The cross-border media communication (cbmc) research project investigates how, why and when media products transcend national and cultural borders. It is about the activities of media organizations on foreign markets – this includes the trade of media goods, their import and export, but also financial investments, acquisitions, co-operations as well as the transfer and exchange of knowledge and human resources. The cbmc-project is about communication, because cross-border activities eventually are communicative processes, they are cross-border communication. Identifying potential foreign markets, choosing cooperation partners and executing transnational trade – all these activities demand decisions that are coordinated in communication processes.

Economic aspects of cross-border media communication are formed by the specific attributes of the media markets, companies and products. The cbmc-project analyzes how these three economic entities might be characterized under the conditions of transnational (i.e. transcending national borders) and transcultural (i.e. transcending cultural boundaries) communication. Thereby, it takes into account the (possible) differences and variations in market conditions as well as the differences and variations in strategies, instruments, and mechanisms applied by companies who act on foreign markets. These variations and differences not least result from the differences between media products. The specific properties of different media products – the project specifically focuses on entertainment on the one and information on the other hand – influence how market conditions evolve, change and are formed. They influence whether, how and why companies engage in cross-border activities.

Compared to previous studies the cbmc-project takes a more sophisticated and amplified look at cross-border activities. Previous studies have analyzed the exchange of media products but ignored further forms of cross-border activities. Thus, the project’s focus isn’t reduced to abstract key data, overall market structures, market conducts, and market performances but additionally investigates the media companies’ actions and media managers’ role within this complex relationship. The basic idea applied to this extensive perspective is that the media markets and the companies’ actions influence each other. They form each other and at the same time resort to each other.

To accommodate the research objective of a broad understanding of cross-border activities on media markets the analyses comprise different countries. The quality and extent of cross-border activities differ between different national territories and cultural regions. Big, medium and small countries might be identified in terms of audience markets as well as media product exchange. Each country features specific economic, cultural, and political conditions that influence how the media markets develop and how media companies act. Thus, the cbmc-project analyzes eight different countries including the U.S., the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and the Netherlands as well as one of the emerging markets Mexico, India or China.