Localization as negotiation: Producing a Korean format in contemporary China

Wenna Zeng, Colin Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


This article analyses the localization, as Hurry Up, Brother, of the Korean celebrity reality game show format Running Man by the Chinese broadcaster Zhejiang Satellite TV. Based upon field work involving participant observation and interviews with Chinese and Korean production personnel, the article explores the complex forces involved in realizing the final, highly successful, project. It is argued that localization involves the interplay of complex forces, the outcome of which is a process of negotiation. In particular, the article analyses in detail two major players in this production, Korean format consultants and the Chinese production team. It details the distinctively Korean practice of licensing a format without recourse to a formal specification of production details, and Chinese television professionals’ response to these practices. It is shown that the more informal methods employed result in a transfer of decision-making power from the Korean company to the Chinese company in the course of the production. As a television format show produced in China, the production of Hurry Up, Brother necessarily involved interaction with political forces as well as cultural differences between China and Korea. The article concludes with considering the implications of the findings for our concepts of globalization, localization and hybridization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Digital Television
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Media Technology
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • China-Korea
  • Cultural difference
  • Decision-making
  • Ideological control
  • Localization
  • Negotiation
  • Television format


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