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Research Article Open Access

Traveling Away from Culture The Dominance of Consumerism on the Travel Channel

Abstract

Certain media observers posit that the vast number of channels arising from commercial cable television provides diversity of programming unlike at any time before. However, the simple existence of more channels does not necessarily guarantee adequate programming in every area. Commercial pressures may dominate programming agendas and interfere with the general substance of those programs. Cultural programming may be one such genre vulnerable to commercial pressure, and the Travel Channel, chosen as a representative commercial cable channel was examined to determine the levels of interference from consumerism. Through triangulation involving quantitative content analysis and qualitative thematic analysis, this study concludes that programming on the Travel Channel places extensive focus on consumerism while almost entirely ignoring issues of culture. Furthermore, the vast majority of programming on this channel centers on the most commercially developed regions of the world, primarily the U.S., and secondarily, Europe while neglecting the rest of the world. Much of the programming not only advocates general consumerism, but also conscious over-indulgence, including the purchasing of ultra-expensive items and the consumption of highly unhealthy food in unreasonable quantities. Thus, the Travel Channel is one example of the possible inadequacy of commercial television for cultural programming.

Reaz Mahmood

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