GaWC Research Bulletin 96

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This Research Bulletin has been published in European Planning Studies, 12 (4), (2004), 459-477.


Please refer to the published version when quoting the paper.


A World Geography of Global Media Cities

S. Krätke* and P.J. Taylor**



This is an empirical study that analyses the geography of 33 global media firms through their locations in 284 cities across the world. The analyses are set within the world cities literature and a methodology is used that searches out city networks from data on firms to define 'global media cities'. Resulting definitions of network connectivities allow comparisons to be made with more familiar world city network results on global service centres. The relative importance of media industries in European cities is highlighted. The main analysis uses a principal components model to discover global media fields centred upon specific articulator cities, notably New York/Los Angeles, Munich/Berlin, London and Paris. It is concluded that there is a geographical logic to the growth of large media companies.


This article focuses on the geographical organisation of present-day cultural production and the media industry at the global level in order to produce a world geography of global media cities. Whereas the literature on world/global cities has predominantly emphasized the role of advanced producer services in the formation of a world city network, here we introduce a new dimension into these global networking processes. Through the study of global media cities we link into wider debates about world cities that emphasize the variety of economic activities which are involved in globalization processes. This diversity of globalized activities leads to multiple globalizations within world city network formation wherein we treat global media.

The phenomenon of world/global cities has been a major focus of urban research to a large degree initiated by Friedmann's seminal contribution on the formation of a global urban "hierarchy" (Friedmann & Wolff 1982; Friedmann 1986; Knox & Taylor 1995). Famously characterising the leading cities in the global economy as command and control centres in a new international division of labour, Friedmann established several ranking criteria for cities in the international urban system. Subsequency Knox (2000) has taken the argument beyond Friedmann by emphasizing that global cities function as transaction centres for the key global markets and, moreover, also provide locations for the most powerful and internationally influential firms in the media sector. Sassen's equally influential global city concept (Sassen 1991; 1994) focuses on the functioning of cities as providers of global financial and corporate services. The main line of argument is that the advanced internationalization and global organisation of economic activities requires "nodal points" in the co-ordination and control of these global economic processes. Global cities are thus the prime locations for the production of a "global control capacity". Sassen concentrated in particular on London, New York and Tokyo, which appear in the leading group of all the functional rankings of world/global cities (Short et al 1996; Beaverstock et al 1999).

The initial legacy of these ground-breaking studies has been two-fold: first, a focus on finance, advanced corporate services and related command functions therefore generating a relative neglect of other important economic processes, and second, a general bias to studying the most important cities in globalization and therefore generating a relative neglect of less important cities across the world. Both of these conditions have been more recently challenged. The processes of globalization essentially affect all cities (Marcuse & van Kempen 2000; Scott 2001) and lead to the active or passive integration of a multitude of cities into global economic interrelations. Studies emanating from the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group and Network have explicitly targeted research on large numbers of cities in globalization (Taylor et al 2002a, 2002b). The processes of globalization in cities incorporates "advanced" industrial production as well as services and this is now beginning to be addressed (e.g. Storper 1997). For instance, in many cases these cities also provide central locations for new knowledge-based production chains and for highly innovative production clusters in the fields of information and communications technology, medical engineering, biotechnology, the media industry, etc. These urban centres of "advanced" knowledge-intensive industries are often characterised by strong supra-regional connections with the innovation centres in other metropolitan regions on a global scale. The economic and functional changes in position of cities within a globally networked urban system are determined today by processes of selective geographical concentration of global service capacities as well as knowledge-intensive industrial activities. In a recent publication on "Global City Regions" emphasis is also placed by Scott (et al 2001) on the diversity of economic sectors which tend to cluster building in global city regions and which together transform these geographical nodes into "regional motors of the world economy". This article intends to contribute to the wider debate on world/global cities by highlighting the particular role and spatial configuration of the media industry in the formation of a world city network.

Our methodology is drawn from previous GaWC studies that have concentrated on firms from the specialised corporate services sector, whose expert knowledge and trans-national organisational network give them a "global competence" (Beaverstock et al. 1999; Taylor & Hoyler 2000; Taylor & Walker 2001; Taylor et al. 2002a, b and c). The trans-national location networks of a multitude of global service providers have been analysed, and these locational interlinks interpreted as forming a tangible connection between cities, i.e. as the expression of a world city network that is based on the organisational networks of global service providers. The geographic structures of these corporate inter-city networks have been examined in great detail (Taylor & Walker 2001; Taylor et al. 2002a, b and c). The findings of these in-depth empirical analyses have revealed a considerable variability in the geographies of globalization: there is a geographical complexity to globalization that cannot be reduced to a simple "hierarchy" of world cities functioning as global service providers. There are indeed multiple globalizations within the service sector and, by implication, beyond this sector. Thus there is a challenge for comparisons between the role of cities in different fields of globalizing economic activity.

