Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Dancing in the Tension between the Global and National: Seeing Chinese Television Industry through Phoenix Satellite TV

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Oliver Boyd-Barrett (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Louisa Ha (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Radhika Gajjala (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Patricia Kubow (Committee Member)


Phoenix Satellite Television is a TV network broadcasting to the global Chinese-speaking community, primarily to the mainland of China. This study examines Phoenix as a lens by which to consider the overall Chinese television industry in the era of globalization.

Utilizing the theory of media imperialism, this study investigates the program content, format, scheduling pattern, and advertisement use of Phoenix, and finds that US-inspired neo-liberalism is expressed in the network’s programming strategies. The study also examines two leading TV networks in China – China Central Television, and Hunan Satellite Television – to compare their programming strategies with those of Phoenix. Although the results of this comparative analysis indicate that the three networks adopt different strategies, they also reveal hidden similarities. That is, all three networks, along with other TV networks at various levels in China, have embraced the ideology of neo-liberalism by emphasizing profit-making as their core goals. The analysis also reveals that the Chinese government still holds a tight control over the media in China. Ironically, this control has helped spread the very neo-liberalism the Chinese government’s control attempts to hinder.

The implication of this study to the thesis of Media Imperialisms is that the findings suggest that the central question of imperialism and its relationship to media has to do with the ways in which media content and media format relate to, support or fail to support, the trajectory of imperialism in any of its manifestations.