|Title:||Product Placement and Digital Piracy: How Young Chinese Viewers React to the Unconventional Method of Corporate Cultural Globalization|
|Citation:||Yu, S. (2010). Product placement and digital piracy: How young Chinese viewers react to the unconventional method of corporate cultural globalization. Communication, Culture & Critique, 3(3), 435-463.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The data set is made up of semi-structured interviews with young viewers’ recruited through the author's social network in Beijing and Shanghai through
the method of snowball sampling on a single criterion —they must watch some U.S. television in their everyday lives. Overall, from June 2007 to February 2009, 81women and 69 men between the ages of 18 and 24 from the two cities participated, among which 114 are college students and 36 are young professionals.
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This study examines young Chinese viewers’ interpretations of the consumption stimuli encoded in U.S. TV programs. I argue that the young viewers’ use of pirated U.S. TV artifacts reflects their active viewership and social agency, defying both the official broadcasting policy in China and the dictates of global copyright industries. Meanwhile, through in-depth interviews with the viewers and a microanalysis of the actual product placement/integration that they encounter, I found that product placement/integration increases the viewers’ awareness of and/or desire for the promoted products/brands. This study bridges the cultural imperialism and active audience theses. Young Chinese viewers are active, yet the extent and the consequences of their activity confirm the critiques that constitute the essence of the cultural imperialism thesis.
Main Results of the Study
- Audiences’ very real manifestation of agency, or lack thereof, help measure the power of the corporate consumer culture in a particular local context.
- Participants in this study are always active viewers, using pirated materials to overcome the limitations of their location at the lower stratum of the global copyright hierarchy. They make an effort to stay connected to the modern part of the world. They acquire status symbols and cultural capital through watching U.S. TV programs.
- Yet, the commercial nature of these programs, as well as the neoliberal, apolitical discursive surroundings in China, directs their agency toward consumption while disabling an alternative consciousness that could have carried their agency outside of the neoliberal, capitalist confines. In this particular case, the extent of the young viewers’ activity (limited by consumer cultural ideologies) and the consequences of their activity (such as their transformation into active consumers with few counter hegemonic ideas) validate cultural imperialism theorists’ criticisms of the transnational corporate consumer culture and the diminishment of public spheres.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
There is a need to refine the thesis of transnational corporate cultural imperialism in the context of audience activity, so that it both presents and theorizes the nuanced mediation between audience agency and structural power.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||2007-2009|