This paper extends the GaWC approach to a further field of globalizing economic activity. It starts from the assumption that media industries also form a very important part of the world city network: the media industry is a prime mover for globalization processes in the urban arena, in which urban cultural production clusters act as local nodes in the global networks of the large media groups (Krätke 2003). These globally operating media firms are creating a cultural market space of global dimensions, on the basis of which the specialised global service providers can ensure the practical management of global production and markets. The media industry firms' common focus of business activity is (a) the production and distribution of entertainment and (b) the acquisition, preparation, compilation and distribution of information (Beck 2002). This comprises various fields of activity which include film production, television and radio productions, multimedia production, music production, the publishing trade, as well as design agencies and the advertising industry. All these fields of activity make use of new electronic media, and the large media corporations have integrated new media such as the internet within their extended value chains. We might also say that most of the media industry sub-sectors are doing business with "image-producing" activities (Scott 2000), which in today's marketing society include not merely the product images created by advertising and design agencies, but also the lifestyle images communicated via the programme formats of the entertainment and media industries (Krätke 2002). The content of image production activity has a particular spatial dimension in that the lifestyle-images are being picked up in certain localities by "trend-scouts" of the media industry for the purpose of commercialisation. The media industry acts as a focus for the cultural development and opening of markets, given that in large parts of the contemporary economy "market success" is being increasingly founded on the construction of images and extensive marketing activities.

A main characteristic of the geographic organisation of culture industries is the selective concentration of the media industry in a limited number of large cities and metropolises (Scott 2000; Braczyk, Fuchs & Wolf 1999; Krätke 2002), where they tend to form local clusters of media firms. The second important feature of the present-day cultural industry's institutional order is the globalization of large cultural enterprises (Morley and Robins 1995; Robins 1995; Pratt 2000; Held et al. 1999), which enables global media firms with their worldwide network of subsidiaries and branch offices to forge links between the urban clusters of cultural production. This supra-regional linkage of local media industry clusters lies at the heart of an emerging system of global media cities within the worldwide urban network. However, the globalization of the media industry is an aspect of world cities that has so far been neglected. Most of the studies on world cities reveal a tendency to reduce the "high-ranking" cities to their function as financial centres and centres for the provision of specialised corporate services, but we should be aware that global cities and metropolitan regions continue to play a major role in industrial development, particularly as locations for knowledge-based production chains and innovative production clusters. Besides the inter-firm networking within a metropolitan region the leading innovative firms in these urban "knowledge clusters" strongly rely on connections with innovation centres in other urban regions on a global scale. These trans-national connections between the urban regions' industry and service clusters might also represent the basis of the phenomenon of globalizing cities - i.e. the globalization of cities including those that do not rank among the limited number of leading world cities (Marcuse and van Kempen 2000).

Today's cultural economy is characterised by the globalization of corporate organisation and the formation of huge media groups, which not only occupy a prominent position in the cultural economy of individual countries, but are also creating an increasingly global network of branch offices and subsidiaries. This global network of firms linked under the roof of a media group has its local anchoring points in those centres of the worldwide urban system that function as "media cities" (Krätke 2003). The globalization strategy pursued by global media firms is geared, in particular, to opening up markets and increasing market shares by means of a presence in the key international centres of the media industry. Secondly, it reveals an orientation towards "innovation potential": a presence in the leading centres of cultural production allows global media firms to incorporate the newest trends of the culture industry and to exploit the latest technological developments in the media sector. At the local level, the global media firms' establishments network with the small specialised producers and service providers of the media business (Krätke 2002a). This is exactly the point where the role of "creative" urban milieus of media activity comes into play: Local media clusters in large cities are characterized by intensive and flexible forms of inter-firm networking (including local subcontracting and project-oriented forms of networking). The dynamics of clustering involves many small specialized firms as well as the establishments of large media groups, and it leads to "external economies of scale" and a fast spread of new ideas or creative impulses between the media firms present in the respective locality. By establishing a global network of their branch offices and subsidiary firms, the global firms are connecting the internationally distributed urban clusters of media and cultural production with one another. This enables the large media groups to tap the globally distributed creative potential of cultural production. We do not overemphasize the role of large corporate groups as a key to city status, but rather highlight the large media groups' role in creating inter-urban connectivity by establishing the organizational links between many urban media clusters and the creative milieus of their respective locations.

