Online Entertainment| Disconnecting, Connecting, and Reconnecting: How Chinese Television Found Its Way Out of the Box

Michael Keane


The emergence of online platforms dispensing TV content in China has transformed conventional understandings of Chinese media. Online video companies have revitalized the Chinese media industry while throwing out challenges to the government. Three disruptive moments illustrate how Chinese television is regulated, distributed, and accessed: disconnecting, connecting, and reconnecting. I examine some of the leading online platforms and consider the growing power of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—known as the “kingmakers” of the Chinese Internet. I describe how the Internet has created an unprecedented transformation in China’s television industry and how “Internet television” is disrupting the formerly stable and heavily managed sector. Finally, the article explores how new technologies of distribution are allowing Chinese culture to internationalize and to “reconnect” with Chinese-speaking communities.


Internet television, television, China, digital disruption, soft power

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