Online Entertainment| Professionalization of Amateur Production in Online Screen Entertainment in China: Hopes, Frustrations and Uncertainties
The strategic pendulums of the online video space in China have swung between amateurism and professionalism over the past decade. Coevolving with platform strategies is the expanding online screen ecology, where entrepreneurial creators have become a considerable source of economic and cultural value. This article seeks to go beyond the professional/amateur dichotomy and examine the professionalization of amateur production in China’s online video space. It begins by tracing the initial enthusiasm toward user-generated content (UGC), the subsequent frustration and disillusionment, and then the resurgence and revalidation of UGC when platforms attempt to professionalize amateur production with a dynamic perspective. Following that, it analyses prominent productions by professionalizing amateurs, the creative strategies and potential barriers as they negotiate creativity/commerce/community relations, while navigating platform politics and the regulatory landscape. By so doing, this article reveals cultural and political implications of the emerging form of digital entrepreneurship found in professionalizing amateurs in China.