Building on the analysis of global media firms' locational networks and their anchoring points within the worldwide urban arena (Krätke 2003), this article provides two empirical additions. First, we reveal the global "connectivity" of urban media centres and present a comparison between the global media cities and the network of global corporate service centres based on network connectivity measurement (Taylor 2001). Second, we present a first multivariate assessment of the global media industry's world geography, through analyses of the large media groups global locational strategies. This part of the follows on the multivariate assessment of the global service providers' geography (Taylor & Walker 2001: Taylor et al. 2002b)). In this way we contribute in two ways. First, the relative neglect of media industries in world city research is further addressed (following Krätke 2003). Second, we provide an extensive analysis of a world geography of contemporary media as context to continuing intensive studies of media processes (e.g. Grabher 2002).


There has been a severe data deficiency in the study of world cities (Short et al. 1996), particularly for measuring inter-city relations (Taylor 1997). One solution, that pioneered through GaWC researches, has been to conceptualise the world city network as an 'interlocking network' (Taylor 2001) which then allows relations between cities to be measured through data collected on firms. We adopt this approach to our study of global media cities and therefore we begin by describing this research methodology.

An interlocking network has three levels: as well as the usual two level comprising the 'nodal level' (the cities) and the 'network level' (all nodes and links, cities connected), there is a 'subnodal level' comprising service firms. The latter 'interlock' the cities to create a city network through their inter-city locational policies. Global service firms provide a seamless service to corporate clients by having their offices distributed in cities across the world. In order to keep their portfolios of major corporate clients, such worldwide office networks have become necessary investments for service providers in a range of corporate service sectors from the old (e.g. law) to the new (e.g. management consultancy). This has led to cities across the world becoming global service centres. The myriad intra-firm flows of information, knowledge, instruction, ideas, plans, and other business between offices has created a world city network based upon the organizational patterns of global service firms. This is an unusual interlocking network wherein the agents of network formation are at the subnodal level, the service firms who 'interlock' the cities (for further details see Taylor 2001).

The big advantage of using this model of the world city network is that it leads to specific instructions for data collection based upon information that is readily available. The requirement for an interlocking network analysis is a matrix of cities and firms showing which firms have offices in which cities and the relative importance of the cities within a firm's office network. We term the latter the 'service value' of a city to a firm. Such information is readily available on the web sites of major service firms and therefore such 'service value matrices' can be constructed for studying global inter-city relations. Current GaWC analyses of the world city network have been based upon a service value matrix covering 100 global service firms in 315 cities (for further details see Taylor et al. 2002a). The same sort of worldwide locational information is available for media firms and therefore interlocking network data collection can be extended into this sector.

The research on the media industry's world geography started by identifying the most important urban nodes of the global media firms' locational network. A search was made of the location networks of 33 global media firms with a total of 2,766 business units (establishments). To qualify as "global" a media firm had to have a presence in at least three different national economic areas and at least two continents or "world regions" (USA / Canada / Latin America; Europe; Asia / Australia; Africa) with its branch offices, subsidiaries and holding firms. This selection criterion was based on conditions that differ from those required for a listing of the world's largest media firms by turnover or workforce. The 33 global media firms included (a detailed list of these firms with details about turnover, homebase, focus of activity etc. is included in Krätke 2003) incorporate not only the largest firms in the world in terms of sales and employees, but also a number of relatively "small" global firms. Some major groups that are frequently listed in analyses of the media sector turn out on closer inspection to be conglomerates with a completely different business focus - these conglomerates were excluded from the analysis. Accordingly, individual cases of subsidiary or holding firms of genuine media groups that are "alien to the industry" were excluded. The media firms included in the analysis constitute a relevant section of the overall number of global firms in the cultural economy. In some cases, the global media firms have a special focus of business activities (e.g. film / TV / radio, music industry, publishing, advertising), however, the largest media firms often reveal a diversification of their business activities extending across various media industry activities. In order to identify the geographic shape of location networks run by global media firms, the locations of all their branch offices, subsidiaries and holdings were ascertained and entered in a list of 284 cities distributed all over the world. Locations in the surrounding regional area of a city / metropolis were allocated to the higher-ranking centre. In other words, the location area was recorded as being an urban region or metropolitan region.

As a result of this research, we created a 'media value matrix' of 33 global media firms and 284 cities, with the matrix cells indicating the number of establishments of a particular global firm in a particular city. We term this number the 'media value' of a city to a firm. Media values have been used for a ranking of the cities based on the number of business units of globalised media firms that are located in the city-region, and by selecting certain threshold values, it was possible to present a set of "world media cities" in the form of readily distinguishable groups (Krätke 2003). However, the media service matrix can be used for more thorough analyses: to measure the connectivity of media cities and to find distinct geographical configurations of global media firms' locational strategies. These extensions of the analysis are the focus of the following sections.


