Going Global: Media, Entertainment and You

There’s a shining ray of hope across the globe, in spite of rising geopolitical tensions, where entertainment continues to cross-pollinate, multi-directionally. As more people share more ideas across more cultures, entrepreneurs can target larger pools and pockets of audiences by still remaining true to themselves or their product.
Written by
Kim Le
Published on
March 21, 2024

Media and Entertainment Lead the Way

Entertainment doesn’t get as much regard among intellectual circles as it should. Entertainment has demonstrated the impact it has had on shaping the minds of tomorrow. Think of the Personal Access Display Devices (PADDs) from Star Trek compared with Apple’s iPad or the electric, self-driving cars of Total Recall like the Teslas and Waymos of today. Talk to a number of brilliant engineers and tech founders, and they’ll likely say their favorite media encompass: Isaac Asimov’s foundation series, Star Trek, the Three-body problem, etc.

The greatest cultural melting pot of the century is happening on streaming platforms

Today, the media giants (such as Netflix, HBO, Tencent, iQiyi, TikTok, and YouTube) are relentless in their corporate strategies to expand globally. The byproduct:

Films and shows that have gained an international audience
Source: IMDB

Today's media is seeing the globalization of creative ideas:

  • Disney+ will be releasing the sequel to the hit Chinese sci-fi and period drama Joy of Life1
  • Netflix has its own remake of the Chinese novel The Three Body Problem2
  • Cocomelon, a much beloved American kid oriented television show, is translated into multiple languages including English, Spanish, and Mandarin3
  • Mr. Beast, America's most subscribed YouTube creator, will expand his footprint to include the Chinese streaming site Bili Bili4
  • And lastly how can we not mention the K-pop global phenomenons like Blackpink and BTS

Media provokes thought, asks questions, and tests boundaries. They reinforce existing bias while also creating new ones. As content globally cross paths, so will values and beliefs.

The growing trend of shared beliefs across the world is difficult to quantitatively measure. We look to the far less rigorous yet widely used method of relying on confirmation biases to back support hypotheses. We take two topics as examples:

  • On having kids
    Fertility rates are going down globally across all developed countries. The verdict is unanimous. Having kids is a financial burden and social responsibility that people no longer want or can no longer afford. This trend defies cultures.
  • On female empowerment
    The highest grossing film of 2023 was Barbie directed by Greta Gerwig5. The third highest non-English grossing film is 2021 movie Hi, Mom directed by Jia Ling6. The top grossing music tour in 2023 was Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, topping $1 billion, followed by Beyonce’s Renaissance tour7. Chinese female artist Xin Liu also embarked on her first solo tour in a field dominated by male artists. These females are the trailblazers and next generation of role models for young women.
Notable women and female empowerment trends ein media
Source: IMDB, X (Twitter), Deadline.com

Historically, countries and cultures have often diverged on these topics. Yet the above anecdotes tell us a new narrative. Now more than ever before, more people across borders are beginning to share more similar beliefs to you than your neighbor across the street.

Globalization for Entrepreneurs

This is a boon for entrepreneurs who are not limited to their physical location or country of residence. As more people share more ideas across more cultures, entrepreneurs can relate to and speak with larger pools of audiences just by being themselves. Your target market is no longer limited to your geography. Just like Cocomelon and Mr. Beast, these pioneering YouTubers* are realizing their reach is only inhibited by:

  • Language
    For Cocomelon, translating their content into multiple languages immediately helped them expand their reach without creating new content.
  • Platform
    For Mr. Beast, he tests out new platforms such as is his well-known X, formerly Twitter, experiment and is on the forefront of new social media like Bilibili, in addition to YouTube and TikTok.

The world is fragmented by software and language but united by content.

It’s not surprising that Influencer is one of the top three career choices for American and British kids. Follow the lead of youngsters on the cutting edge, and get to know the world beyond your immediate backyard.

How to build a business for a global audience

While not all business owners are content creators, "normal" business owners can still leverage this trend.

Go niche

For aspiring entrepreneurs, there are pockets of opportunity, specifically niches, that comes from being able to work beyond their immediate demographic, typically users like themselves. Developing into a niche that expands beyond cultures can be a competitive edge.

An example

A US real estate and/or mortgage company targets Asian households in their region. Asian families disproportionately believe in the value of real estate over the stock market. This demographic may be a good group to target given their propensity towards real estate. At the same time, they may not be proficient enough in the English language or American culture to work well with most US banks or realtors. This provides an arbitrage opportunity to target an underserved community representing high demand.

Repurpose for the international audience

In your product research and user testing, learn how different groups of people solve the same problem. Lean into problems that traverse languages and software. Lean into the needs and wants that your customers share, yet approach these problems from different perspectives, based on different backgrounds.

An example

Take Meta messenger and WhatsApp. SMS text was not designed to work well internationally. However, modern cloud based messaging apps are. They span device types and countries filling in a gap that allows them to grow globally. 90% of the world has a smartphone as of 2023 which is more than the 74% of the world who have access to safe drinking water, according to PEW research and the World Bank, respectively.

Hyperlocal focus

Some businesses are meant to be local, such as in-person service businesses which have far different growth strategies based on local market conditions. However, your immediate local market might have a more diverse set of users due to immigration and migration patterns in the US than otherwise expected.

An example

A service business, such as in plumbing, electrical work or general carpentry, provides customer support in multiple languages. The business makes the most profit when they can tighten the geographic location they work in. This minimizes the travel time (when they aren't making money) between jobs. If a certain town has a diverse demographic, then being able to support customers in multiple languages allows the business to access more clients in a geographic cluster.

Be creative and expand your mind

Expand your mind, expand the world

Get out of your echo chamber, and travel to the greater metaverse. The world and its people are far bigger. If you know where and how to look, the internet is a global library logging all the history, experiences, and ideas of all the people across the world in words, pictures, and videos since 1983. Learn from them and apply those learnings to enrich your every day life and business.

As a reminder, remember to stay safe and stick to healthy habits when using social media and the internet, both personally and for your business.

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1 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/disney-asian-originals-slate-1235031232/

2 https://www.netflix.com/title/81024821

3 https://dubdb.fandom.com/wiki/CoComelon

4 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-23/youtube-star-mrbeast-debuts-on-china-s-internet-with-bilibili

5 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-much-money-did-the-barbie-movie-make-box-office-highest-grossing-films-domestic/

6 https://origin.www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-01/jia-ling-china-s-box-office-topping-director-behind-hi-mom-bloomberg-50-2021

7 https://deadline.com/gallery/top-10-music-tours-2023/

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