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Title: Between a rock and a hard place : the development of Chinese tabloid television
Author: Zhu, Lian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 3293
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis is an examination of the development of régionalisation, marketisation and commercialisation in contemporary Chinese broadcasting, focusing in particular on the turn to tabloid content and tabloid programming formats and styles. It argues that tabloidisation is the major consequence of the requirement by the Chinese state of the broadcasting media to become entirely reliant on the market for its financial operations and returns. Tabloidisation shares various general features wherever it becomes a dominant tendency in media development, whether in western societies, third world countries, postcolonial countries and ex-communist nations. Yet what is perhaps just as, if not more interesting is that tabloidisation also develops distinctive features in different parts of the world. The central argument of the thesis is that tabloidisation with Chinese characteristics involves a political as well as a cultural dimension which is different to any other national form of tabloidisation. While every form of tabloidisation can be said to have political implications, tabloidisation in China is both directly and indirectly connected to the Party-State. It can be said to serve the interests, policies and directives of the Party-State as well as the commercial interests of particular media organisations by helping them build audiences and attract sponsors. The structure of the thesis involves a gradual move from the more general to the more particular, ranging from a broad historical survey of Chinese broadcasting to a set of micrological studies of specific tabloid genres in contemporary Chinese television. This move also includes the story of the shift from centralisation to régionalisation, though with the regional television channel which is the focus of the case studies also being a national broadcaster because of its vaunting ambition as well as its technological capabilities. The three sections of the thesis embody these shifts of interest and concern. The thesis is based on extensive research with Chinese broadcasting personnel, at executive, production and presentation levels, as well as on privileged access to various broadcasting archives. The research informs both the more general chapters on the development of Chinese broadcasting and the case study chapters which show the manifestation of tabloidisation in its various forms and different political and cultural dimensions. The purpose of the thesis is to explore how these different dimensions operate and interconnect.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Regionalisation ; marketisation ; commercialisation ; tabloidisation ; state control ; socialist market economy ; television ; Shanghai ; Dragon TV