In an interlocking network, connectivity between cities is derived from the common presence of firms in the cities. The product of the service values of a given firm in cities A and B provides an estimate of the potential intra-firm flows between the cities. Summing these products for city A with all other cities provides an indication of how well connected the city is in the given firm's office or establishment network. If this exercise is carried out for all firms in the data, the overall sum of city A's connectivity across all firms produces a measure of the city's gross network connectivity (for further details see Taylor 2001). Using the service values matrix we have called such measures the global network connectivity of a city and by measuring this across all cities their relative connectivities can be compared (Taylor et al. 2002a). Here we will term this connectivity 'service network connectivity' and compute 'media network connectivity' from the media value matrix. This enables inter-sector world city comparisons to be made.

In Table 1 the top 20 world cities for service network connectivity are listed along with their media network connectivity rankings. Perusing the differences, three features stand out: Pacific Asian cities rank much lower for media connectivities; two US cities, Chicago and San Francisco also rank relatively low; European cities, with the exception of Frankfurt, tend to rank higher on media connectivities. In Table 2 these differences are confirmed when we look at ranking differences of over ten using cities in the top 100 for each sector: with just one exception (Seoul) Pacific Asian cities have weaker media connectivities than service ones; with just one exception (Boston) US cities show the same pattern; and European cities totally dominate the list of cities having greater media connectivities.

These findings appear quite clear cut, how can they be interpreted? The basic point is that to provide a global service to clients, "advanced producer service" firms have created a large number of cities with high connectivity relatively evenly represented in all the major regions of the world (with the exception of Africa). In contrast, the system of global media cities reveals a clear "western bias" in terms of an unequal distribution in favour of selected North-American cities and very many European cities. The global connectivity of North-American media cities is concentrated on two outstanding centres - New York und Los Angeles. Europe, on the other hand, has the largest number of media cities with a high global connectivity. The reason for this is cultural diversity, since the European economic area has a large number of different nation-states compared with the USA and a multitude of distinct "regional" cultures. The global media firms are well aware of the cultural variety and differentiation of their global audiences, customers and consumers and have long given their products and programmes a "regional touch" with a view to stabilising or enhancing their global market success (Morley and Robins 1995). In other words, they have adapted their products and programmes to specific regional or national tastes and cultural preferences.

This trend towards cultural market differentiation is at the same time a driving force for the organisation of global production networks in the culture and media industries with "local" anchoring points in different nation-states, which is very well illustrated by the outstanding number of high ranking media cities in Europe characterised by a high connectivity. On this basis, the present-day flows of cultural globalization proceed primarily from the industrialised nations of the West and their market-focused culture and media industries. The formats and contents of Western cultural production circulate among European countries and between the USA and Europe and they are also available virtually anywhere in the world. Even if many of the largest global media groups have their headquarters in the USA, Europe is the world region, in which these media firms and their international location networks are intensively anchored. This is the result, on the one hand, of the above mentioned strategy of market differentiation and, on the other, of a strategy of integration into important regional production clusters of the cultural industry and of the tapping of the innovation potential in different "media cities". The level of differentiation in the network of the European global media cities (in contrast to the USA) and the number of highly connective media cities can be regarded as a strong point of the European economic area: Europe has a polycentric network of major centres of cultural production and the media industry that enables global media firms to link up in a multitude of media cities with the special local clusters of cultural production.

In conclusion: many European media cities with a high connectivity are functioning as global nodal points to define a privileged world region within the developing worldwide commercial culture and media sector.


This finding of a 'privileged Europe' within a media-based world city network can be further explored through defining the spatial configuration of global media firms. With the service values matrix we have used principal components analyses (with varimax rotation) to delineate the major common dimensions of variability across cities for the global service firms. The components define what can be thought of 'composite' locational strategies, they combine the strategies of firms who have similar patterns of offices across the world. (for further details see Taylor and Walker 2001 and Taylor et al. 2000c). This is a parsimonious approach to analysing a data matrix. For instance, in analysis of the service value matrix the locational strategies of the 100 service firms were reduced to just six common patterns or distinctive composite strategies which between them accounted for 52.2% of the total variance (Taylor et al. 2002c). In other words more than half the variation of firm's networks across cities can be described as just six patterns. It is this technique that we apply to the media values matrix.

There is one important limitation on applying this technique to a data matrix - the analysis is sensitive to sparseness in the matrix. Sparseness occurs when there are a large number of zeros; in this case when small cities record many zeros (i.e. few firms are present in a city). To counter this problem the services values matrix was reduced to just the top 123 cities for analysis (Taylor et al. 2002b). For analysis of the media values matrix we select only cities with a presence in at least five establishments of global media firms which provides us with a set of 104 cities to analyse.

