Herbert Schiller and a group of Latin American scholars (i.e. Mattelart) are responsible for one version of media imperialism that understands US media imperialism in terms of its functions of seeling media-related US hardward and software, promoting an image of the USA and of the world that was favourable to American interests, and of advertising American goods and services – directly through the provision of more channels for advertising, and indirectly through the display of consumer lifestyles (Boyd-Barrett). This focus did not have to do with issues of meaning, audience and reception as much as it focused on political economy and its relevance to media.

Boyd-Barrett critiques the Schiller model for being totalistic for its restrictions on time and space: it presumes US dominance across both time and space, which no room for change or resistance. It is also uncompromisingly negative, not leaving the door open for benefits and losses.