Distinction and Cosmopolitanism: Latin American Middle-Class, Elite Audiences and Their Preferences for Transnational Television and Film

Joseph Straubhaar, Melissa Santillana, Vanessa de Macedo Higgins-Joyce, Luiz G. Duarte


This article explores three seemingly promising theories to explain the television preferences of upper-middle-class and elite audiences in Latin America. We discuss how ideas on cultural distinction, cosmopolitanism, and cultural omnivores aid the understanding of elite audiences, from their use of satellite and cable TV to their growing use of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+. This study is based on a secondary analysis of data from TGI Latina, a biannual marketing and media consumption survey conducted in eight Latin American countries by the marketing intelligence firm Kantar Media. Based on the data we analyzed, we argue that the concepts of distinction, cosmopolitanism, and cultural omnivores are related, and all help us understand the evolving national versus imported television preferences of Latin American audiences.


television, streaming, cosmopolitanism, distinction, cultural omnivores, audiences, consumption

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