We experimented with several principal components solutions (see Taylor et al. 2002b for a discussion of this 'exploration strategy') and we present results for an eight components analysis that combines stable (repeatable) results with reasonable interpretability. This solution accounts for 78.8% of the original variation. This is much higher than the 52.2% for the service values matrix not just because we use more components (eight instead of six). There are two other main reasons: first, the media values matrix is smaller with only 33 firms; and second, there is a greater variety of firms (e.g. law partnerships, banking corporations, huge accountancy firms) in the service values matrix. Thus the analysis reported here is a tighter one in the sense of representing much more of the input matrix's initial variance.

The eight components divide into two groups in terms of their relative importance. Four describe major dimensions of the data each accounting for over 10% of total variance; the other four describe minor dimensions accounting for about 5% of the variance each. For each component we have two sets of results. First, there are component loadings that measure the correlation between a firm's media service values across the cities and a given component as a composite pattern of values across the cities. The main loadings on each component are shown in Table 3. These results tell us which firms are associated with which component and are therefore vital for interpreting the new composite patterns. Second, there are component scores that show how important a city is for the composition of a given component. The larger the score, the more important a city's media values are for producing the given composite patterns. Since we are concerned with the spatial configuration of services our description focuses especially on the component scores for cities.

The distribution of component scores across cities is very distinctive and follows the pattern found for the service value analyses (Taylor et al. 2002c). For all but one component there are very large scores that pick out just one or two cities as extremely important. As with the service results, we interpret these cities as the major locales through which certain firms (as indicated by the loadings) articulate their activities across the world. Articulator cities are defined by having a component score above 4. Below this level, cities with scores between 1 and 3 are deemed to be primary field cities and those scoring above 0.25 up to 1 are secondary field cities. All other cities scoring above the median score (i.e. in the top 52 cities) are also identified. Between them these four levels of scores define the global media field as described by that component. Thus our results consist of eight distinctive global media fields that constitute the spatial configuration of global media.


The global media fields are presented on a cartogram that shows the 104 cities in approximately their physical location (Figures 1 to 8). The three levels of scores are depicted to show the geography of the media fields and these patterns are interpreted in conjunction with component loadings (Table 3). Fields are labelled by their articulator cities.

The New York - Los Angeles articulated global media field (Component I)

This is the largest component and accounts for 18.7 % of the total variance. In Table 3 we can see that it represents 7 global media firms which include a majority of large diversified media groups with an American home-base such as Disney, Viacom, AOL, Sony Pictures/Sony Music (headquarter Los Angeles/New York), and Thomson (Toronto). These are joined by the News Corporation (Sydney) and BBC Worldwide (London) which both have an American focus in their 'overseas' activities.

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 1. Perhaps not surprisingly, this global field is articulated through New York and Los Angeles and their dominance is accentuated by their being no primary field cities with this component. The secondary field cities are interesting: there are ten of them, half located in the USA and four in the western Pacific Rim. Europe is represented only by Milan. The US orientation of this field is confirmed by all but one US city (Detroit) being above the Median. As for the rest of the world, in this media field it is represented by a wide scatter of above median cities.

In summary: this is a global media field largely focused upon the USA but with a lesser Asian concentration and with Europe being relatively unimportant.

The Munich - Berlin articulated global media field (Component II)

This second largest component accounts for 15.4 % of the total variance. From Table 3 it can be seen that the component represents 6 global media firms with a German home-base (Bertelsmann, Das Werk, Kirch-Group, Kinowelt, Constantin, Senator). With the exception of Bertelsmann, one of the world's largest diversified media groups, these German media firms are focussing their activities on the film and TV business (partially including multimedia).

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 2. This German-based component produces a media field articulated through Munich and Berlin and in which two other German cities (Cologne and Hamburg) operate as primary field centres. In general this field is the opposite of the previous one with a large concentration of cities in Europe, all the secondary field cities are European (Dusseldorf, London, Frankfurt, Zurich and Milan). In contrast, in the rest of the world, including the USA and Pacific Asia, the field is represented by just a scatter of above median cities. There is one major exception to this generalization: Los Angeles. The US city is the third primary field city and represents the only major extra-European 'anchor' in world media space for German media firms. This reflects German firms' focus of activities on TV and film.

In summary: this is a largely European orientated field centred on Germany.

