Recent Comments

PuhuTV
Monika Mehta

Jülide, thanks for this engaging post. I was actually surprised that the platforms were not all ready being regulated given Erdogan’s government’s strict policing of media and the Internet.

I have many questions: Could you say more about the ways in which these original shows have introduced content that they would not have been able to on television channels? How does RTÜK plan to regulate these streaming platforms? Will they be introducing new rules tailored to the digital platforms? Would the the burden of censorship would be placed on the platform and viewers given that it would be difficult for censorship committees to view all the content?

I also wanted to know more about overlaps in the practices of geoblocking as instituted by the streaming corporations like Netflix and state censorship. For example, they both seek to manage who has access to what content.

Fan Yang
Fan Yang

Love this idea, Jasmine! After all, Putin is reportedly also a fan of the show and considers it a “documentary”: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4549000/President-Putin-thinks-House-Cards-documentary.html

China, too, had a series in 2017 that was, according to China Daily, “poised to challenge the popularity of the US hit House of Cards.” It is called “In the Name of the People (Renmin de Mingyi).” This is a drama of high production value and features the highest-ranking corrupt official on-screen, even though by way of disembodied voice only. It was the hottest trending show on Chinese social media that year!

I’m curious as to how the various national reception and appropriations of House of Cards in the BRIC context speak to the geopolitical shift that is sometimes perceived as “the decline of America and the rise of the rest?”

Jasmine Mitchell
Fan Yang

Fang- This is a fascinating example of the discrepancies of cultural translation and reception and the ways in which the transnational circulation of media products are framed within national ideologies. This post also poses questions about the universality of particular themes. Furthermore, I was struck by the use of House of Cards in Brazil. A new Netflix series Mecanismo has been dubbed the “Brazilian House of Cards,” and is supposedly inspired on real life events of corruption. However, O Mecanismo has also experienced backlash this week with accusations of the show’s conservatism and support of what is seen as a political coup. There have been calls for many Brazilian subscribers to cancel their Netflix accounts. The ways in which Netflix programming is circulated for global audiences, but the national specifics of these programs also undercut these transnational experiences. It sounds like there needs to be a BRIC conversation concerning House of Cards!

Fan Yang
Fan Yang

Thanks, Monika! Geoblocking and censorship have no doubt played a big part in protecting/nurturing the domestic media industries, whether it is social media or online streaming services. They are often at once ideologically driven (as more frequently reported in Euro-American press) *and* economically motivated.

I, too, was struck by the gender dimension, which I’m yet to look at more closely. On WeChat, now the most popular mobile-based social media platform, I recall seeing posts exclusively devoted to Claire Underwood - her style, her role as a wife/First Lady, and her career ambition, etc. I have also spoken to female Chinese friends living in China and the DC area who are fans of the show. The quote of the Sohu executives is indicative of a broader (gendered) perception that K-drama and domestic melodrama would appeal to the “wives” more so than a show like HoC. But my sense is that this is also a class issue, as professional women of transnational experiences are clearly drawn to characters like Claire, even if the appeal may still stem from such gendered categories as fashion and family relations.

Fan Yang

This is super interesting, Monika! As someone who grew up learning a lot of English from watching Hollywood movies on Hong Kong TV (broadcast in Shenzhen), I would be really curious to see how this trend develops!

Hotstar Originals:  On Air With AIB
Monika Mehta

Lisa, the Indian shows in English often mix English and Hindi, which might be the reason that they are subtitled in English. In the context of India, ‘Hinglish’ is associated with urban, middle-class North India. In the U.S., the use of “Hinglish” enables a colloquial address which would carry some appeal. It also makes the show easier to follow for primarily English speakers; they wouldn’t have to read subtitles constantly.

You are absolutely Hotstar’s eight languages does reveal the limits of Netflix’s translation model, which imagines one national language per nation.

Hotstar Originals:  On Air With AIB
Monika Mehta

Jülide the show discusses these issues within the social and political contexts of India. While this show has attracted government attention, All India Bakchod’s other activities have such as their Modi Meme for which the Mumbai police booked them. Modi supports were also enraged by this. AIB is probably most remembered for and associated with the roast they did with members of the Bombay film industry. The roast was posted on YouTube and went viral. Many viewers thought it was vulgar and obscene others, enjoyed the risque comedy. Police complaints were filed. The Mumbai police itself field a report against the hosts stating they had not gotten a performance license. Amidst these controversies, AIB took down the video. On a more humorous note, a Hotstar ad for AIB features the group coming to Hotstar office and meeting employees who ask them if they’ll be doing another ‘roast.’

Hotstar Originals:  On Air With AIB
Lisa Patti

Thanks, Monika, for sharing this video. Having just rewatched the Netflix India promotions for HoC after reading Fan’s post, it was interesting to watch this video and consider an opposing vector for global television streaming. Your reading of the video points to the ways that it imagines a specific US audience through the use of Hinglish (and the references to Chopra’s star image.) I would love to know more about how Hinglish fits within the linguistic diversity of Hotstar’s program. A comparison of Hotstar’s eight languages with Netflix’s dubbing of Stranger Things into nine languages points to the limitations of Netflix’s “global” translation model.

Monika Mehta
Fan Yang

Fan, thanks so much for your reply. It’s fascinating to learn more about streaming services in China. So often, at least in the U.S, digital discourse around China focuses on geoblocking and censorship, that we don’t hear as much about taste cultures and production as well as circulation contexts. To what extent (if any) has geoblocking has fostered the growth of national industries?

With regard to HOC, I was taken by the gendered response to the show. I was curious was this response circulated as publicity for the show. Did gender appear as a category for audience assessment on Sina Weibo or the subsequent reception of Sohu?

Monika

Fan Yang
Fan Yang

Wow, thanks so much, Lisa, for sharing these fascinating clips! I’m so glad you raised the issue of class. As I mentioned in my response to Monika, Sohu was drawn to Netflix’s branding of the show as a product of “high culture,” one that could help to boost the company’s streaming profile, targeting the urban (and often English-speaking) middle class. Whether or not Netflix has direct access to the nation (e.g. India or China), it is the transnational “managerial class” subject position that is privileged here, which is also indicative of the cultural forces of neoliberal globalization.