Franchising culture for Kazakhstan television: Producers' ambivalence and audiences' indifference.
Thomas, Amos Owen
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After decades of state-owned broadcasting as part of the Soviet Union, the arrival of commercial television in Kazakhstan meant expanded entertainment programming for the masses. Adaptation of program formats and genre from abroad provided a quick-and-dirty solution to increased channels and broadcast hours, but little has been written about the challenges to program producers or about viewer opinion. Despite Kazakhstan producers and consumers being initially curious and toleranttowards the new cultural offerings, I found neither seemed fully receptive to the commercialization of television programming but somewhat resigned to the imperative. Yet this response might only last while there is an older generation that remembers Soviet days and holds to some of its cultural values. I argue that creation and reception of such commercial television programs may provide yet another site of cultural contestation in the post-Soviet age between a globalized Western, regional Russified, and a nationalistic Kazakhstan one. Thus my paper explores the hybridization of quasi-national culture in search of audiences. I conclude from my research that Kazakhstan’s commercial television needs to reserve space for the authentic expression of the multi-cultural nature of this society.
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