The London articulated global media field (Component III)

This component accounts for 14.6 % of the total variance. In Table 3 we can see that it represents 6 global media firms that have their home-base in the UK (Chrysalis, Granada, Rank Group, Pearson, EMI, Cordiant Communication). These British firms have a diverse focus of business activities that extend from the music industry to publishing and to film and TV business as well as the media groups with diversified activities.

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 3 where London can be seen as sole articulator. The British global media firms have anchored their organizational network in many "world-regions" by establishing primary and secondary field cities in Europe as well as in the USA and Canada and also in Australia. In Europe, Amsterdam, Manchester, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Rome and Athens functioning as secondary field cities. In North America, Toronto is a primary field centre and Boston operates as a secondary one. In Australia, Melbourne is a secondary field city. Beyond this organization both Pacific Asia and Latin America are well represented by above median cities.

In summary: although with a European orientation like the last media field, this one clearly has a more global field.

The Paris articulated global media field (Component IV)

The last of the major components in the analysis, it accounts for 10.5 % of the total variance. Table 3 shows that it represents 5 global media firms, the majority of which have their home-base in France and in the Francophone-Canadian territory (Publicis, Vivendi Universal, Quebecor), plus a London-based global firm in the publishing business (Reed Elsevier) and a very large New York-based global advertising firm (BBDO), which is included in this group because of the strong internal organizational linkage with a large French advertising firm.

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 4. Articulated through Paris, this field is like London's in having a European bias but with also good represention is several "world regions", more so, in fact,than London. This field has four primary field cities, three in Europe (Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Barcelona) and Montreal, the largest Francophone city after Paris. Secondary field cities are found in North America (Toronto, New York, Los Angeles), Latin America (Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires) and Pacific Asia (Beijing) as well as there being eight scattered across Europe. Otherwise above median cities are widely scattered but under-concentrated in the USA and Pacific Asia.

In summary: again a European orientated field but with distinctive features, in this case the quantity of field centres in Europe and across the world stands out.

The second New York articulated global media field (Component V)

Although it accounts for only 5.9 % of the total variance, this is a fascinating and unique global field. In Table 3 it can be seen that this component component represents only 2 global media firms, both with a German home-base: Holtzbrinck (Stuttgart) has its centre of activity in the publishing business, and Pixelpark (Berlin) concentrates on new media (multimedia and internet business).

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 5. What makes this field so distinctive is that it is European orientated while being articulated through New York. Thus the field reflects the world region of the home base of the firms - all six primary field cities are in Europe - but the articulator city is outside this world region. Interestingly, a similar component featuring an extra-regional New York articulation is found in the analysis of the service values matrix (Taylor et al. 2002c). In general we can note that this field encompasses national media centres (capital cities or other leading cities) in countries across the world with under-representation in Asia. In contrast Europe, as well as having all primary field centres, also includes a large number of secondary field centres (11). Within Europe there tends to be an eastern bias.

In summary: this is further European orientated media field that is distinctive by being articulated through an extra-regional world city, New York.

The Stockholm - Copenhagen - Oslo articulated global media field (component VI)

This is another interesting media field despite accounting for only 5.1 % of the total variance. Table 3 shows that it represents 2 global media firms which have their home-base in the Scandinavian countries: Egmont (Copenhagen) is a large diversified media group, whereas Cell Network (Stockholm) centres its activities on new media (multimedia and internet business).

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 6. It is unusual in being articulated through three relatively minor world cities, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. This comment can be extended to the two primary field cities, Helsinki and Berlin. Thus very northern European in its orientation, it is still genuinely a global field with a wide spread of secondary field cities: London, Madrid, Milan, Chicago, San Francisco, and Kuala Lumpur. Taking above median cities into account, the field is relatively well represented through the Americas but less so in Asia.

In summary: a small northern European orientated media field with a scatter of important cities across the rest of the world.

The non-articulated global media field (Component VI)

Given its label, it will be understood that this component, which accounts for 5.0 % of total variance is unique in this analysis. The component represents two media firms, Zenith and UIP (United International Pictures), which both have their home-base in London.

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 7. There are no articulator cities in this media field. The highest scoring cities are Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore and so this might be interpreted as an incipient Pacific Asian orientated media field. However, overall, Pacific Asia is less well represented than Europe: there is only one other primary field city in Pacific Asia whereas there are nine in Europe. Elsewhere Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai and Johannesburg are primary field cities. The secondary field cities are similarly distributed through all regions but with a dearth in the USA and Canada.

In summary: a widespread global media field without an articulator city and relatively weak in the USA.

The Rome articulated global media field (Component VIII)

By far the smallest component, it accounts for a mere 3.6 % of total variance. Table 3 shows that it is the only component we have recognised that represents one single global media firm, RAI based in Rome. This firm's activity is concentrating on the film, TV and broadcasting business. The component is included because the firm it represents has a distinctive and separate global media field.

