Industry frameworks for differentiating Wanghong and Social Media Entertainment

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Industry frameworks for differentiating Wanghong and Social Media Entertainment

Authors | Affiliation: Stuart Cunningham | Queensland University of Technology; David Craig | USC Annenberg

Presenting at:
3A | Wanghong, Social Media Entertainment and the Social Industries


This paper articulates the key arguments for identifying wanghong as industry, as reflected in industry and academic discourses, and as a variant to social media entertainment (SME), as first defined by co-authors Cunningham and Craig.  The wanghong and SME industries are new media ecologies based on emerging entrepreneurs (whether called creators, influencers, wanghong, KOLs, or zhubo) harnessing social media platforms to create commercial and cultural value.  Alongside the well-known ideas of cultural and creative industries, we introduce social industries into our conceptual framework. This is a concept emerging within industry discourses and across diverse academic fields including business, social media, and platform studies, that we use to further differentiate wanghong and SME from legacy media industries. 

About the authors

Stuart Cunningham

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Stuart Cunningham is Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Queensland University of Technology. In 2021, he is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Canberra. His most recent books are Social Media Entertainment: The new intersection of Hollywood and Silicon Valley (with David Craig, 2019), A Research Agenda for Creative Industries (edited with Terry Flew, 2019) and Wanghong as Social Media Entertainment in China (with David Craig and Jian Lin). Creator Culture: Studying the Social Media Entertainment Industry (edited with David Craig) is forthcoming June 2021. 

David Craig

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Professor Craig teaches graduate-level courses in global, U.S., Chinese, legacy and social media industries, management, and production. He is Co-Director of the joint Global Communication Masters program between USC Annenberg and LSE and a visiting scholar at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Along with his co-authors, he has published books and articles about social media entertainment, wanghong, and creator culture. Prior to teaching, he was a veteran Emmy-Award nominated producer and television executive.  

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