If You Are the One and SBS: the cultural economy of difference

Publisher:
SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Media International Australia, 2020, 175, (1), pp. 6-19
Issue Date:
2020-05-01
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© The Author(s) 2020. If You Are the One (IYATO) is China’s most popular television dating show. Since Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) bought it 6 years ago, the show has attracted a cult following among English-speaking viewers. SBS subsequently purchased several other Chinese reality shows, and the Seven Network launched its own version of IYATO. But none of these programmes have proven to be as enduringly popular as IYATO. Taking an industry studies approach, this article draws on the inside knowledge of one of the authors, and on interviews with several other SBS employees, to shed light on the media industry’s thinking behind importing cultural products from China, particularly against the backdrop of fear and anxiety about China’s influence. We also ask why IYATO has endeared itself to Australia’s English-speaking viewers in ways that the majority of Chinese media content has not, despite the Chinese government’s myriad soft power initiatives.
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