The global media field is illustrated in Figure 8. Articulated through Rome, the field shows five primary field cities, Milan, Madrid and Barcelona in Europe plus two in north eastern America, New York and Toronto. This north eastern American bias is consolidated by secondary field cities (Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia, plus Chicago). The other nine secondary field cities are all scattered across Europe except for Buenos Aires. The latter reflects a concentration of above median cities in Latin America. Asia is particularly under represented in this media field.

In summary: this is a very specific global media field orientated to southern Europe and north eastern America.

Overall, we can note that the eight new world geographies we have presented usually reflect the origins of firms but they also illustrate different locational strategies for doing business globally. Thus the global media fields all highlight the fact that the organizational networks of global media firms have established worldwide links and a large variety of geographic anchoring points within the world city network. In addition, the analysis also reveals that in many cases the global media firms still have concentrated their locational centres of activity in particular geographic arenas which are close to the respective media firm's home-base.


Rather than simply reprise our findings we address how they relate to the current difficulties in this sector with the highly publicised breaking up of some big names. This is obviously a very rapidly changing sector in which the take-overs and amalgamations of the recent boom/growth period are under pressure in the global economy downturn.

As an information and entertainment industry the media industry actually could be included with the "old economy", because in the industrialized countries the media industry is long established. This is connected with the fact that expansion of media consumption is a long-term phenomenon based upon the never saturatable demand for ever and ever new products and programmes of information and entertainment in terms of the content supply. In addition, it is connected with the continuing innovation process in the culture and media industries that not only create their products and programmes with rapidly changing contents but also integrate new information and communication technologies as well as new media in their production processes and distribution channels. In contrast to this view, the media industry today is frequently regarded as an important part of the so called "New Economy", particularly as many of the media firms with a quotation on the stock exchange are included in the so called "new market" branch of the stock market. However, it is impossible to make a clear distinction between the 'new media' sub-sector and the media industry as a whole, since there is a strong tendency of 'media convergence' and new media activities are being integrated to a large extent within the value chain of large diversified media corporations.

New and long established firms of the media industry have been included with the "New Economy" not only because of their association with information, communication and electronic media, but also for the purpose of marketing, since up to the recent collapse of the New Economy's stock market prices this sector had been regarded as a quite attractive growth machine which were untouchable by business cycles and crisis. Before the New Economy's stock market collapsed in 2000, firms in the internet and the e-commerce business had experienced several years a tremendous rise in their (often quite fictitious) stock market prices and could mobilize on this basis a large amount of "fresh money" to finance their activities. However, the apologists of the New Economy overlooked the fact that newly founded internet services or new e-commerce enterprises in the long run have to really sell their services and goods to real world customers, quite the same as 150 years ago the railway companies couldn't persist in their start-up euphoria of that time but had to really transport goods and people in order to make non-fictitious profits. In this way there continues to exist a strong connection between the "New Economy" and the demand coming from the "old economy" which stands for the majority of potential customers of its products and services. This applies also to those internet firms which supply information and communication services within the publicity sector of the media industry and thus are relying on advertising income from the "old economy" firms. Today, old and new media are competing with each other, whereby the old media like print media, broadcasting, cinema and television are not driven out of the market. Instead, we are facing on the side of producers an integration of old and new media, whereby the large media companies act in different fields of media production at the same time and particularly organize a multiple exploitation of the same content by different media channels. Critical to this paper, this has been one of the driving forces of concentration in the media industry leading to the globalization geographies we have described.

In 2000 the big bubble of the New Economy collapsed and in early 2001 there hardly existed a New Economy share which had not lost 70-90 % of its stock market value. This breakdown also applied to the internet firms and their content providers within the media industry, and thus the crisis also affected the large diversified media firms. However, the collapse of the New Economy's stock market prices doesn't mean that the majority of the established firms in the information and media industries have been failing - it rather indicates a failure of speculation in these growth sectors. Nonetheless, this has indirectly hit also the firms with a real economic base, since the survivors as well as the latest newcomer firms in the media, information and communication industries today are being confronted with increasing difficulties in raising investment funds for their business on the stock market. Thus, the New Economy crisis and the global economy downturn has contributed to the recent collapse of some large and well-known global players of the media business, which currently leads to the restructuring of some large media groups by take-overs from the collapsed firms. Therefore the media industry reveals a rapidly changing organizational structure (in terms of "who belongs to whom") of which we have produced just a 'geographical snapshot'.

