Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


3 May 2017

Prime-Time Chinese TV Dramas in the Era of Entertainment

Presented By Yingzi Wang
  • 1-2pm (part of the CRCC seminar series)
  • Brockington U1.22

About this event

Prime-Time Chinese TV Dramas in the Era of Entertainment

Following the market reforms in the 1990s, Chinese television has become increasingly driven by ratings and stepped up its production of popular entertainment. While the television is still a useful instrument for Party propaganda, the party-state began to encourage using popular formats to propagate political agendas and treat TV dramas as an important site of ideological persuasion. From a longitudinal perspective, this chapter examines how TV drama has contributed to promoting official agenda, and explores the extent to which state-owned television stations have departed from the propaganda route and focused on entertainment. By adopting quantitative content analysis, I looked at the main themes in prime-time dramas aired on CCTV-1 and Hunan Satellite TV from 1992 to 2015. The results show that CCTV-1, as the central channel, remains the key site in disseminating the Party’s wills; but increasingly, it shows more interest in screening audience-favoured themes. On the other platform, Hunan TV has been granted a large degree of programming autonomy, merely with the requirements to comply with propaganda on certain occasions. This suggests that the propaganda and entertainment processes via television become increasingly intertwined with each other.

This event is part of the CRCC seminar series.