Global Social Media Entertainment

Authored by: Stuart Cunningham , David Craig

The Routledge Companion to Global Television

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138724341
eBook ISBN: 9781315192468
Adobe ISBN:


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What counts as popular screen entertainment, especially for young people, is changing profoundly. What happens to television studies when “television” becomes for many the screen content delivered by global platforms such as YouTube, and increasingly Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter and their Chinese counterparts Weibo, WeChat and Youku Toudo? One of the most innovative elements of this rapidly evolving world of popular screen entertainment is “social media entertainment” (SME). We understand SME to be an emerging industry based on previously amateur creators professionalizing and monetizing their content across multiple social media platforms to aggregate global fan communities and incubate their own media brands. SME traverses the globe relatively frictionlessly because of the near-to-global span of the major digital platforms, and the fact that such low-budget content is created primarily to be “spreadable,” which includes not being conventionally copyright-controlled. While a good deal of scholarly focus rests with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as challenges to established television, we argue that SME constitutes a more radical cultural and content difference to television. This chapter concentrates on the challenges SME poses for theories of media imperialism, cultural imperialism, and globalization and illustrates global diversity by profiling India and China.

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