The cross-cultural effects of American television programs on Nigerian audiences
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This dissertation investigated the effects of American-produced entertainment programs on Nigerian audiences. The theoretical basis for the study was the cultural imperialism theory. To that end, the media and audiences in Nigeria were used to probe the relevance and validity of the cultural imperialism thesis. The question that the study attempted to answer was whether exposure to American TV programs has discernible effects on Nigerian audiences' knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors. Multiple methods including a content analysis of television programs in three ethnic/religious regions in Nigeria, and an experiment involving students from these different regions were employed to answer the research questions. Results of the content analysis showed that the federal and state government- owned stations in the regions had limited proportions of American TV programs, while the private TV stations devoted significant proportions of their broadcast time to American programs. The subject pool for the experiment consisted of 482 senior secondary school boys and girls from Kaduna, Enugu, and Ibadan who are representatives of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, and who were either Christians or Muslims. Subjects in the experimental condition were exposed to ten hours of real American TV programs including talk shows, comedies, teen comedies, music videos along with the commercials that were run on these programs, while the control group was exposed to ten hours of Nigerian entertainment programs. Using a single factor, posttest-only experimental design, the differences between the two groups were assessed with t-tests. The researcher had proposed that exposure to American TV programs would lead to significant effects on participants' knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors, but would have no effects on their values and attitudes. As predicted, the results showed that the subjects' knowledge was affected by exposure to American TV programs, unlike their values and attitudes, which were not influenced. However, the subjects' behaviors and beliefs were not affected by exposure to American media content as predicted by the hypotheses. Variables like region, gender, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status were also examined to determine if these factors mediate effects of foreign media. The results showed that only ethnicity and region showed any interaction effects.
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