While Hollywood continues to export massive amounts of TV programming, Within the African, Asia and Latin America communities, many television programs are rapidly being produced and sold within their own regions causing contra-flow. Many nations produce their own television programming. The majority of Latin American telenovelas, have been flowing transnationally for a little over a decade now.
The surge in transnational traffic in media production and consumption had traditionally benefited major corporations in the west such as Disney, Time Warner, and various News Corporations. However, new networks have emerged globally which aim to ditch this tradition. Examples of Contra-Flow are transpiring daily around the globe as Brazilian soap operas are viewed in China, Indian movies gain mass followings outside of India, and Al-Jazeera becomes a household name in America. These are all examples of transnational traffic in which Western media companies are not the main distributor of a one-way flow. Recently, alternative media has been leaving the one-way flow of US-led media as a thing of the past as they produce and televise their own programming. The “West” to “Rest” flow of media that used to dominate the globes media intake, is now straying from the Anglo-American viewpoint of the world, as media evolves into a transnational flow model.
When examining the ever-changing flow of media from Hollywood to the “rest” of the world, it is important to examine the contraflow of media across different regions and time zones, even flowing into America. Telenovelas have proven to be a force to reckon with when toe to toe with the Western media construct, even surpassing the famous American soap opera in popularity. Telenovelas are an additive overdramatic show about love, and family. They are extremely popular as they have successfully captivated audiences of millions throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the US. Some specialists have predicted that over a Hundred million people watch telenovelas around the globe, every single day. The growing international popularity of telenovela marks the appearance of an important contraflow to study, particularly because it originates from a country that has often been swept under the rug by large western media outlets. This paper will focus on the production and popularity of telenovelas throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The question in which will guide this research is: How have Telenovelas captured the globes attention regardless of cultural differences and how have Telenovelas impacted the Contra-flow of the globe?
Currently, most countries in Latin America are producing their own Telenovelas. The leading telenovela producers in Latin America not only produce for there own local market but also export to other Latin American nations and to the rest of the world. Televisa, for instance, is a major supplier of telenovelas to the Spanish-speaking market in the United States. By 1988, Brazil’s ‘Globo’ had exported telenovelas to more than 129 nations. Mass contraflow is being achieved as these prime-time shows and their values circulate across the globe. Emerging among telenovela production is the want to co-produce with countries in Asia, to better match the cultural odor of that particular international market. Within telenovelas, there are stories of love, logic, and drama. These seem to have a soul-soothing, additive quality on their viewers. Watching these stories with moral issues embedded within them, from different cultures form new understandings within the viewer as they are swayed by the stories. Telenovelas have quickly become a tool for changing global media flow and merging cultural identities. (584)