One of the global players included in this analysis who broke down recently was the "Kirch Group" based in Munich. This globally operating media firm was characterised by the formation of a particular multiplicity of subsidiary firms and holding companies within the Munich metropolitan region. Munich's position among the global media cities and its high connectivity was predominantly built upon the Kirch business empire. The current restructuring of the Kirch Group will, on the one hand, lead to the acquisition of the most important establishments and subsidiary firms by other global media groups, and on the other hand, it will lead to a reduction in the total number of (formerly Kirch owned) companies in Munich's media sector, so that in terms of the ranking analysis of global media cities (Krätke 2003) particularly the relative position of the closest competitor - Berlin - might become stronger than indicated.

Our study has provided a cross-sectional time analysis in a period of massive organizational upheaval. Given the current performances of many media companies it is perhaps understandable that there are frequent criticisms of the arbitrariness of many multimedia combinations. However, this study suggests that this is not necessarily the right place to focus criticism. Our analyses do show that there seems to be geographical logics behind the original creation of the large companies. In other words, the geographies reflect consistent patterns of global locational strategies. If the amalgamation had been wholly opportunistic and therefore quite arbitrary in economic and economic geography terms, there would have been little or no clustering of firms in terms of their global patterns of activity. The fact that we have been able to reduce the organizational geographies of 33 separate firms to just 8 basic patterns accounting for nearly four fifths of the original variability between firms shows a highly structured geography. This implies that beyond the fall-out of current restructuring, there is a geographic logic that is likely to survive in a continuing globalization of the media industry.


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* Stefan Krätke, Economic and Social Geography, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany; E-mail:

** Peter J. Taylor, Department of Geography, Loughborough University, UK; E-mail:

Table 1: How the Top 20 Connected Business Service Cities fare in terms of Media Connectivity by Ranks

Service rank


Media rank



















































































Table 2: Differences in Ranking: Cities in Top 100 Connectivity for both Media and Business Services






Tel Aviv


















Ho Chi Minh






Rio de Janeiro




























New Delhi


Kuala Lumpur





Washington, DC










San Francisco


Mexico City



Panama City


























Table 3: High Loadings (above 0.4) by Firms on 8 Components












































































































Figure 1: Global media field articulated through New York and Los Angeles 

City codes: AD Adelaide; AK Auckland; AM Amsterdam; AN Antwerp; AS Athens; AT Atlanta; BA Buenos Aires; BB Brisbane; BC Barcelona; BD Budapest; BJ Beijing; BK Bangkok; BL Berlin; BM Baltimore; BN Bangalore; BO Bogota; BR Brussels; BS Boston; BU Bucharest; BV Bratislava; BT Beirut; CA Cairo; CC Calcutta; CH Chicago; CL Charlotte; CP Copenhagen; CO Cologne; CR Caracas; DA Dallas; DB Dublin; DS Dusseldorf; DT Detroit; DU Dubai; DV Denver; ED Edinburgh; FR Frankfurt; GC Guatemala City; GU Gutersloh; GZ Guangzhou; HB Hamburg; HC Ho Chi Mingh City; HK Hong Kong; HL Helsinki; HO Hobart; HS Houston; IS Istanbul; JB Johannesburg; JD Jeddah; JK Jakarta; KL Kuala Lumpur; KV Kiev; LA Los Angeles; LB Lisbon; LM Lima; LN London; LX Luxembourg City; LY Lyon; MB Mumbai; MC Manchester; MD Madrid; ME Melbourne; MI Miami; ML Milan; MN Manila; MP Minneapolis; MS Moscow; MT Montreal; MU Munich; MV Montevideo; MX Mexico City; ND New Delhi; NY New York; OS Oslo; PA Paris; PD Portland; PH Philadelphia; PN Panama City; PR Prague; RJ Rio de Janeiro; RM Rome; SA Santiago; SD Santa Domingo; SE Seattle; SF San Francisco; SG Singapore; SH Shanghai; SJ San Jose; SK Stockholm; SL St Louis; SO Sofia; SP Sao Paulo; ST Stuttgart; SU Seoul: SY Sydney; TA Tel Aviv; TP Taipei; TR Toronto; TU Turin; VI Vienna; WC Washington DC; WS Warsaw; ZG Zagreb; ZU Zurich

Figure 2: Global media field articulated through Munich and Berlin (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 3: Global media field articulated through London (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 4: Global media field articulated through Paris (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 5: Global media field articulated through New York (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 6: Global media field articulated through Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 7: Unarticulated global media field (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Figure 8: Global media field articulated through Rome (for city codes see Figure 1) 

Edited and posted on the web on 9th November 2002; last update 15th March 2003

Note: This Research Bulletin has been published in European Planning Studies, 12 (4), (2004), 459-477