Not available in 2020/21
MC423      Half Unit
Global Media Industries

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Bingchun Meng FAW.7.01H


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted.

Course content

This course helps you understand the operation of global media industries at the intersection of politics, business and culture. The course presents an overview of the changing mechanisms of media production, distribution and consumption in the age of digital networks and global interconnection. We will examine how media industries work, why they work as they do, and their broader social and cultural implications. We will take a comparative perspective to compare and contrast the arrangement of media and communication industries in different countries/regions. We will also highlight the changes that digital technologies have brought to different types of media industries, including news industry, entertainment industry, and marketing and advertising. Questions to be explored include “How modes of media production have changed in different contexts and periods?” “What are the key issues facing media industries?” “What role do advertising and market research play in the life and design of media products?” “How do technological and legislative developments influence the way that the products of media industries are produced, distributed and consumed?” In order to address these questions, we will utilize key concepts such as convergence, commodification, flexible accumulation, and creative labour. We draw upon theoretical insights offered by political economy, cultural studies, sociology and feminism to analyze cases of media industries across the globe. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the industrial dynamics of media production as well as their own engagement with cultural industries.

Course objectives:

This course aims to help you:

  • Understand different approaches to the study of media industries
  • Examine the transformation of media industries in the context of globalization
  • Critically analyse the relationship between institutional arrangements of media industries and the content being produced and disseminated
  • Critically evaluate global regulatory attempts to establish a new communication order and the dynamics of alternative media

Topics are structured as follows:

  • Media production and distribution in a changing context
  • The many lives of media commodities
  • Creative labour in media industries
  • Convergence: Top-down and bottom-up
  • Policy and regulation
  • Political economy of film industry
  • Cultural analysis of Reality TV
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Sociology of news production
  • Summary and reflection


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

  • Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell;
  • Hesmondhalgh, D. (2012) The Cultural Industries (3nd Edition). London: Sage;
  • Maxwell, R. (2016) The Routledge Companion to Labor and Media. London: Routledge.
  • Miller, T. et al. (2005) Global Hollywood 2. London: British Film Institute;
  • Mosco, V.(2014) To the Cloud. Boulder: Paradigm;
  • Turow, J. (2011) The Daily You. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Essay (80%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Case study (20%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21.1
Merit 61.4
Pass 14.9
Fail 2.6

Teachers' comment

This course examines the transformation of media industries in relation to the recent political economic, cultural and technological changes at the global scale. We will also explore how such transformation impact the content circulating across media platforms.

Students' comments

"It is a very stimulating course with good readings and diverse topics, very relevant to current issues."

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2019/20: 48

Average class size 2019/20: 16

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills