Zimuzu and media industry in China
China, Community, Distribution, Regulation
Zimuzu (字幕組, ZMZ) are Chinese online communities that share subtitled versions of foreign television and movies, often within hours of domestic release. Although unauthorized and unlicensed, the programs are streamed and downloaded on tablets and smartphones, free of charge. ZMZ allow many thousands of Chinese viewers to devour foreign fare (e.g., Prison Break, Desperate Housewives, The Big Bang Theory), sidestepping official channels of circulation. The volunteerism of ZMZ subtitlers is remarkable and distinctive, and it may not be too much to call ZMZ an industry. We propose understanding ZMZ within the spheres of marketization and the regulatory framework of China’s media industry. In scale, organization, and professionalism, ZMZ typify slippage between state regulation and market-driven media consumption.
The authors acknowledge support from “Connected Viewing Initiative,” Media Industry Project, Carsey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Copyright © 2017 Michigan Publishing.
Davis, D. W., & Yeh, E. Y.-y. (2017). Zimuzu and media industry in China. Media Industries, 4(1). doi: 10.3998/mij.15031809.0004.102