fill up airtime. The example of this we were shown was the purchase of three shows by African television so they could draw attention and possibly viewers to their channels. This purchasing of shows from America is necessary due to the low budget, which must be kept when shows in Africa. This low budget produces mediocre shows, which are not as appealing to viewers as a show that could get as much money as they needed. If this video were done today we’d still see America holding much of the media dominance, but instead of television we’d see more of a focus on Internet. The Internet has definitely overcome the TV in technology. It has broadened our sharing and viewing though things like Netflix, Hulu, and especially YouTube. We are opened up to so much more content and there’s so much more opportunity for even a single individual to share their own stuff now.


Globalization: The interaction between people all over the world through media and trade.

Cultural Imperialism: When one culture shows dominance over lesser cultures.

Global Media Flow: The spread of concepts across masses that can be freely expanded on.


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