- Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 14: Editor’s introduction
Significant changes have occurred in the past decade in the management of China’s media and cultural sectors. Some sectors have resisted structural change but the trend towards commercialization and digitalization is irreversible. The adjective ‘traditional’ preceding the term cultural and creative industries sectors therefore requires some clarification in an era of convergent media. In the context of the ensuing discussion the term describes well-established cultural pursuits that have been central to social life for decades but which have recently come into the spotlight and are expected to deliver economic dividends; often these are government-funded institutions (shiye) as much as enterprise or industry formations (qiye). The ‘traditional sectors’ addressed in this section are broadcasting (television and radio), film, animation, music and publishing. The most significant change is the marketization and commercialization of cultural production. For instance, the commercial imperative in media production has changed how people work, how funds are allocated to production, and the way that content is regulated; moreover, it has allowed content to reach hitherto unacknowledged audiences. Unquestionably, the rapid ascent of online platforms is challenging the role that these media play in people’s daily lives, in particular changing the way that content is distributed and accessed, a theme that is dealt with in considerable depth in the following section. The rise of the market and its complexities offers new opportunities to engage in research into Chinese production culture.
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