Outsourcing has become more and more frequent within media industries. It refers to the process of completing certain elements of production overseas in order to take advantage of cheaper labor and government subsidies. The average television and movie consumer would be surprised to learn that only 47% of Hollywood movies were filmed in the U.S. in 2005. Additionally, only 17% of scripted television was created domestically.
Globalization within media industries is nothing new, American films have dominated international markets for years and are still the standard of entertainment. As competition arises in foreign markets from “Bollywood” and “Nollywood,” outsourcing seems to make the most economic sense for media industries. Despite the economic benefits of outsourcing for the media companies, it cuts unionized jobs in the entertainment market in the United States. Various stage hand and production positions are simply given to a labor force that will work for considerably less. The loss of job opportunities seems less problematic than the exploitation of possible human rights violations. The use of underpaid, un-unionized foreign workers is a clear manipulation of cheap labor.
Additionally, the increased globalization and rise in outsourcing is detrimental to diversity in the entertainment world. The Americanization on international media means less films with true cultural and domestic themes that can be locally pertinent to certain areas. The lack of unique culture within media leads to a standardization of entertainment. People are denied the experience of exposure to foreign cultures and practices as entertainment becomes more formulaic, and thus less unique. An argument is made that the money made from working on Hollywood productions by foreigners goes to projects that tell unique stories of their region. However, the money made from the production of American movies is hardly enough to create a film that can contend with major media conglomerates or have the possibility to be seen outside of that local community.
Entertainment production should be about, first and foremost – entertainment. If outsourcing can help provide greater quality while simultaneously dropping costs for the consumer, than few complaints from the average American will be voiced. But I have not seen my movie ticket price drop yet…