Between Informal and Formal Cultural Economy

Chinese subtitle groups and flexible accumulation in the age of online viewing

Authored by: Kelly Hu

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415749428
eBook ISBN: 9781315643106
Adobe ISBN: 9781317285014


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An article published in June 2014 by Taiwan’s Wealth Magazine, with the sensational title “China takes over your eyes: Predicting the demise of the TV industry,” describes how Chinese video websites have displaced the role of TV and become the most important and influential platform for everyday viewing in China and Taiwan (Huang 2014). According to this report, one of the main advantages of Chinese video websites is their almost immediate updating of numerous recent programs from the United States, Japan, and Korea with Chinese subtitles. (The websites were also recognized for offering an extensive variety of Chinese language programs made in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.) The article notes that the rate at which TVs are switched on in Beijing has decreased to 30 percent of its former level. From a Taiwanese standpoint, the writer argues that despite the long-term, serious problems of over-competition, low-ratings, and low-cost production in the Taiwanese TV industry, it is Chinese video websites that have threatened the industry’s survival.

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