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Understanding Global Media Industries: China, reality televi

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Andy Ruddock

on 26 March 2014

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Transcript of Understanding Global Media Industries: China, reality televi

Understanding Global TV: China, reality TV and media governance.
From an industries to an audiences view: Using Quiqin Yu to & Chinese Media Studies to explain why Super Girl matters

The temptation to think of China simply in terms of the CCP’s ambition to control public discourse reflects the relative lack of research on the empirical details of how media industries actually work on the ground (Yu, 2011).
China is a paradigm of the general idea that ‘state control’ cannot be explained by notions of functionalism, centrism and spectacularism;
the ideas that media are always motivated toward the preservation of social balance that already exists (functionalism),
that this is a simple projection of the interests of those who already have power (centrism),
and that these processes are best addressed in the study of major media events, such as the Olympics (spectacularism).
Eventually, this becomes an audiences/everyday life question, because the ‘propaganda’ focus also ignores how mobile media matter affectively in the things ordinary Chinese people do to make their lives feel better in ordinary places like ”railway stations, subways, taxis, worksites, dormitories and tourist zones” (Yu, 2011: 71).

Propaganda
Habit: The 4th stage of audience studies?
"The value of audiences is redefined by media while selling participation to them. In traditional studio-based broadcasting, the target audiences for advertisers are judged by purchasing power, need and wants as potential consumers. In broadcasting as transaction, within the particular transactional venue of an extended studio space, participation is reduced to a commodity that sells at 1 yuan per shot" (Huang & Chitty, 2009: 131-2)

Conclusion
Why is gloabl reality TV a political issue in China?
Understanding Global Media Industries: China, reality television and media governance
Learning Outcomes
Explain why trivial media experiences matter politically.
Understand the complexities behind the concepts of cultural imperialism, political economy and cultural industries
Understand key conceptual changes in the sphere of audience theory.
The importance of Chinese media studies as a distinct field.
Write Assignment 1, essay 3.

"The audience watches this program with a distorted mentality, and this presents a dire picture to a nation and a nationality. The audience watches the program under a distorted mentality and in an unhealthy condition. Open the doors and windows to let in fresh air, and flies and mosquitos are bound to come in too. This is nothing to be surprised at; it is completely understandable. The problem lies in how we face these mosquitos and flies. We cannot let our youth be contaminated in the midst of entertainment and laughter." Liu Zhongde, Chinese Minister for Culture, 1992-1998
http://www.danwei.org/trends_and_buzz/cppcc_exterminate_the_super_girls.php

"In July 2004, Apple and Motorola broke new ground in the mobile music industry with a news release: ‘Motorola and Apple Bring iTunes@Music Player to Motorola’s Next-Generation Mobile Phones’ (Motorola, 2004a) The new partnership will enable millions of music lovers to transfer their favourite songs from the iTunes@jukebox to Motorola’s next-generation ‘always with you’ mobile handsets via a USB or Bluetooth connection. The handset maker’s attempt to build a rich interface between music and cool marketing materialized at lightening speed (Wang, 2005: 185)"

Media, business and everyday life.
Ideology has an everyday symbolic life....
...which is changing due to new interfaces between the state and media businesses. Super Girl was an experiment in new forms of media governance.
From Propaganda to pop culture.
Persuasive Entertainment
"Even if some foreign country like Cuba or Vietnam should dare to enter into open conflict with the United States…Disney makes them run a gauntlet of magazines. There are two forms of killing; by machine gun and saccharine…According to Disney, underdeveloped peoples are like children, to be treated as such, and if they don’t accept this definition of themselves, they should have their pants taken down and given a good spanking" (1984: 48).

MTV Asia
MTV China
“The authorities seem to have…given special permission to trial collaborative ventures with global capital to create a new youth culture, which combines a sense of Chineseness with a Western modernity stripped of any strong political values” (Fung, 2006: 77)
Media Business-Music, conflict and cooperation
"Derived from the historically derogatory racial slur “chink”, used to out-down Chinese people, “chinked-out” repossesses the word, turns its negative connotations upside-down, and uses them as material to fuel the new sound of this music. The term describes an effort to create a sound that is international, and at the same time, Chinese. In this album, I decided to implement some of China’s most precious and untapped resources, the musics of its “shao shu min zu,” or ethnic minorities... This is NOT one of those “world music” CDs. It’s an R&B/hip-hop album that creates a new vibe the whole world can identify as being Chinese". Wang LeeHom

A common theme in youth media studies is the idea that international media formats only succeed when they blend with local cultures

...In China, they also have to blend with local political culture through business.
Why Super Girl? Chinese Media Studies.
A question of Audiences
Super Girl connects reality television and Chinese youth with the history of thought on propaganda, transnational media, and the effects of media practices that turn publics into audiences.
This is an audiences question, because the importance of Super Girl depends on how ordinary people react to it.
These reactions, and the anxieties, can be categorised according to 3 different sort of audience response:
Behavioural
Ideological
Performative

Research Question:
Can media produce immediate changes in thought and action?
Political question
Post Great War US concerns about power of propaganda and the rise of Communism
Super Girl question
Anti-social behaviour:
When semi-autonomous TV stations are allowed to import western formats, does this present an immediate threat to social order?
Evidence
The fear that teens would skip school to audition

Behaviours
Ideology
Research Question
:
How do media encourage audiences to accept social inequality, how do audiences fight back by rejecting or reinventing political messages?

Political question
UK television sides with middle class anti-union interests

Super Girl question
Political resistance:
When semi-autonomous TV stations are allowed to import western formats, does this present a long term threat to social values?
How do media encode implicit ideological messages inot their content, and how does this affect our understanding of how the world works?
Evidence
Super girl as "Pearl Harbour"

Performance.
Research Question:
How do media become essential to identity, and how do they collapse the boundaries between different sorts of identities (consumer/citizen/audience)?
Political question:
The politicisation of everyday life; we are constantly 'reading' responding to' and 'making' political messages
Super Girl question
Performance:

How do Chinese audiences perform as consumers, does this affect their performance as citizens?
Evidence
Action: "Super Girls has constituted an enormous 'NGO Political space' that has afforded new possibilities in thought and action. It has also created new relationships between audiences, and new types of audience function" (Zhong, 2007)

Relevance to International studies
The ordinary act of voting on Super Girl might be evidence of the 'deal' that Stephanie Donald identified
The Chinese experience of reality talent shows exemplifies important shifts in understanding international media flows.
These shifts involve the transitions from propaganda, to the politics of popular culture, to the politics of media practice.
Audience theory provides a valuable way of conceiving the connections between the state, media businesses and the public.
Focusing on audience habits suggests that the matter of how state, business and audience interact in media practices is more important than the meaning of media content.|
Persuading through political messages.
Popularising values through entertainment
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