Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
This dissertation examines the process of commodifying television formats (e.g., Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Survivor, Big Brother, and Idol) from television show ideas into global commodities. Instead of assuming that a format has always been a commodity, this dissertation seeks to understand the historical process of the transformation from a concept into a commodity. Specifically, it answers three questions: a) What is the process whereby a format obtains property status and becomes a copyrighted work? b) Who enables the transnational movement of a format, and how does that happen? and c) How do people recognize which formats are more valuable than others? To answer these questions, by articulating the distribution of value as a theoretical framework, this dissertation closely examines institutions of format distributions: legal frameworks for copyright, multinational corporations, and global television markets. Through historical analyses, this dissertation reveals that institutions of distribution gave rise to three aspects of the commodity form of formats: legality, functionality, and materiality. The development of these three aspects shows that a format became a commodity, rather than simply a method of copying television programs, only after 2004. This dissertation contends that the long history of copying television show ideas was punctuated by the emergence of the commodity form of formats, distinguishing the present state of global format trade from the previous one.
commodity form, distribution of value, format copyright, MIPFormats, super-indie, television formats
viii, 233 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 201-233).
Copyright © 2019 Joonseok Choi
Choi, Joonseok. "The commodification of television formats: the role of distribution in the emergence of the commodity form." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2019.