A political economy of online film exhibition in China

  • Kan Peng

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    As one of the most revolutionary technologies in human history, the Internet has dramatically transformed the media industry, including the film exhibition industry. In China, new online exhibition networks have continuously been established to exploit the lucrative markets of Internet users' online viewing and sharing habits. The destinies of different types of films in the Chinese market have been greatly changed due to the increasing connections and contradictions between China's Internet and film exhibition industry which are influenced by many political economy factors, such as the conflicting interests among different government departments. Therefore, this paper examines the Internet's impact on film exhibition in China from a political economy perspective. The thesis first traces the history of two online exhibition networks related to China's film market. One is the online video websites that accumulated their early capital by piracy content, but which were then progressively legalized under the forces of venture capital and government administration. The other is the online piracy network, which has become a problem for film industries worldwide , due to its transnational, decentralized and limitless network. However, this network also functions as a democratic tool to combat with the ideological controls of the government. This thesis argues that these two online exhibition networks are fated to conflict with each other since they operate under two conflicting logics. The former operates in the logic of capital gains, while the latter celebrates the logic of ommunal sharing and exchange. Based on the analysis of the dynamic between these two online exhibition networks, this thesis further investigates how, in the context of China's particular political economy, three different types of film are influenced by the two networks. The first is Chinese commercial films, which are making more and more profits from online video websites, while facing the challenge of online piracy. The second are foreigll'films, which are expanding their influence and bypassing the entry barriers into the Chinese market through the online video websites and piracy networks. The third are so-called Chinese independent films. As these films cannot be distributed through state-controlled channels, Chinese independent film 's domestic circulation was once quite confined. For independent films, the Internet has become an important exhibition channel that extends their influence to a wider domestic audience and even a bargaining chip with which to negotiate with the state's rigorous censorship system
    Date of Award5 Nov 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorEmilie Y Y YEH (Supervisor)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • China
    • Internet marketing
    • Motion pictures

    Cite this