The Americans are coming for British English – but we’re like, whatever
Thanks to the likes of Netflix, the Disney channel and Nickelodeon, it is American media that is changing the UK’s culture, not Europe
A teenage granddaughter arrived for a summer stay. How was she? “I’m good,” she said. “What about you guys?” She didn’t go on to wish me an awesome day, but the message was still unmistakable. A child of the Disney channel and Nickelodeon, a social media devotee, she now belongs to the coming generation who, quite naturally and unthinkingly, speak American English.
Does that matter? Matthew Engel, one of journalism’s great exponents of English English, clearly thinks so. “As we approach 2020, the American words the British invited into their homes are in danger of taking over”, he writes in his new book, That’s the Way It Crumbles. “It has become possible to imagine a time – 2120 would seem a plausible and arithmetically neat guesstimate – when American English absorbs the British version completely. The child will have eaten its mother, but only because the mother insisted.”
Tot up a few basic elements. Sky, awaiting 100% Fox ownership, when Karen Bradley stops biting her ministerial nails. Channel 5, owned by Viacom of America. Virgin Media, owned by Liberty of America. UKTV, 50% owned by Scripps of America. Plus all manner of US-owned independent production companies and smaller channels clustering lower down on your Sky and Virgin search menus.
The indefatigable Tunstall calculated, only a couple of years ago, that as much as half of British TV viewing is American-controlled. But two years is a long time in this tumultuous media world, and TV is by no means the only show in town. Back in 2015, Facebook and Google were still thought of powerful potential friends, not enemies. Hug them close and a beleaguered print industry might find succour. Keep on good terms and the power of TV itself could continue unscathed.
But that content, inevitably, is overwhelmingly American. The 40 new films Netflix has just announced will be predominantly American. Netflix’s close competitor, Amazon, pursues the same course. More and more digital giants – including Apple, inevitably enough – are joining the content contest. Some of the films and series, to be sure, are geared to particular areas (say Europe for mafia dramas). Yet the most obvious way to maximise revenue must and will always be global: one film fits all.
Last edited by NickSCFC on Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
This reminds me I need to call sky for a 2 month refund as wind broke our shoddy connection (yes, wind), obviously that hasn't happened by itself as nobody at bt and all the different fronts talk to each other.
Green Gecko wrote:This reminds me I need to call sky for a 2 month refund as wind broke our shoddy connection (yes, wind), obviously that hasn't happened by itself as nobody at bt and all the different fronts talk to each other.
I need to remind you to call sky to try and get that 2 month refund due to that wind problem you've got.
US cable giant Comcast is unlikely to face a regulatory review of its £22bn takeover bid for Sky, the owner of Sky News.
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "not minded" to refer the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for deeper scrutiny on public interest grounds.
The news will come as a disappointment to 21st Century Fox, Sky's biggest single shareholder, which is also trying to buy the company.
Fox, which owns 39.1% of Sky, launched a £17.5bn bid to take full control of Europe's largest pay-television broadcaster in December 2016 - but the deal has been held up since by regulatory scrutiny from both the CMA and the media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.